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Pencil extenders – not a gimmick!

Two pencil extenders at work.

Pictured above are two pencil extenders (and a new pencil for comparison). They are devices that give a second career to pencils that might otherwise be approaching retirement. Pencils can last quite a while, so the ones that have been used until they turn into stubs are probably the really good ones – the ones we most often choose for our writing or drawing tasks. These extenders can allow a pencil to be used even when many sharpenings have made that pencil no longer comfortable or practical to be held in one’s hand.

Above are a No. 1098 N Koh-I-Noor, and a Cretacolor extender, with a new Cretacolor pencil for comparison.

I found them both at art stores. They are quite comfortable and simple to use. The pencil stub is placed in the opening, and a clamping ring moved to secure the pencil. With certain pencils being hard to replace or expensive (e.g. artist’s pencil crayons), one or two of these extenders could certainly be a good investment.

16 comments to Pencil extenders – not a gimmick!

  • Great post! Have you had a chance to try General’s extender? It smells so nice!

  • Thanks! No – haven’t seen a General’s. I’ll keep an eye out for them. Thanks for the tip.

  • I think I found one at Hobby Lobby — semi-National, but their prices are pretty high, usually the total retail. Great sales, though!

  • Brian Phipps

    I recently bought a pencil holder under the Alvin name and it’s a great idea. What about pencil caps? Have you had any? I’m wondering if they are any good.

  • Kevin

    Unfortunately the designs shown here with a clamping ring are near impossible to use because this is exactly where you grip the pencil extender. The Japanese Kutsuwa 2 piece extenders are much better – there really is no comparison.

  • James

    There are very good quality pencil extenders by Rosetta of Italy available here: http://www.ipenstore.com/servlet/the-Rosetta-cln-Pencil-Extender/Categories. I like them so much I’ve already bought 8 of them. They have an excellent clamping mechanism, and I really like their “heft”. The various colors available are helpful in differentiating my drawing pencils so that the flow of work is not interrupted, something I really appreciate. I’ve placed a couple of orders at ipenstore.com, and the service has been uniformly excellent.

    There are even more extenders to drool over here: http://www.pencils.jp/product-list/4 , many of them very expensive, and some (like the Staedler) can be bought elsewhere for less. I have not purchased anything from this website (yet!) so I can’t comment on their service.

  • David O.

    I’d forgotten that I had two of these things. It may be more handy to have that I had thought. I got them with a bunch of older pens & pencils in an ebay buy. The first is marked” “Dixon Pencil Extender – 453″. It has a simple friction fit. The 2nd one is all metal (also friction) and has a chain, like it was worn around the neck. It is stamped “W.U.Tel.Co”

  • Pencil Me In

    There are some relatively new, inexpensive, lightweight aluminum pencil extenders available from Alvin and Derwent – the Alvins accommodate the standard-diameter pencils, the Derwents offer a version for standard-diameter and another for larger-diameter pencils. They’re definitely not luxury items, but quite functional. Both holders are hollow to their very end, so one need not work with a pencil that’s too short to use comfortably but too long once in an extender. Their knurled a screw-clutch holds the pencil tightly enough to sharpen it while still in the extender, and makes for a better grip on the pencil as well. The Alvin extenders come in an assortment of colors, which I find quite useful for identifying which hardness of pencil is in there when I’m using an assortment of graphite pencils, since the extender covers the designation mark. The Derwents are attractive, but come in only one color per size. Perhaps these might be a subject for a future post?

  • Shane

    Here are the Alvin extenders/holders:
    http://www.alvinco.com/shopping/family_sale_0_familyid_13793_cat_209

    I have used one like this for years and love it. Hopefully the Alvins are easier to get (haven’t found where to buy them yet.)

  • Thank you, Pencil Me In and Shane. This post is now over five years old! Other extenders have been occasionally looked at, and a review of the subject is an excellent idea. To me, the traditional ones shown above are unusable once you’ve tried the modern products. I really like the Ito-ya model, and many others praise the Staedtler 900 25. The links provided by James show some other excellent examples.

  • I have also tried numerous extenders and found many traditional ones almost useless. My favourites are the STAEDTLER 900 25, Rosetta, ITO-YA and Alvin.

  • David O.

    Just last night, I bought two different ones at Hobby Lobby, as I was nearby. I got “The Miser” pencil extender by General Pencil (noted above) and the Derwent 2 pack (see “Pencil Me In” above).

    The Derwent package contains a black extender for normal diameter pencils, and a silver metal cased one for larger diameter pencils. I could see the Derwent as being very comfortable to use, but need to give the traditional General version (like the images above) a try as well.
    The General “Miser” also comes with a short pencil, and I agree about the scent. The pencil has a very strong cedar smell after sharpening.

    This link contains an image of the Derwent package:
    http://www.jerrysartarama.com/discount-art-supplies/drawing-tools/derwent-pencil-extender.htm

    I asked my wife which one she thought was made in the U.S. vs. China and she guessed right in both cases.

    These new purchases will join my much older, more plain extenders that I ended up with along with various mechanical pencil ebay purchases some years ago.

  • Bob S. in Phoenix, AZ

    For David O.:

    Presumably “W.U.Tel.Co.” is “Western Union Telegraph Company”

  • David O.

    Yep, I think you nailed it. It appears that the name was still in use at least until the mid-1980′s. I’m guessing that the extender dates from before 1950. I can try to take a picture of it and the other older one I have.

  • David O.

    When taking a picture of the bullet pencils, I decided to also take an image of the two older extenders I received with other mechanical pencil ebay purchases (see details above, March 8, 2010 post). I took the chain out of the Western Union extender. The designs are very simple, but they do the job.

    http://i628.photobucket.com/albums/uu10/dcoliver88/PencilExtendersOld_Jan72011_tr.jpg

  • christina T

    I bought a sketch set, and I got a double sided one. I wasn’t sure how to use it, so this article helped me a lot.

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