Round pencils

Round pencils

Round pencils were by far the least popular format in November’s poll. I had a look around my pencil box (okay, boxes) to see what I could find.

The pencils in the photo are (top to bottom): The Kita-Boshi Hit 9900, Nava pencil, Derwent Sketching pencil, Koh-I-Noor Hardmuth Progresso 8911, Mirado Black Warrior, and the PaperMate Primer Print.

Not everyday names? I’ve only referred to two of these in the past. The Derwent and Koh-I-Noor are specialty art pencils, the PaperMate a learning/children’s pencil, the Nava isn’t widely distributed and might be called a boutique pencil. The Hit is not widely available outside Japan, and only uses the round shape for the softer artist-oriented pencils. The Black Warrior is the only general purpose pencil in this lot.

Promotional pencils are usually round – but round is the cheapest format for printing.

So what gives? Is there really only one general purpose round pencil on the market, and why? Would people use round pencils if there were more choices? Or do we really, really not want our pencils to roll away?

10 Replies to “Round pencils”

  1. I’m in the minority I guess. I like round pencils, particularly advertising pencils that are 40 or 50 years old. They were made out of GOOD material. There’s nothing better than a coffee cup full of nice freshly pointed pencils on the desk. I don’t care as long as it’s pencils. Lots of pencils.

  2. The Mirado Black Warrior is the supreme pencil, though as yet still undiscovered by many and under-appreciated by most. Round is easy on the fingers if you do a lot of writing, as compared to the bite of the hexagonal pencil. The Mirado has exceptional lead – never skips on a lump of clay in the mix (which happens very frequently with any Dixon pencil), and comes in a variety of hardness degrees. Ferrule and eraser are tight (though it went through a year or two of lower quality about 4 years ago). The wood is quality cedar with a terrific smell. Rolling? That’s what ears are for! The world would be better place with more round pencils!

  3. I have a read different take on this subject. I think most people like hexagonal or triangular pencils because they know, if they drop, the graphite will crack, shatter or break. Ruined pencils. Pencil manufacturers listened to their customers, and produced the hexagonal. But even this pencil will roll on a steep decline, so out comes the triangular. To top this and to ensure no rolling, we now have the enlarged triangular.
    What is interesting about this is that if the pencil lead didn’t break, would we really prefer hexagonal. I am with Kelly, I like the round.
    As most of us cringe when our pencil rolls off the desk (as we know what the results will be) we have now accepted these “shaped” pencils as being a better fit for our fingers. But are they really?
    Why don’t surgeons use hexagonal equipment for their delicate work – if they require such precision, you would think they would have switched from round. But, alas they haven’t.
    There is a real argument for hexagonal that no one is making. If you have the traditional slate of wood to crave out your pencils, you can get one extra pencil from the same slate if you grind it hexagonally. Bet, you didn’t know that! This is good as from the same amount of wood, you get 9 pencils and not 8.
    Myself, I love round and I don’t like to use wood. Give me an O’BON pencil.

  4. ME: Hey, Google, why are round pencils always softer than regular pencils?

    GOOGLE: Hang on a sec – boy, have I got a website for you.

  5. I’m a bit late to the party.

    I simply prefer round because hex pinches my fingers.

    I have an old Faber Castell B pencil, they don’t make them anymore it seems. The Faber B lead is slightly too hard for my liking.

    I also have the Derwent 2B sketching pencil in round like you said. I like the grip on the Derwent because it’s chunky and round and very comfortable to use. But I find with this Derwent I get rough bits in the lead which I have to brush away once in a while.

    So basically if they combined the chunky, round grip of the Derwent and the superior lead of Faber Castell at a softness of 4B it would result in a good pencil for me =)

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