Les crayons de la maison Caran d’Ache

One of the most referenced posts at this blog was on a pencil series made from multiple species of wood by the former Colleen Pencil Co. One of the regular subjects of direct queries to the blog, the top question is “Where can I buy a set?” Unfortunately, the pencils were never available for retail sale, and Colleen has been out of business for many years.

The appeal of the pencils has led me to some informal discussions with pencil companies about what would be involved in creating a new set. What I’ve heard is that using alternate species would be technically challenging, and possibly damaging to carefully tuned pencil manufacturing equipment. For a niche product, even an investigation might not be worthwhile.

Yet, one major manufacturer seems to have had a renewed interest in testing their ability to make truly beautiful and amazing pencils from exotic wood species. This year, Caran d’Ache unveiled Les crayons de la maison Caran d’Ache, a series of pencils made from Titanium Oak, Macassar Ebony, Lati Gray, and American Walnut.

Les crayons de la maison Caran d'Ache

A note about the photo – I had already used all four pencils before taking photos, so that isn’t the factory sharpening we see.

Les crayons de la maison Caran d'Ache

If you love beautiful pencils, I cannot imagine that you would not find these amazing. My personal favourite is the Walnut pencil. I enjoyed using it to take notes, and felt quite aware that it has a dual identity – an undeniable luxury, yet still, just a woodcase pencil.

A review at Lexikaliker pointed out some technical shortcomings such as off-centred lead. I didn’t observe this in my pencils, and in any case I believe the achievement in creating an Oak or Walnut pencil is such that I’ll forgive small flaws.

L. to R.: Ebony, Lati, Walnut, Oak
Les crayons de la maison Caran d'Ache

Les crayons de la maison Caran d'Ache

Yes, I have sharpened one (so far), the Macassar Ebony, using a handheld M+R:

Les crayons de la maison Caran d'Ache

Highly recommended for all pencil aficionados.

12 Replies to “Les crayons de la maison Caran d’Ache”

  1. …reeling from…Pencil Talk….overload. Must take shallower breaths…concentrate.

    You can’t hit us with these grand slams all at once…give us a few grounders, or a bunt here or there…something. :)

  2. You have staged the pencils in a beautiful way! I am happy to hear that there aren’t any flaws in your set. – By the way: When the retailer I got my set from told the CdA sales person about the off-centered leads the sales person told him that I should stop making such a fuss. This is not exactly the reaction I have expected from this company, especially not in view of the set’s price.

  3. Do you know where one could buy this set that ships to the US? I looked around but it’s pretty difficult to find this.

  4. Hi John, don’t give up – there are US based retailers, as well as several in Europe. The product has been called “Caran D’ache Exotic Pencil Set” in some English speaking countries – try searching for that term.

  5. Thank you for this detail! I am surprised to see that both sets contain the Lati pencil. – I am eager to see more, especially the blue zebrano pencil.

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