Sanford Noblot Ink Pencil 705

Sanford Noblot Ink Pencil 705

It has been over two years since we last looked at a copying pencil.

The Sanford Noblot, like the Koh-I-Noor Kopierstifte 1561, appears to be a regular graphite pencil, writing with a traditional “black lead” core.

There are still several copying pencils on the market with coloured leads, but the Noblot is the last one I’m aware of in the graphite style.

It is a handsome pencil, with silver lettering on a luminous grey barrel, and a metal cap.

It also has a slogan on the reverse side : “A Bottle of Ink in a Pencil”.

Sanford Noblot Ink Pencil 705

The obverse reads “Sanford Noblot Ink Pencil 705”.

Sanford Noblot Ink Pencil 705

If you look carefully, you can see an impressed remnant of the Eberhard Faber heritage: “Woodclinched U.S.A.”.

Sanford Noblot Ink Pencil 705

As a pencil, it seems a bit cheap and scratchy. It is definitely an indelible pencil, trouncing the erasure attempts of even the Staedtler Mars plastic.

To test the copying quality, I drew (imperfectly) a circle on a sheet of Bloc Faf paper.

Sanford Noblot Ink Pencil 705

I then wet the paper revealing a rich cobalt blue:

Sanford Noblot Ink Pencil 705

With tissue and other paper types, I’m afraid that I couldn’t pick up much more than a smudge of blue. I’m curious about the exact paper choices and water application techniques that would be required to use the pencil as a working copying pencil.

Do you use this pencil? What do you use it for, and how do you use it?

111 Replies to “Sanford Noblot Ink Pencil 705”

  1. I’m not 100% certain, but I think these are used in tattooing. For my tattoos that were not done free-hand, the artist sketched the image onto tracing paper from the original art I brought in, misted the area where the tattoo was going (with water, I assume – it didn’t smell like anything else), and transferred the image from the trace paper to my skin, then went at it with the gun.

    I haven’t gotten a tattoo since I found out about this type of pencil, but I’ll be getting another in a month or two, and I’ll keep an eye out!

    Here’s what has to say:

    This permanent, soluble pencil is a must for restoring old signs. It’s like a bottle of ink in a pencil!

    Simply outline old letters and designs. Then, paint background colors directly over your marks. (We recommend waterbase paints.) The pencil will bleed through for a precise line to follow.

  2. I bought one of these years ago from the venerable Bob Slate Stationers of Cambridge and quickly realized I didn’t know what it was for. The ‘bottle of ink in a pencil’ is a bold threat however.

  3. Ha–I was just rummaging through a box of old/odd pencils last night (thanks to the inspiration from this great site) and found a practically unused Noblot bought on a whim ages ago. I never realized you could use it for copying–I just liked the slogan. It does stink for writing/drawing, but now I’ll have to experiment.

  4. There is also a black, graphit-style copying pencil still available from Faber-Castell Germany, namely the CASTELL DOCUMENT 9100½ (Art. No. 119112).

  5. Hi–I saw this pencil used in a “how to” video on youtube–the person used it to make a temporary tattoo (color added with another Sanford product–Sharpies!). The pencil was used to transfer the design from tracing paper to skin. I think the blue color you demonstrate up there would be perfect for fake tattoos. I wish this pencil was easier to find!

    Nice site, btw–I love the closeups of the wood marks.

  6. ya i also saw the same video as Christine did…the only thing is that i really want to do that but i can’t find out where to find the pencils…

  7. Hello everyone,

    If you are a dahlia grower and love dahlias, this pencil is like a gold mine! When you dig up your dahlia tubers to store them for the winter, as you clean up the tubers and divide them, of course you want to label each tuber for future identity, especially for the day when you replant them or give/sell them to other people. If you slightly dampen the Noblot tip, you can write on each dahlia tuber, then let air dry for a few minutes and what you have written is PERMANENT. It is impossible for the ink to be marred by water or soil. It is the ONLY pen/pencil that is ideal for this purpose. You can find this pencil at finer art supply stores or at places like Amazon.

  8. I thought I’d better do some goggling to see what the dahlia society says about these pencils so that you have more than just my lonely opinion. To clarify my earlier post, a freshly cleaned dahlia tuber (still damp but not wet) works best with the NoBlot. I tried pencils, pens, permanent markers … they were all trouble and frustrating when your fingers are cold from cleaning dahlia tubers in cool (wet) fall weather (not to mention that you are also dirty and tired from the digging and cleaning). But the NoBlot works like a charm.

    The following is from the website:

    “The “Bottle of Ink in a Pencil” brand indelible pencil works well if the tuber is a little wet. Have a small container of water nearby to wet the pencil. Some commercial growers sell “Bottle of Ink in a Pencil.” One indelible pencil should mark tubers from more than 100 clumps. Since indelible pencils are toxic, never put the tip into the mouth.”

