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Graf von Faber-Castell pencils.

Graf von Faber-Castell pencil closeup.
Wow. I have wanted to write about these pencils for some while. They are the ultimate woodcase pencil. They have an incredible look, feel, and composition. They even smell nice, with an incredibly rich cedar fragrance.

They are sold in various formats, variants and packages, but here I’ll address only the full length standalone pencils. They are round with ribbed grooves, and have a silver-plate cap. Their circumference is larger than the typical office pencil. They look like finely crafted works of art, which incidentally happen to be pencils.
The Graf von Faber-Castell pencil on a picnic bench.
I’ve got a set of five, and also a set of two that came with a white eraser with ribbing that matches the pencils. The eraser also has a silver-plate cover. Until I can get some eraser replacements, I’m leaving the eraser in the plastic, as I don’t find that white erasers tend to stay white too long.
Various Graf von Faber-Castell pencils.
The series extends to silver-plate sharpeners. I have a large one that’s really a joy to use as a desk sharpener.
Graf von Faber-Castell Large Sharpener
The pencils are definitely top class, with a smooth writing dark lead. In one’s hand, they are very easy and pleasant to grip. They’re also beautiful and luxurious like no other woodcase pencil. Using this pencil is definitely enjoyable, and I recommend trying them to anyone who likes pencils.

23 comments to Graf von Faber-Castell pencils.

  • IArmas

    I am really interested in getting some of these pencils. Do you have an address where I might be able to order some? Thanks.

  • Fountain pen shops that carry Faber-Castell products should be able to get them. I can vouch for Laywine’s in Toronto and Skripta-Paris (online) as good places to get these.

  • @pril

    In the USA? I purchased mine from 1888store.com (via the SHOP BY BRAND menu, find WRITING INSTRUMENTS, Faber-Castell, then Perfect Pencils). They’re in Washington State I belive. Be prepared for sticker shock!

  • John Dooney

    I like this upper line of pencils. My question is whether or not anyone in the pencil community knows if the pencil for the grip 2001 or the castell 9000 are cedar pencils also?
    Thanks!

  • Thanks for the comment John.

    Many believe these pencils are made from pinus caribea (pine), since Faber-Castell manages a 10,000 hectare pine forest in Brazil. But I’ve never seen a formal statement from Faber-Castell, and the wood isn’t stated in product documents.

    Which of course doesn’t make it not so! If anyone has any references, let us know!

  • It has been awhile since I checked in at this site and see some interesint new posts. The Graf von Faber-Castell pencils are really beautiful to look at, but even I am hesitant to use them myself. Actually I have just returned from Germany where I even had dinner with Graf Anton this past week.

    FYI – Grip 2001 pencils are historically produced from Jelutong or Pulai from Indonesia. However over time Faber-Castell may have begun using Pine or Gmelina from their Latin America operations. The 9000 continues to be produced from Incense-cedar.

  • Great to hear from you. I imagine there was a lot of wood and pencil talk at that dinner!

    Thank you for the information about the source woods.

    Faber-Castell’s 250th anniversary is just a few years away. I will bet they are planning some nice products to commemorate the event. Oddly, they just released a Thoreau-themed rollerball. It wasn’t rollerballs that Thoreau’s family manufactured, if I recall correctly.

  • Kali

    I think those pencils are some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen- the simplicity is so wonderful. I’d order some, but I just finished ordering a bunch of Palominos!

  • Ken Bowes

    I have acquired three sterling silver Graf von Faber Castell items, matching .7mm pencil, ballpen and ( at a bankruptcy sale )fountain pen. Workmanship is tremendous..very nicely made, but being sterling, they mark easily, so it pays to keep them in a leather case, and always return promptly to the case! An example of thoughtful detail is the ( I think) molded polyethylene thread insert in the fountain pen cap, meaning that if you “post the cap” on the pen, the doft poly thread runs over the back of the pen snugly, but without marking it!

  • Kali, thanks for the comment. And there is no rule against ordering two types of pencils!

  • Ken, thanks for the comment and sharing your experience. The “thoughtful detail” you mention is great to hear about. I find that many of Faber-Castell’s products have these first rate design elements that aren’t immediately discovered.

  • Ken Bowes

    Not readily discovered is right! The sterling devices are easy to identify( even before seeing the price tag!) In silver-plated versions, there is a nicely flared ring at the top of the cap, with a single riow of “coining” around it. If it is sterling ( solid alloy of 92.5% silver ( by law), there are two coined rings one atop the other.

    Best regards to all!

    KenB

  • Alec

    I have the sterling silver pencil to write appointments and little notes in my Gigliodoro agenda. It is a joy to use, to have the eraser and sharpener always at hand and the weight of the pencil cap is so reassuring that I often tend to play with it during long boring meetings.
    Up until now I never had a lead break, an untidy sharpening or a grainy lead. For some other brands it seems so hard to get it all right, but these, well you get what you pay for?!

