Readers of this blog know that we like the serious stuff, and don’t typically mention novelty or advertising pencils. But we’ll make an exception for this pencil from Clairefontaine, possibly (probably?) made in Japan. It matches a Clairefontaine notebook set.
In another way, it also matches the Rhodia pencil
, coming from the same corporate family, and being a triangular, black-dyed wood pencil.
Give us more!
Pastellini is a set of 98 small colour pencils housed in a cylindrical tin, made by Seletti in Italy.
The tin has a lid with a clear cutout to see the many colourful pencils.
The pencils are quite small and round – making them more of an amusement than a practical tool. Still, they look great, and really brighten up a desk.
There aren’t 98 different colours – there is considerable duplication. And the leads are quite waxy, with weak colours.
They were $11.95 at a bookstore. That’s about 12 cents a pencil!
The Koh-I-Noor Triograph is an unusual offering. The oversized triangular shape along with the rich stained wood finish make these pencils seem like small pieces of furniture.
The pencil diameter is 10.5mm, and the core a very wide 6mm. It weighs 11 grams. To contrast this with other large triangular pencils, here are some statistics (all values approximate):
|Faber-Castell Jumbo Grip
Even compared with other oversize pencils, the Triograph is quite hefty.
Made in the Czech Republic, the pencil comes in three soft grades – 2B, 4B, and 6B. (Pictured are the 6B, with the darker stained wood, and the 2B.) They have a nicely finished black cap, and the stamping is in gold. The pencil’s wood stain surface is what makes it so unusual. It really does look like something that shouldn’t be disposable.
The lead is dark and rich, and certainly quite usable. The finish is unique, quite different from any other pencil I’ve seen. The large triangular shape will be a deciding factor for many. It’s large enough that you either like the feel or not. As well, like the International Arrivals pencils, it’s too wide for even the wide hole in dual hole sharpeners. This puts it in sharpen-by-knife territory, which may or may not be something you’re fine with.
Unfortunately, this isn’t a huge surprise. It looks like pencils are now on the list of items recalled due to unsafe lead levels. The ones in question are a novelty brand aimed at children.
Health Canada Advisory
Some thoughts about the pencils we’ve looked at this past month…
It’s great that Australia still has a pencil manufacturing plant (Staedtler). There were a number of pencil plants in Canada some years ago, but they have all since departed. Going way back, Thoreau’s pencils used Canadian graphite for a while. Today, the Pink Pearl eraser seems to be the only Canadian made pencil item I can find. Papermate sells a “Canadiana” pencil – but it’s imported.
All the branded pencils are offered by German companies – Staedtler, Faber-Castell, Stabilo. I’m not sure what that means, but I’m somehow surprised.
The Tradition 110 would easily be my choice as the best of the lot. Most of the pencils are average.
I like the idea of a series of reviews, but the average pencils were challenging to write about, so I’ll be more selective before trying this approach again.
And for anyone who has read this far – the server stats tell me the blog readership grows monthly, and it is among the top results in many Google searches – but the comments and discussion don’t reflect this. Would anyone be interested in either a mailing list or forum devoted to pencils? Another format might be better at preserving some of the accumulated knowledge and opinion, and encouraging discussion.
This pencil is a bit more challenging to describe than others in this series. It has no brand, no name, no markings. Still, it’s apparently the common generic pencil in New Zealand.
One thing I’ll say is that compared to a cheap no-name pencil that I’d find in North America, it’s just a bit thicker and more substantial. The paint job is reasonable. The wood is very pale – poplar? It’s a bit scratchy to write with.