    “The easiest method to mark tubers is to write the name of the variety. For long names, one can use a code — but DO NOT LOSE THE CODE! Some commercial growers write or stamp a number for each variety. In addition, indicate some way (such as with *) any especially good tuber (such as one to use to take cuttings next season).”

    “After cutting, dipping, and marking the tubers, let them dry. Expect to let the tubers dry for about 24 hours for small roots and 24 to 36 hours for medium to large roots. Drying time varies depending on temperature and humidity. Do not dry the divisions on cement, because cement tends to draw out water and promote shriveling.”

    “Anyone unsuccessful in working with an indelible pencil can still use a thin indelible marker to name the tubers once they have dried. The problem is that these markers do not always write well on tubers. Be certain to have several fresh markers and rotate them. Some nursery catalogs sell nursery markers, and office supply or drug stores sell less expensive (and sometimes less reliable) markers. Indelible pens work only on completely dry tubers. When a tuber is wet, the ink spreads and whatever one writes becomes unreadable.”

  9. Karen, thanks for your detailed comments. A quick search shows Home & Garden television – and many more, recommending these pencils. I’m sure many of us were unaware of this use.

    Though I’ve never seen one, there is a Lyra Gardener’s Pen (which is a pencil), around the middle of the linked catalogue page, described as a “gardener’s pencil, water resistant, 3,7 mm lead”. Perhaps it is just a green indelible pencil?

  10. Hello PencilAdmin,

    Thank you for your reply. I looked at the Lyra Gardener’s Pencil at the link you provided. Those types of pencils are used for printing information on metal plant labels because regular pencil does not show up or last very long on the zinc nameplate. Personally, I use a different brand, unfortunately there is no name on the pencils I use, which I buy mailorder from Lee Valley Tools. They are not easy to find at other plant places and they are not cheap but they work wonderfully on the zinc nameplate.

  11. I am a former tattoo artist and heres what id use them for
    i would trace a design with the pencil. Shave the area of skin they wnated tattooed. Apply speedstick then take the tracing and lay it on the speedstick
    wait for a few seoonds they remove and vola, the tracing has now xfered over to the skin.

  12. This pencil is used to copy a drawing onto your skin. works nice if you print the picture after working with it in photoshop then trace the pic with the pencil. Then you cna either apply the speedstick like the person before me said or you can use a spray bottle of water to mist the skin and transfer. Either way it will make a nice transfer onto your skin and you can use a nice fine lined nontoxic pen like an iodine pen to trace blank spots while it is on the skin.

    This is mainly used for outlining and not intended to be a detailed peice of art. That is up to the tattoo artist to add shading and so forth.

    I got one for free with a order I made to superior tattoo equipment and I actually like it a lot. I can make nice designes with very little work. But of course stencil transfer can be done with printer paper washable markers and water to get the same effect.

  13. I use this pencil to draw on paper and wood panels. I then heat it a bit with a heat gun, the pencil turns a great blue that does not bleed.

  14. I use these pencils in my dental laboratory, and hand them out to all my dental offices. You can write names/dates on plaster and stone models. A regular pencil will wear off, but these leave a permanent mark, even when the models are wet. They are a lifesaver to me, when markings mean positive ID for cases coming through the lab.

  15. I got some great info. about pencils,but most of them are not available in my city.I want to ask tinkerbelly that what pencil do he use in dental laboratory to write name ect?

    *can it be used on the skin for coping anything on skin for tatooing?
    *whats will be the lasting time if use it on skin ?
    iam awaiting for your reply anxiously . :)

  16. I’m sorry for the delay-I’m not on this page often. I use the Sanford No-Blot ink pencil. You can write or draw on the stone or plaster models dry, and if they become wet during processing, the names, due dates, and specs will still be visible unless you actually scrape it off with a knife. I happen to know that you can use it on the skin as a credible fake tatoo–I’ve done it for my grandchildren. It stays on several days, but can be removed with baby oil and a little patience.

  17. Is this pencil still available? Where can I buy it? I’m in Canada, and have been searching for this forever. Some links would be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance

  18. Hi all We
    I use this pencil in construction for laying out walls. just lay out were the wall goes mark it with the noblot ink pencil spray it with a little water and let it dry. Mark is there forever. Make sure you do not mark anything that will be exposed.

  19. I use them in my hobby of WW2 reeinacting as a police office, the copy transfer works if
    you use pure alcohol, write on one sheet, place over another, wipe the back with alcohol
    (available from Home depot ect.) and the bleed thru is almost immediate, place in letter press for a few minutes, the paper dries without wrinkle, softer leads work faster and better

  20. I use these for tattooing, draw your design on a piece of tracing paper, use speed stick regular deodorant on the site you wanna put the drawing, press hard and BAM your stencil. you can find them at under stencil making! I love this pencil!Or you can use water.