  • craniopath

    As long as I am concerned these are the best pencils in the world. Maybe WoodChuch can talk Graf Anton into producing affordable version so we can enjoy using our perfect pencils more often :)

  • craniopath

    I need your advice. I have bought myself a second hand large silver plated sharpener (thereby almost completing my set, yippie :) but the thing is I cant manage to move the top plate. I can neither move it up nor sideways, I wonder whether it is a screw on or pull out type. I just dont want to jam it any further.
    thanks

  • craniopath, congratulations on your purchase.

    The cap is held on with a round rubber ring. At least with my sharpener, quite a bit of force is required to remove the cap.

  • Seamus

    Love at first sight. This is the pencil I always dreamed of growing up. Then when I saw them in real life back in the mid eighties along with the Perfect Pencil I knew I would one day have to use one. Now I use them like I used to use good ole’ Skillcraft Bonded number two’s. That’s right I’m child of the U.S. government system and all my school supplies came from the supply cabinets of good old Uncle Sam. And yes, that’s also a main part of the reason I am so addicted to fine pencils, pens and desk accessories today. You just try using nothing but Skillcraft Bonded clicky pens, pencils, mechanical pencils, sharpeners, hole punches and staplers throughout your formative school years while everyone else has Faber-Castell, Koh-I-Noor, Prismacolor and Hello Kitty.

    Is there anything as decadent as the ability to use a $30.38 pencil in less than a day? Oh yeah, I’m sure you’ve all thought about it, the Perfect Pencil replacement pencils don’t just cost the $10 a piece because you also need the $3.38 eraser and the $17 silver plated or platinum plated eraser cap to complete the pencil. That does get one to thinking that the Graf Von Faber-Castell desk pencils are a bargain at $8.30 to $12 a piece because they don’t need the eraser parts. But you know what, I love all of the Graf Von Faber-Castell Perfect Pencils and desk pencils as they suit my creative sensibilities so well, pencil grade hardness B. No more scratchy government issue school supplies for me, it’s top hat business and artist supplies for me even if I still can’t logically justify their cost effectiveness in my daily life. Then again, every time I come across a Skillcraft Bonded I just gotta use it up, lifelong conditioning I guess.

  • Seamus – I thought the blog software had a malfunction when I read that all of the “Latest Comments” came from the same person.

    You have left eleven successive comments on various Faber-Castell posts that date back to 2006. Most of your musings are relatively long for blog comments, and only two are broken into paragraphs.

    While comments are of course welcome, and there is no rule or policy regarding their frequency, I hope you might choose to take a break and see if others respond to your ideas, before continuing.

  • Seamus

    Sorry, you can remove them if they aren’t up to your standards. I just tend to research and ponder on things for extended periods then it will all just burst out on a day like today. Today it was Faber-Castell Perfect Pencils and their desk equivalents. I tend to like these pencils so much that I thought I might help generate renewed interest in some of your older postings. Please forgive me if I was mistaken in my enthusiasm for the inspiration which pencils can generate.

  • Michael

    Seamus, don’t you transfer the eraser cap from the used up pencil – the eraser too if it still works?

    Am I the only person to find Graf von Faber Castell pencils rather pale? To be truthful I find them a bit of a diappointment.

  • Seamus

    Michael, you are right about transferring the eraser cap, and if you are one of the lucky few whose mistakes are minuscule the eraser can be transferred as well. I have a few eraser caps and sometimes I like to leave them on the pencil nubbin for a while as a small little symbol of pride of accomplishment displayed in a special pencil stand on my desk as I think the pencil without its cap is a rather sad and slightly ugly sight. There is also the unfortunate fact that the eraser cap is the one part of this pencil which is subject to unintended loss.

    You can also push the eraser further up in its little ferrule, with some careful effort, and even replace the eraser but it is a bit of a pain as almost always the little fellow will go shooting to some hidden corner while trying to do so.

    The Graf von Faber-Castell pencils do seem a bit pale but they are similar to other European B grade or Japanese F grade pencils. I think of them more as a writer’s, initial sketch and quick design pencil. They are great for those flurries of creativity when I don’t want to think about sharpening my pencil for a few pages because I know I will lose that thread of an idea which hasn’t yet completely formed itself. Whether I think of my pencil as a $10 a $13.38 or a $30.38 pencil the thought of using a softer grade pencil in this price range would mean that I could use up the pencil two to three times faster, and at the rate I scribble and scratch it’s like watching a reverse version of one of those roadside lottery billboards with the pencil’s value ticking down at an alarming rate.

  • [...] The lead is a little on the light side, but quite smooth. Its grade is B, but both FC and GvFC pencils tend toward the light side of the scale. For example, a Palomino HB is considerably darker than the Nr. III. The leads are very strong, and the pencil lasts a long time. They can be purchased in packs of 5, or in an elegant wooden gift box of 12. For lack of a better word, “classy” is what comes to mind, if such a thing could or should be said about a pencil. Seeing a box of these on a desk is as visually pleasing as they are to write with. For more, here is a review on PencilTalk. [...]

  • [...] keep a few Graf von Faber-Castell (GvFC) pencils, the ones with the silver-plated cap, in the wooden gift box that came with the GvFC Perfect Pencil. There’s something else I keep [...]

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