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Farewell to 2007

A few end of year notes – after four months of the blog being at, redirection from will be turned off. Please update any old bookmarks or links that you might have.

If there is anything you’d like to see featured at pencil talk, or if you’d like to say hello (other […]

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays

Though it wasn’t planned, pencil talk seems to have taken a brief winter break.

We’ll be back next week.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to everyone.

The hunt for the EE grade pencil

While I thought the letter pencil grades (“HB”, etc.) were standard, I came across this lament about the end of the barely known EE grade.

The web’s best site for researching issues like this is the always entertaining and informative, which has many vintage drafting equipment catalogs online.

It seems that in […]

Soft lead pencils

Using pencils for writing, note taking, flowcharts, and diagrams, I’ve rarely explored their softest grades, those beyond 4B.

Though pencil making details are trade secrets, it is known that graphite and clay are the main ingredients in a pencil’s lead. There are also waxes and binding agents in pencils. At least one pencil […]

Ampad Engineer’s Computation Pad

The Ampad Engineer’s Computation Pad is a specialty pad of paper. Light green with green ruling, the front side of the page has only a margin. The back of the page has a 100 by 700 grid, with each square measuring 1/5″ x 1/5″. The inch lines (every fifth line) are slightly darker.


Faber-Castell Castell 9000 pencil

The Castell 9000 is a famous and iconic pencil. A flagship product of Faber-Castell, the world’s largest pencil company, the 9000 has over a century of history as an important working tool of writers, artists and engineers.

The dark rich green (“forest green”) has varied in shade over the years, but the current version […]