The Caran d’Ache Grafwood pencil is intriguing.
The pencil is a rounded hexagonal shape, a millimetre or two wider than the Technograph.
It has a silver finish, with the very interesting feature of the finish colour corresponding to the lead degree – lighter pencils in a lighter silver, and darker pencils in a darker silver. Each pencil degree is slightly different. This is a great feature, and a huge advance over a degree marking (e.g. ‘B’), possibly hard to read, on the pencil. Of course, this comes at a price to the consumer.
These pencils remind me of Derwent’s offerings. I am remiss in not yet having written about a Derwent pencil here, though I regularly use them.
Derwent has a ‘Graphic’ line, and a ‘Sketching’ line. The Graphic pencil is hexagonal, in a typical pencil diameter. The Sketching pencil is round, slightly larger, with a larger graphite core. The idea is that the form factor supports rich lines and easy freehand drawing.
The Grafwood is similarly conceived – a larger diameter pencil (though hexagonal), for easy grip and sketching. Visually, it appears to have a larger than standard (i.e. 2mm) core, but I don’t really want to sacrifice one of the few I have just for dissection.
The lead seems to be at least of the same calibre as the Technograph, and possibly better.
At a 2B grade, the graphite seems to be much more solid and non-crumbling than the corresponding Derwent pencil, while giving just as dark a line.
I really like these pencils, and I encourage Caran d’Ache to seek more distribution for their products – I haven’t yet seen anything from their graphite pencil line that isn’t first rate.