Golden Bear Pencil Review

Golden Bear Pencil Review

It's been almost a year and a half I've been writing this blog and I can't believe that I've yet to review the Palomino Golden Bear. This pencil is a staple in my everyday carry pencil bag and great as a "car pencil". Basically, anywhere I keep a pencil, you're likely to find a Golden Bear there. It's an amazing pencil for the price.

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TBT: Write Notepads Kindred Spirit

TBT: Write Notepads Kindred Spirit

The Write Notepads Kindred Spirit came out just before I started the blog. It's the edition I started my subscription on. I really loved this edition and promptly went out and bought the Lenore edition from someone on eBay. I knew these were special books and I needed to have them all.

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Musgrave Test Scoring 100 vs General's Test Scoring 580

Musgrave Test Scoring 100 vs General's Test Scoring 580

When I posed the question of which one is better to the Erasable Facebook Group, the results were surprising. These are two pencils that I have more of a history with than any of the others in the lineup. I used to be staunchly in the Musgrave camp, and felt that very few people supported that claim. However, when the comments rolled in, there were a lot of people who sprang to its defense. It was a fun and polarizing question.

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Write Notepads Wood + Graphite Pencil Review

Write Notepads Wood + Graphite Pencil Review

Write Notepads has released a pencil that is not attached to any notebook release. The last pencils they did in this way, I believe, were the Maroon #2. Those were a 9 pack. I don't remember the price because they've been expunged from the website and replaced with the current offering. Unfortunately, I did a giant email deleting session a month or so back, so I don't have the email to look at to compare prices. I do still have some of the pencils, however, and I really like them.

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Write Notepads Chesapeake Review

Write Notepads Chesapeake Review

I'm a Write Notepads fanboy. It's no secret. I like everything they do over there in Baltimore. I use their Graph Steno as my pencil testing book for all the Lead Fast reviews. I find it to be the perfect size for a mini review and the perfect paper to test pencils. It has just enough tooth, but doesn't sheer off pencil, like the Baron Fig paper, nor is it too smooth like the standard Finch opaque bright white that Field Notes uses. For me, it's the Goldilocks of paper...just right.

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Franklin-Christoph 1901 Pencil Review

Franklin-Christoph 1901 Pencil Review

It starts off with a good idea: 2 pencils with erasers, HB and B. Four "drawing" pencils: HB, B, 2B, 4B. The drawing pencils are metal-capped, like a General's Kimberly, but unlike the Kimberly, they don't really change much when going down grades. The lacquer is supposed to be a spotted matte black coating, and it's spotted, for sure. That's one of the few bright points of this pencil.

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Story Supply Co 'Pocket Staple' Notebook Review

Story Supply Co 'Pocket Staple' Notebook Review

I have to be honest, the first time I saw some stuff from Story Supply Co, all I thought was “Oh great, another pocket notebook company”. What did I need this for? I have a mass amount of other Made in the USA notebooks, never mind the ones made elsewhere. But I was intrigued because some people whose opinions I respected were singing the praises of this startup, so I had to check it out.

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Musgrave Ceres Pencil Review

Musgrave Ceres Pencil Review

The words "Shelbyville, Tenn., U.S.A." bring back a lot of memories of grade school. Most of my pencils and erasers had the name of the town on them, and though I did live in a town called Shelbyville, it was not in Tennessee. But it was the first time that i realized there could be a town with the same name in a different state. I would imagine the kids of Shelbyville, TN sitting in their classes and wonder if they were having just as bad of time as I was.

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The 'In The Pines' Pencils are Here

The Write Notepads pencils have arrived. Subscribers should have theirs already, if not they are definitely en route. And they announced on Twitter that the pencils will be for sale on their site sometime soon.

 

These don't really warrant a full review, but a few thoughts about them:

 

1. I love the color of the lacquer, dark green is my jam.

2. These are Musgrave pencils, but a little bit of a softer hex than a usual Musgrave job.

3. The core is similar to my favorite Write pencil, the maroon one.

4. White eraser, silver stamping, silver ferrule.

5. Left-handed imprint, per usual.

A Holiday Pencil Story

For me, Christmas always means one thing: going to my grandparents’ house to be with the family, have a big breakfast, and open presents. I never had the traditional “come downstairs in your pajamas and see what Santa brought” Christmas, because it was always “Get up, get dressed, we’re going to your Grandma’s house!” screams from my parents trying to get me out of bed. But I don’t mind it, because I would doubt that anyone actually has a “traditional” Christmas. What even is that? I’ve just been reading a book about advertising and branding that explains how the Santa Claus concept as we know it today was created by Coca Cola in the 30’s…ever wonder why his suit is Coke Red? That book is Branding: In Five and A Half Steps by Michael Johnson. I just got it for an early Christmas gift from the lady and it's excellent for designers.

Anyway, any time I think about my Grandpa, I think of the little pencil cups he has all over the house. One on the kitchen table, one on the table by his recliner, one in the basement family room, and even one in the bathroom, on top of the toilet. Not just one pencil, mind you, a whole cup, with about 5-6 pencils in it. They sit in a little old 7-Up wax paper cup from his time working for a paper goods manufacturer. If retro cups ever got the revival that old pencils got, I’d be set…they have boxes of old wax paper cups in their basement.

I haven’t really even talked to my grandpa about his pencil using habits. He’s an old military man, a career Army Sergeant that spent time in Korea, Germany, Hawaii (my dad was born there before it was a state) and many bases all over the US. He’s been in war and he’s a quiet, solemn man, which is not to say he’s not a happy man. He’s in his mid 80s and still strong as a bull, and besides a few woodworking accidents in which fingers were lost, a healthy man who has stayed out of the hospital for the most part.

For him, a pencil is a tool. He marks his cuts for woodworking projects, draws his plans, fills out crossword puzzles, makes his shopping lists…he uses his pencils as something to help him, not as a hobby that owns him, as so many of us do. I could learn a lot from him in that respect.

In a roundabout way, his use of pencils fed my stationery interest. As a little kid, I wanted to be like him. I remember setting up a little pencil pot on my desk, filling it with newly sharpened pencils and a few ink pens. He always had little scissors in his, so I made sure to put little scissors in mine. I always had plenty of pencils from Shelbyville, TN, which I remember only because I’m from Shelbyville IL, and it was always fascinating to me that there was another town called the same as mine in a different state. Back then there was more than Musgrave, so I couldn’t say what brand they were…but I remember Shelbyville.

I always check the pencil pots for anything old and exciting when I visit them. He uses pencils often, but I’m not sure he knows where they’ve come from. Some are newer cheap-o junk pencils. Some are older pencils that I’ve never seen before, cheap yellow pencils, but brands I don’t recognize that he got from god-knows-where. Then there are the old pencil stubs. Many of his pencils are nearing the Steinbeck Stage and the erasers are all used up. Being a good Depression-era man that he is, he doesn’t throw them away, just starts up another pencil and keeps the old one in the cup.

My dream would be to dig around and find some old Blackwings in his house, a stash of boxes, stacked as high as the wax paper cups. But I haven’t even found one. I haven’t even found any old Eberhard Faber pencils at all. Or anything rare. Which is a testament to the man who worked hard his whole life and collected something even better: the memories he’s recorded, the things he’s built in his wood shop, the smiles of everyone who has received one of those items. And our family. His most useful tool in that project was his hard work, love, and support he’s given us through the years.

Happy Holidays!