Review of Write Notepads Pencil Pouch.

I have never reviewed a piece of Pencil Storage Gear before. I have a few metal and wood boxes, cups, jars, Longaberger baskets, Ikea carts, and pencil cases storing pencils I keep in the rotation. These do not include The Archive. It’s daunting and a testament to my lack of self-control.

Last time I visited Write Notepads & Co. (about a month ago), Chris handed me one of these blue beauties, and I’ve been using it ever since: The Pencil Pouch. There’s not a lot of information about this item on the Write Notepads website, but this is what they say:

We’ve looked long and hard for a zipper pouch that keeps our pencils and utensils in one neat and tidy closure. In the Write vein, we’ve convinced America’s oldest (originator) producer of secure bank bags to produce a water-resistant pencil pouch for us.

-Made 100% in the USA

-5″ x 10″

-Duck cotton with a polymer liner for water-resistance.

-Navy Blue with White screen-printing.

I have been beating this up for a month, and I don’t think you can tell. This pouch is beefy, large, minimalist, and useful all all get-out. I love it.

The Pencil Pouch is made by A. Rifkin Co. in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania — a town with strong pencil connections. The material is much stiffer than the pencilcase I picked up for Charlotte’s back-to-school mountain of supplies this past weekend, but it isn’t much thicker. The tight weave and the interior coating give the sides of the case a nice body.

So while the construction feels really tough, it’s not a bulky case at all. And the coated interior will make cleaning up graphite residue much easier.

The zipper is heavy, glossy, and black. I usually have a little giraffe zipper-pull on mine, and it hasn’t taken off the paint yet. I haven’t gotten the zipper stuck yet, and the stiffness of the material of which the case is made holds the zipper teeth at such an angle that I doubt there will every be an issue with misalignment resulting in a Seize-Up.

This case holds it all. Comrades can fit an entire Blackwing Volumes set in there, subscriber tube and all. It can more than an unsharpened Blackwing, which is not something all pencil cases can boast.

Here it is with a set of Walden/Thoreau books and a crab mallet. You could easily fit 2-3 crabs in there with it this stuff. But make sure to zip it closed very quickly.

I like pencilcases that will also hold whatever notebook I am using — not to mention any Pencil Paraphernalia I might need or want or just have in there. I prefer not to carry a bag on the rare occasions that I get out of the house without a single kid in tow, and I like to just grab everything inside of one case for a quiet jaunt to the coffeeshop or park or just Place Without Yelling. To wit, this is what was contained in my case this weekend, though I most emphatically did not get out with this (it would have been on Instagram!).

The two Blackwings, WNP pencil, stub of General’s Cartooning pencil, pocketknife, notebook, and tiny eraser all fit inside, with room to spare.

However, extra room does not mean that the items were not well-protected. The stiffness of the case does not permit it flop around when it’s only half-full. I’ve taken this out with only two pencils, a sign pen, and a Field Notes (!) in it in the recent past, and it was fine.

This case hits the right notes for me. It’s attractive, durable, easy to clean, roomy (but also works 1/2 empty), made in the USA, and blue. The $15 price-tag is a steal in my book. I just paid 1/3 for a kitty pencilcase for my daughter that won’t last a 1/5 as long as this case. Go get one. After you place your order, be sure to check out Leadfast’s photo-shoot with the Pencil Pouch and Fred’s patch post.

[This pouch was provided as a gift for free, but we chose to impartially review it. All opinions are the author’s.]

48 Sharpened Ticonderoga Pencils.

Charlotte’s school says that I am to bring in 48 pre-sharpened Ticonderoga pencils, because they are super high-quality. The current Chinese-made ones are very nice, but I really resist the idea that the brand makes something special in this situation. I am extremely tempted to send her to school with 48 nice pencils, none of which are Ticonderoga, just to be a poophead. 

Either way, of course, she’s going to school with her pencil case loaded with very excellent, hand-picked pencils from Daddy’s stash.

Portable Sketch Kits.

We have a playdate tomorrow to go to zoo with our Pals, and we thought we would design some portable drawing kits.

We took some empty mint tins from Trader Joe’s and then stuck on these name tags that we found at Target in the dollar bins. I trimmed down pencils by hand with a sharp utility knife and then sharpened them in the Dahle 133, using its Auto Stop feature.

We included some tiny sharpeners that we found at the shop, along with some tiny 💩 erasers and some rainbow erasers.

Finally, we made some tiny little notebooks to fit inside. My kids are super excited, and I am busy eating more of those delicious vanilla mints so that I can get more tins. I want one for myself!

Hemingway Hemingway Hemingway.

If we lived in the magical world of Beetlejuice, this could conjure Papa. While scholarly and popular interest in Hemingway both seem to rise and fall rapidly, at PRevo HQ, we’re big Hemingway fans. One of our first posts was one quoting Mr. Hemingway:

“When you start to write you get all the kick and the reader gets none. So you might as well use a typewriter because it is much easier and you enjoy it that much more. After you learn to write your whole object is to convey everything, every sensation, sight, feeling, place and emotion to the reader. To do this you have to work over what you write. If you write with a pencil you get three different sights at it to see if the reader is getting what you want him to. First when you read it over; then when it is typed you get another chance to improve it, and again in the proof. Writing it first in pencil gives you one-third more chance to improve it. That is .333 which is a damned good average for a hitter. It also keeps it fluid longer so that you can better it easier.”
Hemingway on Writing, pg. 51 (exerted from By-Line: Ernest Hemingway, pg. 216).

