The Graf von Faber-Castell Magnum Perfect Pencil. Top: Sharpened with a Caran d’Ache Sharpening Machine. Middle: Sharpened with an El Casco M-430. Bottom: Factory sharpening. The pencils rest on a Doane Paper moon camera journal.
The Graf von Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil line has a new edition. While I’m a big fan of Faber-Castell’s various premium pencils and extenders, the prices, like many consumer goods, have increased considerably over the years. Since only this specific refill would fully utilize the extender’s capabilities, I decided to first try some refills to see how this pencil works.
The challenge of jumbo pencils is that the volume of wood required quadruples as the radius doubles – so manufacturer shortcuts to save money seem inevitable. Fortunately, this pencil is an exception – a creamy dark 4B 4mm core is encased in straight grained cedar, with the signature fluted finish. I have already ordered the extender!
A small curiosity: the Staedtler Mars 510 25 magnesium sharpener.
Why is it a curiosity? Because it appears to be a variant of the famous Möbius+Ruppert 602.
While magnesium weighs much less than brass, in appearance this doppelspitzer is a doppelgänger.
It is not a vegetable peeler, nor a magnet. It is a curiosity, a design object created by Oriol Gener. It claims to be able to sharpen a pencil.
It is fun, and surprisingly miniature – from photos, I imagined a full-sized kitchen vegetable peeler – but it is comparable to the size and weight of a large coin.
The packaging has instructional photos that I don’t find helpful.
As one would imagine, you peel away at the pencil with the peeler’s blade.
(An MD pencil.)
I’m quite ambiguous in my reaction. It just can’t be as consistent as a quality regular sharpener. It costs roughly $USD25. It benefits from softer woods. But it is a lot of fun.
What do you think?
Something more casual today. This pencil, the 1.3mm Staedtler 771, has bright Noris colouring. It is a large chunky triangular pencil, and has no trouble surviving and being found after a wind gust. It feels sturdy and solid, and at about $CDN10 ($USD8, 7 Euros), has an unexpected wealth of features – a clip, a retracting cylindrical guide, a rubbery grip area, and a twist-out eraser.
Today is a provincial holiday where I live, and some time in the backyard makes me realize that at least in certain circumstances – the visibility of a pencil is an asset.
A small sticker tells me the pencil is made in Japan. My only misgiving is that 1.3mm lead is not commonplace here.
[Update: August 8, 2017]
This blog is fortunate to have some very informed readers. One of them is Gunther, the author of the erudite Lexikaliker weblog. Gunther has shared some interesting history regarding the Staedtler 771:
The Staedtler 771 is made in Japan, and was first presented at Paperworld in January, 2008. The pencil commenced sales in Germany in May, 2008.
Early 2014 saw the pencil’s discontinuation in Germany. In Japan, the 771 continued, and was joined in Fall 2014 by a white and black version, the 771-0. Both versions continue to be offered in Japan.
Gunther mentions that “Staedtler Germany still offers 1.3 mm leads because they were also used for the graphite 760.” The 760 was discontinued, though the 925 appears to still be around.
As noted in this post at Lexikaliker, pencil industry leader Faber-Castell has issued a special set of pencils to honour the 200th birthday of Lothar von Faber. (An English language version of the product website is here).
To anyone interested in the history of pencils, this is super exciting!
This blog, nine years ago, was thinking ahead about tribute pencils for Faber-Castell’s 250th anniversary in 2011. Some good suggestions are in the comments.
This is what Faber-Castell produced. Beautiful. Every business must look forward, but I’d also hoped for a look back at their magnificent history.
Later than we hoped for, is this great set. The photos suggest it is very pleasing. Unfortunately, it is only available in Germany. I hope Faber-Castell will recognize the irony – Lothar von Faber created great success though approaching international markets. I hope this pencil set will become available internationally.
I also hope for the chance to contrast this set with the the original (a privilege to own).
In the period that this blog was inactive, Faber-Castell introduced two fantastic additions to their Perfect Pencil line – first, a No. V refill in grey guilloche, and later, a beautiful midnight blue edition.
They were quick additions to my daily arsenal – in fact they seem like the same quality as the fluted pencils, but in a more casual yet elegant design. The leads may be just a bit darker – a reaction to customer feedback?
They are fantastic, amazing pencils. Is there a competitor at this level?
Graf von Faber-Castell Guilloche pencils
Faber-Castell – 21st century pencil manufacturer