Clairefontaine novelty pencil

Clairefontaine pencil

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.
Clairefontaine pencil
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 – a tin of colour!

Pastellini Colour Pencils
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.

Pastellini Colour 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.
Pastellini Colour Pencils

They were $11.95 at a bookstore. That’s about 12 cents a pencil!

Koh-I-Noor Hardmuth Triograph 1830 pencil

Koh-I-Noor Hardmuth Triograph 1830 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):

Pencil Weight Diameter Core Sharpened Cap
Koh-I-Noor Triograph 11.2g 10.5mm 6mm yes finished
Faber-Castell Jumbo Grip 7.3g 9mm 3mm yes unfinished
Dixon Tri-Conderoga 7.1g 7mm 2mm no ferrule/eraser
Mongol Trio 8.2g 9mm 3mm no ferrule/eraser

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.
Koh-I-Noor Hardmuth Triograph 1830 pencil
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.

Wrapup: New Zealand/Australia pencil month

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.

Generic Pencil

The Generic pencil of Auckland.
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.

Not recommended.