I have often wondered what Papa might make of a pencil blog, a pencil podcast, seasonal Blackwings, artisanal sharpening. Would he tell us we’re wasting time that we should spend writing or living? Maybe he’d point out that, while he fetishized certain objects and mentioned brands of items, drinks, guns, etc., he never tells us what kind of pencil that he liked. He just wrote with them. I have trouble imagining that someone with such a penchant for ritual would not have a favorite kind/brand/model of pencil. I’ve tried mightily to ascertain what Hemingway wrote with. If you can’t actually use the same notebook for some spell or charm, maybe a pencil would do the trick?

Past Hemingway goodness featured on Pencil Revolution.

Write Notepads Wood and Graphite Pencils.

While we reviewed Write Notepads‘s original pencils in early 2014, we never talked much about their subsequent pencil models, which were lovely and varied. But, personally speaking, I’m a sucker for pencils that come in a box in 2017. So I couldn’t resist these. (And resist them I did, being at the bindery and not stuffing any into my pockets before I left two weeks ago, before we could order them.)

For $11.99, you get a boxed dozen of USA-made pencils (from Musgrave), designed by the talented folks at Charm City’s Write Notepads & Co.

These are full-hex, glossy, and all black — save the clean imprint and the erasers. The imprint is left-handed, as we’ve come to expect from Write Notepads, and the text is simple:

Write (2) WOOD + GRAPHITE

Unlike the last two limited editions, these pencils are neither cedar nor semi-hex nor matte. The basswood sharpens easily, though I miss the cedar aroma a bit this time around. If you do not enjoy the sharpness and increased diameter of a full-hex, these might not be the pencils for you.

I swear that Musgrave beats Ticonderoga on being inconsistent, but it works to Write Notepads’s advantage. Musgrave seems to send Chris and Co. better pencils than the ones they often sell with their own Musgrave label on them. The cores in the Wood + Graphite pencils are smoother than, say, a Bugle, feeling waxier and less prone to smearing. The darkness comes in at a pretty standard HB (think Ticonderoga or a Viarco Premium if you need fancy), with point durability to match. The paint is evenly-applied, even on the ferrule, which is not something I can say for the last few Musgrave pencils I’ve bought. The white eraser works pretty well, which runs contrary to my experience with Musgrave. Here, the eraser is a little stubby and oddly…cute.

A word on the box: it’s matte, white, and hand-made using a process I only partly understand. I’m not sure if I am allowed to talk about That Which I Witnessed at WNP HQ. But it’s made in Baltimore, in-house, in an unexpected (at least, to me) way.


Twelve smackers for Musgrave fare might seem steep. Four of mine had cores that were off-center to a degree that is just this side of usable. But, in my opinion, these are not the standard Musgrave fare.  Our Comrades at Baltimore’s Write Notepads & Co. must be getting some secret sauce from Shelbyville.
(These pencils were not provided as free review samples.)

Matchy Olive Boot Perfection.

My pretty old and beaten-up Castell 9000 Perfect Pencil pairs perfectly with this LL Bean boot edition Field Notes book. I’m wearing olive shorts to match, as I head Outside today between the heatwaves into only the usual July In Maryland Misery. 

Do you ever “accidentally” match your pencil and paper to your outfit?

A Dozen Years.


On this day, in 2005, your humble Editor was a graduate student studying for my preliminary exams so that I could pass on to PhD candidacy and start proposing my dissertation topic. To keep sane, I went through with something I’d been thinking about for a year, ever since picking up a pack of American Naturals and falling in love with pencils while reading Hemingway.


It all started with this pencil in 2004 and this post in 2005.

These days, a lot of my Stationery Time is spent on The Erasable Podcast, which I am lucky enough to co-host with two wonderful Comrades: Andy and Tim. Even more time is spent on the community we’ve seen build itself out of this little show, to which all Comrades are cordially invited here.

A lot has changed since 2005. Blackwings exist again, and we even get four new models every year. This is not the only pencil blog — something that makes me very happy, since so many of them are sooooooo good. I became Dr. Dad to three adorable kids. Moleskines are still around and popular, and pocket notebooks are big business still. Hemingway and Thoreau are still in the national consciousness, even increasingly so. We still can read paper books, but you can read on your phone now too. There’s the Pollux and the Masterpiece to get your longpoints on the go. We are even lucky enough, in 2017, to live in a world that has a pencil store! Pencils aren’t going anywhere. While some US factories have closed, new markets and sources are open to us that we did not have in 2005. Members of the Erasable community trade globally, and my pencil box is half full of pencils which would not have been available to me even five years ago. The Pencil Love is spreading more all the time, though we still mourn the passing of USA-made Ticonderogas and Mirados. There are pencils from all over the world still left to be discovered, and the web makes this possible. It still strikes me as fantastically odd, that the digital aids the analog to such an extent.

No matter what happens, everything you wrote in pencil in 2005 hasn’t faded one little bit. Nor will it.

Pencil is Forever.

Happy 200th Birthday to Thoreau!


On this day in 1817, one of my heroes was born. He made his family’s pencils into the greatest in the land and wrote millions of words in his lifetime. Most of all, he lived. Today, we honor Pencil Hero, Henry David Thoreau.

The Bear Claw.


I’m on vacation in Cambridge/Boston, and I found some cool pencils at the Black Ink in Harvard Square tonight: The Bear Claw, from Koala Tools. It’s a fat, triangular pencil in 2B, with a green eraser. I haven’t had them long, but in I used one in my Moleskine Voyageur tonight at the hotel, with excellent results.