  21. I have been seaching for the Sanford SAN14430 NOBLOT Ink Pencil and have been told it has been discontinued. Does anyone know if there are any available? What is the difference between the SAN14430 and SAN14420? I think the second one is still available.

  22. Sad to hear that this is discontinued. I’m surprised that it lasted as long as it did—longer than the Blackwing. This was probably the last existing pencil from the great classic Eberhard Faber American lines (though the Mongol continues in Latin America and elsewhere). What an innovative company that was—just think of the Noblot, the Blackwing, the Microtomic, the Van Dyke, and of course the Mongol. What a legacy Sanford has squandered and destroyed. I do hear that Eberhard Faber Europe is having a kind of comeback in Germany. They have their own version of the Van Dyke as well as some nice “ruler” pencils. Faber Castell has recently bought back the rights to European E-F and apparently will revive the old lines, but alas only the European ones, not those that were created in the USA. (The history of the split is complicated.)

  23. Hi Guys! I need some help. How can I get a few pieces of this pencil?
    I use it to mark foods before packing. Thanks

  24. hi guys!!i need some help… i’ve been looking for this Noblot ink pencil… where can i find it? thanks

  25. Call the company and tell them we want them back! I called last week. The more calls they get the better.

  26. I am the owner of a prosthetic facility and a certified prosthetist. We use this pencil for mapping bony prominences over a damp cotton sock or nylon sock before wrapping a residual limb with plaster bandage to get a mold/impression of the limb. This pencil transfers great to the plaster. It then transfers great again as we cast this mold with #1 moulding plaster to get a model of the limb. When we are ready to begin modifying the plaster model we have our original land marks to help guide us…the marks made at the time of taking the impression over the actual limb. This is a great pencil for marking plaster and it stays legible for years. Feel free to share any ideas you may have that I should consider for this type of use. Thanks Chris

  27. I am a metal fabricator. I was told by an old, smart,mentor guy. That these ink pencils were developed during WWII to mark aluminum aircraft panels on bend lines because a typical graphite/lead pencil will eventually corrode aluminum causing a stress fracture. I worked in Auto racing and used them all the time and have a few new one’s left. I guess I better hang on to them as they appear to unavailable now.

  28. I just got a box from a second hand store with 4 of these pencils in them. I was not sure what they were for so through my yahoo searching i came upon this site. Interesting to say the least.

  29. We use these noblot pencils to layout stainless steel. We draw lines on the metal to show us where to break and shear the metal and they won’t rub off.

  30. I have only two on these pencils left and am looking for more . I use it all the time . They work well on a watercolor board . Usually, I make a loose sketch with it . Then , I apply a light wash and let it dry . Last , I add color here and there with color pencils , crayons , and/or markers . Sometimes , I add wording around the perimeter of the board . Framed , they are so beautiful , I have a hard time parting with them .

  31. At the risk of self-promotion on Stephen’s excellent blog, we’ll be running a review of the Pencil Things indelible pencil soon. It’s NICE!

  32. I have a limited number of noblot 705 ink in a pencil. I sell them for $15 each. if anyone is interested please reply back.

  33. michaelk, i would be interested in buyig any/all of the noblot’s that you have. thanks

  34. I have 11 of these left and would be interested in trading for pencils that I do not have. Let me know what you have available and we can talk.
    I need another vintage Blackwing 602 and I have yet to get any of the new Blackwing 602’s.

  35. I came across a vintage full box of these pencils just a month ago at a local flea market. I also bought 2 full boxes of Dixon No. 2074 Intense copying pencils, an Othello No. 25 box which contained a mix of copy pencils , with a couple of the Othello Purple pencils, Venus pencils and something called ” Heyer Quality Hektograph pencils”.

    At first, I didn’t really know what these were for and I had to do some research online. I though perhaps I would use them like watercolor pencils or inktense pencils. However, some of the info stated that the materials were toxic and that extra care needed to be taken when using them, and especially when sharpening them. I’m still not sure what I plan to do with them. The Noblot is not as bold as the Dixon and Othello pencils.

  36. These pencils were used in the construction industry because of their marking ability on concrete,brick, tile etc. I use to be a sheet metal worker and always had a couple Noblot pencils to mark sheet metal products. Gutter, downspouts, flashing. Any metal product. Great pencils.

  37. I use these for tattoo stenciling, last order they were still readily available. Superior Tattoo sells these for $1.75 each, I ordered and received a couple a few weeks ago and they are still listed on their website: Retail on these pencils is less than $2 ea., beware of ripoffs like the poster, michaelk, offering them for $15 ea.

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