We’ve reviewed pencils made in the United States and Asia so far, but we’ve not yet talked much about European pencils. It’s only fitting, then, that we review something from Faber-Castell, specifically the Grip 2001. We are very happy to have Frank C. — who works in research in the Garden State — write the review of this award-winning pencil.
According to Faber-Castell, “For centuries there was no change with the pencil. Faber-Castell has proven that there is still potential for improvement with this apparently simple product. Shortly after its launch the GRIP 2001 pencil was prized with several important design awards. For the magazine Business Week it was the best ‘Product of the Year’,” and several other accolates to boot.
First, some technical info:
Material: Jelutong, a rainforest wood that grows in Indonesia.
Shape: Triangular, with grip zone.
Finish: Water-based lacquer in metallic grey.
Ferrule: None, capped end in grey or black, depending on lead grade; black triangular ferrule on eraser-topped version.
Eraser: (On ferruled version) Soft black rubber.
Core: 2B, B, HB, H, 2H (B reviewed), specially-bonded and break-resistant graphite.
Markings: Black Gloss. â€œGRIP 2001 Faber-Castellâ€ with company logo of jousting knights.
Packaging: Varies. Usually sold in open-stock or dozens. Fine stationers and art supply shops are the best bets.
Origin: Stein, Germany.
Now, for Frank’s review:
“Let me state up front that the Grip 2001 by Faber-Castell is my favorite currently-available pencil (the Blackwing 602 is my all-time favorite, but Iâ€™m sticking to currently-available pencils). Why? Because I like pencils that write a dark line but can be used for day-to-day writing (only 2B and 4B for me), and the Grip 2001 fits the bill, for me, better than any pencil around.
The other factor that cements its position as my top pencil is the way the Grip 2001 is designed to never slip in your hand. Using what Faber-Castell calls the ‘Patented Soft-Grip-Zone’ (what looks like to me little raised black dots) makes it easy to grip the pencil without it slipping up and down your fingers. Iâ€™ve also found that I donâ€™t have to grip it as tightly to write, which means that I can write with it for longer periods of time than other pencils. One downsideâ€”when you store the Grip 2001 next to other pencils it has a tendency to stick to them!
The Grip 2001 has a triangular shape, another excellent ergonomic factor in its favor. Iâ€™ve found that the triangular shape fits flush between my fingers, meaning that I never find myself rotating the pencil like I do other traditionally-shaped pencils. Again, this is another ergonomic detail that makes the Grip 2001 stand head and shoulders above the other current pencils that Iâ€™ve tried.
While itâ€™s great to have the attention to design detail that the Grip 2001 provides, it would mean nothing if the pencil didnâ€™t deliver a great writing experience. And this it does, with a dark line that never smears. Itâ€™s also extremely easy to sharpen, even with the triangular shape.
So, given the great writing experience, excellent design, and ergonomic features, itâ€™s easy to see why the Grip 2001 is an excellent pencil and my current favorite. It may be a bit more expensive than average (I purchased mine from Pen City, although I have seen them in a local Office Depot), but it is worth it. I cannot recommend it highly enough.”
Many thanks to Frank for the review and the photos!
[Images Frank C. and J.G., used with kind permission.]