Pencil review: BILT matrix

BILT matrix pencil

Name: BILT matrix.

Full name and model no: BILT Matrix Charcoal Black HB2.

Manufacturer: Ballarpur Industries Limited (, incorporated under a previous name in 1945.

Background: Ballarpur’s website says they are India’s largest paper company.

Weight: The pencils in the box I received ranged from 4.2g to 5.2g, averaging 4.6g.

Dimensions: Rounded hexagon with finished cap. 174.5mm in length according to the box.

BILT matrix pencil

Appearance: The pencils are hexagonal and unsharpened. The pencil finish is black, with the edges finished in silver. The text is silver, as well as the cap. The unsharpened ends are clean, with no paint spilling over.

The pencil is marked:

bilt matrix Charcoal Black HB2

Other notes: The pencils have a stated price of 3 Rupees each.

Grip: The pencil has a light gloss and is quite comfortable and easy to hold.

Sharpening: Regular readers know I like Carl sharpeners. But the Carl sharpens everything well, so I tried the matrix in an Eisen handheld plastic sharpener. It felt a bit tough to sharpen, though the result was fine. The wood was unfamiliar to me, probably one of the many species native to India.

Writing: I found the pencil to be surprisingly good. On Rhodia paper, the lead seemed somewhat smooth and very stable and non-crumbling for a budget pencil.

Erasure: With a Pilot Foam eraser, removing lines was no problem. The natural rubber Faber-Castell 7041-20 required just a bit more effort.

BILT matrix pencil

Overall: While I’m not familiar with Ballarpur Industries, I think they’ve produced a fine product in the matrix pencil – the pencil presents well and has attractive packaging, and writes much better than one would expect from a product that is priced at about seven US cents.

I’d like to thank hemmant for kindly sending me these pencils last year, along with some other Indian pencils. They have been a pleasure to discover.

7 Replies to “Pencil review: BILT matrix”

  1. As far as I know Ballarpur does not produce their own pencils and simply markets pencils produced by other manufacturers on an OEM basis. Please double check the information on the package as I have two packs of Bilt Matrix pencils both of which indicate “Imported and Marketed by: Ballarpur Industries Limited”. I know that both my examples were actually produced in China.

    One of these boxes is Charcoal Black product but with a different package design and pencil finish using a yellow trim instead of silver trim on black as your pencils show. The example I have is is made of basswood and my tests indicate that it does not write nearly as dark and smoothly as many other Indian produced pencils which I have. Note the term “charcoal black” is purely a marketing term and these pencils (at least mine) do not use charcoal as the writing medium, but are simply graphite pencils. The Indian market tends to like a darker softer core and thus quite often uses a marketing term to suggest a dark writing core. If yours does not say imported and does write smoother and black then it may be produced by a local Indian OEM producer, but I am certain not by Ballarpur themselves.

    The other Bilt Matrix pencils I have are a natural wood pencil marketed as “cedar”. To the untrained eyeit looks like cedar showing off a similar natural grain but we have determined this is actually produced from a fir tree that grows in China and is not produced from Genuine Incense Cedar.

  2. Hmm, never assume – the box does indeed state, “Imported and Marketed by: Ballarpur Industries Limited”. If it is of interest, it also states, “Product Code: REL1CNEA”.

    Woodchuck, if you are monitoring these comments, would you happen to know what “Cedar-Lite” is?

  3. Dear Reader Friends,

    The observation and opinion of ‘Woodchuck’ is correct and those pencils are manufactured by some OEM manufacturer in China and sold in Indian Market.

    In India, now its time for Exams at Schools and students start buying new pencils. Schools reopens in June-July so all shop owners buy new stock in those days. This makes all stationary related manufacturers to push their product in Indian Market.

    In India, to be frank only 3 companies manufacture good quality pencils with all over India Marketing. Few small companies have small share at local state level and hardly this is 5 to 10% of our national consumption.

    We have some giants in stationary field and they manufacture huge amount of note books and scholastic stationary. Time to time such companies import pencils and market as their own brand!!

    All we know, China and its business strategy, they just want to capture market and they throw pencils at any price..

    I do not understand how those pencils can be sold at such lower price in India? Wood, Lead, Lacquer, Packaging, Local Transportation and Freight and Customs; everything is too expensive!! How it is possible to sale pencil at this price??

    I have checked those pencils, there is nothing like outstanding or excellent. Basswood, Graphite 2B Lead and fancy lacquer!!

    We believe in our vise Indian people, they never encourage such product…

  4. Sorry Stephen I have not been monitoring Pencil Talk comments recently. Harshad, who’s company is a customer of ours purchasing our Genuine California Incense-cedar slats, is absolutely correct regarding “Cedar-Lite”. This is a pencil slat brand introduced by one our competitors based in China a few years back. The wood is Hunan Fir. It has a similar growth ring grain pattern to Incense-cedar and with similar stain treatment to the untrained eye it is passed off as cedar by this producer by using this name.

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