PenciLog (pencilog.com) is the new home of Kent’s PenciLog. Written in Korean, Kent examines pencils in leisurely depth. The right hand column has a link titled “Postings in English” which leads to some articles written in English. The navigation system doesn’t seem to allow linking to specific articles, but here are two posts I recommend navigating to: the California Republic Palomino, and the Graf von Faber-Castell pencil. The former shows some interesting new marketing of the pencil from California Cedar products, while the latter shows some pencils that don’t seem to be for sale anywhere I can find. Most interesting!
On the desk, at any time is by Kossy, and written in Japanese. I have previously linked to it as “???????”. I am flabbergasted by the blog’s energy and the range of stationery items shown. If you like train themed pencils (this may be a small club), Kossy shows many more varieties that I was not aware of. Updated at least once a day, it is a treasure trove of modern stationery information.
Finally, a video of an old Nataraj pencil ad at Youtube. Delightful!
If you’re going to have exam pencils, you might as well have exam erasers, right?
The Papermate Exam Standard Speederase appears to match the corresponding Papermate pencil, except that it was purchased at retail in Canada.
It comes in a very unusual black, and is labeled as being latex free, smudge resistant, and dust-free.
The eraser detritus forms a very interesting pattern.
Trying it out on Staedtler 168 exam pencil markings on a Handbook Journal Co. Quattro notepad, it does the job, though not perfectly.
The Behance Dot Grid Book is a coil-ringed notebook. It uses very thick paper (80 lb.), and is neither blank nor ruled – it has a “dot grid”.
Though very thick, the paper also seems pulpy and unfinished. I am wondering why this particular paper was chosen. Thicker paper being better was generally true with typewriters – but not necessarily with handheld writing and drawing implements.
The packaged notebook presents nicely (and for the price being asked for a 50 sheet coil-ring notebook, it has to) and includes an interesting brochure, “Make ideas happen.”
So why the dots? The band around the notebook states: “The geometric dot matrix on the front and back of each page serves as a subtle guide for your notations and sketches. The dot matrix pushes your ideas forward, beyond the confines of restrictive lines and boxes.” Really? It will push my ideas forward? More than a blank page? And no one finds dots constrictive?
Well, I’m mainly kidding. I think it’s great that they are exploring alternate “anchors” for paper writing. I recall seeing circular graph paper and all sorts of patterns in notebooks years ago, and am glad to have more choices.
After opening and contemplating this notebook in the backyard, I happened to glance at Mathematical Gems I by Ross Honsberger – part of the Dolciani Mathematical Expositions series. Chapter 11, “Circles, Squares, and Lattice Points”, tells us a great deal about the dots this notebook uses, which are formally called lattice points.
A very interesting problem is this: Can you draw a circle around just one dot? Trivial. How about two? Again pretty easy. Three? The problem just got a lot harder – but yes you can. So how about any arbitrary integer n? Amazingly, it is quickly proven that such a circle exists. And that’s just the beginning – Schinzel’s Theorem proves one can draw a circle with any given number of lattice points on the circle’s circumference – and Browkin’s Theorem proves that one can draw a square containing an arbitrary number of lattice points.
So if you want to play around and learn about some of these properties of lattice points, what better tool than the Behance Dot Grid Book?
Observing the blog “dashboard”, I noticed that a milestone was just passed – the 2500th comment. It was made by M-C, responding to a post on the pencils of France.
My sincere thanks to the many commenters for your contributions.
Wörther is a company I’ve come to admire.
“Quality” is easy to state, but what does it mean from a manufacturer? A formal policy process? An informal process? A philosophy?
In the realm of mechanical pencil manufacturing, I will leave a formal response to that question to the experts, but from a personal perspective, the products of Wörther seem to be the embodiment of the idea.
Whether plastic or metal, they seem to use quality materials. Their products have design elements that are thoughtful and original. I’ll mention a personal favourite, the Slight pencil, in a future post.
The Shorty is a 3.15mm clutch leadholder. A centimetre or two longer than the Kaweco leadholder, it is much more easily held, and has a practical hexagonal shape. It comes in a variety of colour finishes. My choice of grey does tend to highlight stray graphite smudges. The clip is integrated with the clutch advance mechanism, and creates a great sensation and surprise when opening the clutch, as the clip/button visibly descend within the pencil. I have never seen a design like this, and it is an example of why Wörther’s products are so interesting.
While plastic, there are no seams, and the pencil appears quite solid.
The pencil ships with three cardboard tubes, each containing a different refill type – graphite in 7B, a vibrant red, or a rarely seen white lead. It seems the Shorty is being offered as a general purpose marking pencil.
Overall, it a great writing implement with an excellent design.
The “dollar store” isn’t typically a place I’d look for anything, let alone writing implements. Yet, I was recently in one, and found this 2.0mm mechanical pencil, with a package of mixed-grade refill leads. For one Canadian dollar – which is currently about 86 US cents, or 63 € cents.
The bilingual (English/French) packaging doesn’t indicate much. The pencil comes with a mixed grade package of HB, B, 2B, 3B, and 4B leads. The mixture is appreciated, though the spectrum seemed narrower than I expected in testing.
The pencil can be refilled through either the tip or the cap – a nice feature.
The pencil is extremely lightweight – 7.6g unfilled, and appears to be made of lightweight plastic and metal with a blue rubberized surface. The grip area is triangular.
My general expectation of a “dollar store” product would be low quality, and while this pencil is definitely not going to replace my Staedtler 925 25 20, neither is it unacceptably cheap. The design does seem original, with a nice enough colour palette choice. It is comfortable to hold, functional, and very lightweight. While this blog doesn’t favour no-name items, for this price, the pencil and refill leads are an almost shocking offering. Maybe it is the Tata Nano of leadholders.
Has anyone else found any interesting discount office supplies?