Ain’t No Fault.

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I love the General’s Kimberly in B enough that I wonder if it has skeletons in its pencil box. This pencil is nearly perfect.

This Built America.

From a press release we received at HQ:

Drawing With History: AOL’s This Built America Covers New Jersey’s General Pencil Co.

Jersey City, New Jersey (August 6, 2014) – This Built America, a new multimedia platform from AOL exploring the companies and people reimagining American manufacturing, comes to Jersey City this week to profile the General Pencil Company — a company built on family and dedication that has been going strong since Edward Weissenborn founded his second pencil endeavor in 1889.

In this episode, the fourth, fifth and sixth generations of the family discuss why keeping General Pencil in the family is the key to their business success. It hasn’t always been easy to keep the company afloat, or to turn away offers to buy General Pencil, but the Weissenborns feel a connection to their long running, made in America company.

For General Pencil Company, being chosen to represent New Jersey in This Built America is proof that founder Edward Weissenborn made the right decision banking on family business all those years ago, no matter the circumstance. “We believe in America,” says Jim Weissenborn. “We are proud of our employees and the quality products they produce.”

To view the full episode and more on General Pencil Company, visit http://www.thisbuiltamerica.com/new-jersey/.

General Pencil Company joins a national movement in This Built America that is devoted to supporting American companies and American-made products. AOL is proud to support the effort along with sponsor Ford Trucks. Through the year, the editorial and video teams will explore 50 states in 50 weeks to bring 50 stories of the people who are bringing back manufacturing to America. The platform is produced in coordination with Man Made Content.

Sun-Star Pencil Caps and Extenders.

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I am normally a big proponent of the General’s Sav-A-Point* for the Prevention of Pencil Impalement (PPI). Jetpens sent us a four-pack of these cool little Sect cap/extenders from Sun-Star, and they definitely give the Sav-A-Point a run for it’s money. These are made of rigid and relatively thick plastic, resulting in much great durability. As I mentioned on our podcast once, I might break or crack one Sav-A-Point a week. It’s been weeks with this guy in my pocket, and it’s still going strong.

Behold, the square tab of pencil stability.
Behold, the square tab of pencil stability.

In the PPI department, this cap actually does a little better of a job than the Sav-A-Point because pencils which are smaller in diameter but with long points don’t protrude from the end. Yes, you can carry a nice Castell 9000 sharpened to something scary in your pocket with impunity. I have found that Ticonderoga and USA Gold pencils do not work well, however, since they are extraordinarily thin and will poke you if they are long-pointed. Another notch in performance comes from the addition of a small, square tab. This helps to prevent Pencil Roll Off (PRO), since the round shape of the device otherwise negates the stabilizing effects of a hexagonal or triangular pencil.
They come with nametags!
They come with nametags!

Where the Sav-A-Point might have a leg up on the Sun-Star Cap/Extender is that it adds very little weight or volume to the pencil, resulting in greater Pocketability, the very reason that some of us like pencil caps. The Sun-Star definitely makes a pencil noticeably larger.
Some pencils are too thin to be contained with a beastly long point.
Some pencils are too thin to be contained with a beastly long point.

But it also performs another function. This cap is also an extender.** It’s not going to add 4-5 inches onto a little stub the way that some pencil extenders can, but it adds that inch or two that can extend the life of a well-loved and well-used pencil. It’s become my favorite Pocket Pencil Carry Device (PPCD) lately, if I have a sharpener or knife on me — or if I am going to a well-stocked house, outpost or cafe’.***

Now we all know that different pencils have different diameters, and these sorts of devices shine a light on such differences. Below is a list of pencils I tried with this device, along with the results.

Dixon Ticonderoga, USA Gold: Too thin to house with a long point.

Tombow Ippo, Staedtler Mars Lumograph, Castell 9000, Palomino “original”, General’s Kimberly: Perfect for capping and extending.

Prospector, Wopex: Good for capping, though the extender can’t get over the ferrule.

Have pencil [cap/extender], will travel.
Have pencil [cap/extender], will travel.

Thanks to Jetpens for a really handy little Pencil Accessory, which extends the usefulness of pencils in general as a cap and of short pencils specifically as an extender. They can be had for the low price of $2 for a pack of four at Jetpens. And did I mention that they are stackable?

*The missing E went onto the end of Cedar Pointe?
**And the extender is also a cap…
***Yesterday, a Comrade’s pencil point broke as he might a note about spring home maintenance. He looked alarmed until I reminded him of where he was. He chose a pencil knife which I will review shortly.

Capped Pocket Pencil.

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I have a Magic Box of Awesome. (I should really do a post about it and stop my Lazy Blogging, but think of David Rees, and use your imagination.) Looking through this box is a staple request from Charlotte. Recently, she opened it and asked to have this very tiny pencil. I told her it can be her Pocket Pencil, and she liked this idea. Then I told her, in a very Parental Fashion, that she needed to use a point protector. A miniature argument ensued. This argument could only happen in my house, and perhaps some select other Outposts. I only won, I think, because one of the runs of General’s protectors had sparkles in it for some reason.

Harry Potter Pencil Box.

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This is the Harry Potter pencil box I mentioned, pictured here in response to community requests. (Apologies if they are dark it’s night-time in Charm City.)

