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Summer takes a toll

Regular blog readers may notice a certain slowing of the pace. Let me assure you that it isn’t a loss of interest! In fact, the blog’s fifth anniversary is only three months away, and there will be a celebration. Yet, for the time being, high temperatures are resulting in a necessary focus on just getting through the day.

It could be worse – news reports indicate the northeast US, Italy, Germany, and Russia have all been hit with even more serious heat waves.

It seems, even some of my personal favourite Faber-Castell Grip 2001 pencils have been affected:
Fraber-Castell Grip 2001

In some cases, the “dots” have expanded and merged:
Fraber-Castell Grip 2001

In the worst case, the “dots” broke open, leaving marks on both the paper and my hand!
Fraber-Castell Grip 2001

While I’ve mentioned this pencil’s great design many times over the years, this is my first practical problem.

It seems that even pencils can’t take this heat!

15 comments to Summer takes a toll

  • awin

    That really sucks about the Faber-Castell pencils! I have some at home and I hope they haven’t been thus affected D:

  • Yikes! The heat really did a number on those pencils. With temperature readings of 112 F (44.4 C)been displayed in my car thermometer lately, I should have known better not to leave my sketching bag in the trunk. No wonder my felt tip pens seem to have dried up prematurely. In that regard, my pencils (both wooden and mechanical) have proven more resilient than pens in enduring summer excessive heat.

  • Michael

    I’ve never been a fan of these. I don’t think the dots do much for grip and I’ve found them pale and scratchy.
    But I’ve never heard of them melting before.
    Maybe they should have a warning “Best kept in a Refrigerator” – during heat waves at least.
    Trouble is I’d never be able to resist the temptation to grab an ice cream while got a pencil from the ‘fridge.

  • So THAT’s what happened! I have some and they suddenly appeared to stick together after sitting in a bag in my car for a couple of days. Dang. What’s weird is that after melting together, the dots don’t seem to harden again — mine are still really sticky after being inside in the AC for a few days.

    Interesting. Thanks for the tip!

  • Henrik

    LOL! Never seen that one before. Allways thought the dots were wood! Wonder how the dots are made?
    regards Henrik

  • Please don’t worry about the slowing (which is barey noticeably, by the way) – there is still so much to read, and I enjoy it very much.

    The degrading of the dots looks horrible, and I am surprised to see this happening.

    Henrik: At the Paperworld trade show in February Faber-Castell told me that the dots aren’t made from rubber but from lacquer.

  • Thank you to all for the comments. Fortunately, this doesn’t seem to be a common phenomenon.

  • Futural

    The first time that I saw this pencil I wondering what are those dots made of?
    A brilliant and beautiful design.
    When I had It in my hands, the first thing that I do was put my nail on a dot because I want to know if these dots could fall apart and they could, but I couldn’t know what material was used on, so thanks Gunther for the info.
    Now, is the same laquer used to paint pencils? who knows?

  • Tom. T

    These pencils have been out for ages right because i used to have one of theses years ago and i remember crushing the dots with my nail too. And i also remember the balls getting rather sticky and annoying

  • Michael

    There was an interview with the designers on the F-C website a while back. I can’t find it now.
    The lacquer on the dots is a special formula and took a lot of experimenting to get right as did the means of applying them.

  • Yes, I have some pencils of these catagry in my collection of 2002 and thise pencils faced same problem due to temparature and humidity..
    In fact this helped me to find out how this design was umposed on pencils.
    In general, Pencil is a ‘short life’ product and one who treasure them as a hobby collector they only preserve as precious collection!!
    But I noticed one thing..
    Those pencils of this design of early 2002 were far better than the pencils of recent years!!

  • I just had to take a Pink Pearl to a Grip 2001 because the dots turned to goo in my hands. Ick! Luckily, the eraser took off nearly all the black and dots, and now I have a unique silver pencil.

  • Hey, didn’t you once have a blog? :-)

  • wondaa

    The problem is caused by hydrolysis and not by temperature. Hydrolysis is a very slow degeneration of the dot material caused by air moisture which in the end (after some years) leads to a kind of smeary liquid like appearence. The more humid and warm the climate the faster it happens. It is not possible to regenerate the material once it is hydrolized. I got the first smeary pencils back on my desk about two years after the introduction of the Grip 2001 and it caused us long and serious headache to find out what had happened. The problem was fixed 2003/2004. Sorry for the inconvenience. My fault. :-) If you send the pencils back to us you will get new ones. – W.
    R&D @ FC

  • Thank you for the information, W.

    (W./”wondaa” is indeed from Faber-Castell R&D. We are delighted to have W.’s contributions here.)

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