Review of Sprout Pencils.

The herd pack, lined up.
The herb pack, lined up.

The kind folks at Sprout sent us a pack of their plantable pencils recently for review (gratis), and I am in love with these pencils. These were originally on Kickstarter, and I missed them totally.

We received the herb pack, which reads like a list of the contents of the little garden in our small yard here at HQ. These are round pencils, made of cedar, in the USA. The logo is laser-etched, which made them smell like a campfire for the first week or two that I had them. And that’s a good thing.*

Before my pack was gutted, I scored one of these patriotic notebooks.
Before my pack was gutted, I scored one of these patriotic notebooks.

The ends are capped with a dark green plastic which dissolves in water. This contains the seeds. Do not chew on it. How does it work? Let’s borrow Sprout’s graphic:

Click for larger goodness.
Click for larger goodness.

Detailed instructions are also here.

These arrived a little too late for planting in Central Maryland, but I have another plan in mind. I am going to use these up before next spring and plant them then, for some Pencilicious Planting Action (PPA). I hope to report back then on how well they work, with photos of lushness galore.

I love when pencils come in a box.
I love when pencils come in a box.

In action, these pencils are very nice to write with. The unfinished wood and round shape are very comfortable, and the cedar sharpens perfectly. They come unsharpened; so you can get out a little Compost Cedar from the get-go. The leads are smooth and a little on the light side. This makes them great for writing on rough pots and textured plant-labels. The moisture sensitive caps do make me leave these inside during the muggy Maryland summer. But I can’t say that I venture outside to write as much in July as I probably should anyway. The lead is smear-resistant and seems to be lightly waxed. Erasing is impressive, and ghosting is not bad at all. They feel like a modern Ticonderoga core to me.

Versatile core.
Versatile core.

I have to say that I would really like these pencils even without the seeds in the caps. A round, naturally finished cedar pencil with burned on logo is very appealing to me. However, giving them another life next spring/summer, after use has rendered them stubs, is a nice way to honor such pretty pencils.

Thanks to Democratech for the sample pack, and I hear you can find these around Boston and Cambridge (where I’m headed on the 20th) if you’d like to avoid having to buy them online. They are available at Amazon also, for $19.95 a box.

*Ha! Find a pen that does that!

From the Archives, Early Sharpener Reviews.

For one reason or another, we haven’t reviewed very many sharpeners (and no erasers?) on Pencil Revolution in all these years. We’ll give more frequent sharpener/sharpening posts a shot. In the meantime, here are some of our earliest sharpener reviews, in honor of our 8th blog birthday.

Our first sharpener review, of the Trooper, the KUM wedge.

The Dux Inkwell sharpener review, by Ana.

Review of General’s 3-in-1 sharpener, by Gary.

The Boston Bulldog review, by Gordon.

The T’Gaal sharpener review, by Bill.

Basement Sharpener.


From Comrade Dan:

“In Parkville, in a basement by a work bench…I thought it was a neat, well loved sharpener. Unfortunately it looked as if it hadn’t been used in a while.”

Do other Comrades have strategically placed sharpeners, mounted or otherwise? (I keep a single-burr in my dining room on a bookshelf, where it’s easily accessible from the kitchen or living room.)

Glass Pencil Dispenser.

During a posting dryspell, in July 2011, we made a trip to Boston (our home from 2001-2003) for a week’s fun. A shop I really like in Cambridge and Boston, Black Ink, featured some interesting pencil gear. They had both flavors of Blackwing in a pot at the counter, for sale as singles. They had the green sharpener we love so much. And they had a steel and glass pencil dispenser full of General’s Test-Scoring pencils. We were packing lightly and had already gone on a bit of a spree at the Shop at Walden Pond (Charlotte’s first visit and all) and at various bookstores. So I thought I’d get them next time.
With moving this summer and the new baby on the way, we haven’t been back to Boston since, and I sort of forgot a bout them. Then, my Valentine’s Day gifts this year included the very cool dispenser and even better: a dozen General’s Test Scoring pencils. (Also another pack of Red Blooded Field Notes.)
You pull up the top, which reminds me of a French press, and the pencils come up. The jar is starting to smell like pencils a little. I’ve switched the pencils it came with for some more…colorful pencils. I was worried it would topple easily, but it’s pretty stable. I keep it on a bookshelf in my dining room, filled and ready for dispensing pencils. It’s become one of those things I like to show off when someone who appreciates pencils and “useful things” comes over. To be sure, an old can would do the same thing, almost. But I’m still pretty enamored of this little dispenser.

I’m pretty sure this is the same dispenser, and one of the customer images features some neat-looking Write Dudes natural pencils I’d love get my hands on. The included pencils are also available via General’s ($18/3 dozen) and the Museum of Useful Things ($7.50/1 dozen). I’ll write a review of them, too, after some more testing. I’m really enjoying them.