The top tray/layer/tier:
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Both compartments:
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Top Tray:
Staedtler Mars Lumograph HB (2004-5 stock)
Ticonderoga Groove
General’s Test Scoring 580
PaperMate Earth Write “Premium”
General’s Layout (well-loved)
Palomino Prospector (current USA model)
Faber-Castell Castell 9000 4B
Staedtler Wopex (North American market version)
Halloween pencil from my family (Target 2011, pretty nice, actually)
General’s Draughting G314

Bottom Tray:
Chinese Dixon Ticonderoga
USA Gold “Natural” (2013 model with blue foil)
Field Notes pencil
Forest Choice pencil
Ticonderoga EnviroStik (no C)
General’s Kimberly B
Palomino Blackwing Pearl
Mitsubishi Hi-Uni HB
Faber-Castell Castell 9000 B
General’s Cedar Pointe (very old and well-loved)

I wish I could take a picture of what it smells like. My odor-removal efforts took away the stale smoke smell and even the smell of metal. So the cedar and eraser aroma-combination had quite a blank canvas to fill. It’s like opening a treasure box.

Early Autumn Notebooks.

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While walking around one of my favorite shops (Trohv) on Labor Day, I spotted Word. notebooks on the table near Field Notes books. We reviewed Word. books a few months ago, and you’ll recall the I loved them. I’m sure lots of Comrades are waiting for the new fall Field Notes to come out. But I needed some notebooks! And this orange is far more…earthy and autumnal in person than it is in most of the photos I’ve seen online. Paired with one of these pencils, it’s an early autumn Pocket Notebook Combination to put one in mind of chai tea and reading Poe outside under a light blanket.

Speaking of Trohv, there is a release party for Scout Books and some local Baltimore-based artists this Friday night, before Saturday’s Hampdenfest. Assuming that The Infant and The Toddler are behaving themselves, I’m hoping to go. Are there other Charm City Comrades who might be there?

(Pencils: General’s Kimberly; General’s Cedar Pointe; Mitsu-bishi Hi-Uni — all HB. Also: Dig the Word. leaf and flower books! Hope they keep up making interesting new covers.)

International Drawing Tools.

Having kids and a pencil affection means drawing a lot. I have been practicing this skill lately, in effort to be That Dad Who Can Draw Stuff. And tonight, I realized that I was drawing on French paper, with American pencils, using a German sharpener and a Spanish eraser.

My little pictures were worldwide tonight.

(But the batteries in all of our cameras are discharged.)

Clairefontaine Crokbook
General’s Cartooning and Kimberly pencils
KUM 2-hole wedge
Factis black eraser

From the Archives, Early Sharpener Reviews.

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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.

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The Boston Bulldog review, by Gordon.


The T’Gaal sharpener review, by Bill.

Field Notes Expedition Edition: Smeary?

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(Sorry for the lack of photos; my camera is in the shop. Literally.)

My subscription came today: the Field Notes Expedition. They are, as usual, much prettier in person. Opening it, I found them a little smelly, like last winter’s glossy edition. But the paper is smooth and flexible and feels wonderful. Check out the link if you haven’t already; the videos are pretty cool.

I immediately put both pencil and Space Pen to paper, after tearing open my packet. My Field Notes get filled and filed, not collected, though I certainly understand the impulse. Pencil feels like a magic marker on glass on this paper, with duller sides of the point feeling almost like a paintbrush. Writing on very wet paper with an indelible pencil produces a less smooth version of the same sensation. I was aghast. But then I noticed something….

Lots of stuff smears on this paper. Space Pen (and even the “fine” refill in my AG-7) smeared after nearly 1/2 hour to dry. Pencil smears more than regular paper, even somewhat smear-resistant pencils like the General’s Layout and Staedtler Wopex. Certainly, Comrades are not unfamiliar with graphite smearing, and it’s something that tests the Perfectionist in all of us. And, if you’re a heavy user of Fisher ink, you know that Space Pen’s write-anywhere ink comes at the price of severe ghosting and smearing from glacial drying times. Pigma Micron wouldn’t really adhere to the paper at all (it repels water). The Pigma Micron “Microperm” did write very well and actually dried. Still, I’d hate to be stuck with permanent markers for all six notebooks, even if I’ll have them filled before February most likely. I assume that Field Notes knows that regular pens will be powerless on this paper, since they gave out pencils this time around (I usually get a pen with my shipments theses days) and since they came out with their own Space Pen just in time for this release.

EDIT: I have found some pencils that are excellent, and even some surprises.

Pencils I have found to work pretty well:Faber-Castell “Castell 9000″ HB and B
Staedtler Wopex HB
General’s Layout
Faber-Castell Grip 2001 HB
General’s Draughting
New USA-Made Golden Bear HB
Field Notes Pencil

Things which smeared more than I’d like:
Blackwing (dark one, but this is always a little smeary)
General’s Semi-Hex HB
Staedtler Mars Lumograph 100 HB
Mitsubishi Hi-Uni HB
Faber-Castell Goldfaber HB

Surprises:
Verithins! If, like me, you’ve always wished they were better to write with, this paper works very very well. They feel like a regular pencil on this paper, and it’s very very difficult to smear them.

Someone asked if we were going to review this paper. But I think this might take more than what free time, energy and pencils we have on hand at HQ. Have other folks found the perfect graphite (or even pen?) for the new Field Notes? I will put what successful pencils I discover in the comments and will hope Comrades will do the same.