Palomino Blackwing pencil

Palomino Blackwing pencil

In July 2009, pencil aficionado extraordinaire Adair commented at this blog, “I wish that the visionary leader at Palomino would buy the rights to the Blackwing and come out with a contemporary version of it.”

Out of curiosity, I took a look at the US Patent and Trademark website, and saw that CalCeder had applied to register the expired Blackwing trademark. I replied: “Sanford has let the Blackwing trademark expire (it was registered by Eberhard Faber in 1934) – and CalCedar has applied for the name – though they don’t yet have the registration. There may in fact soon be a CalCedar Blackwing!”

Palomino Blackwing pencil

The cat was out of the bag. A subsequent email conversation with CalCedar revealed that this observation regarding the trademark was correct, and that it had become an idea in motion, with CalCedar contemplating the release of a new Blackwing!

For those not familiar with CalCedar, they are a major firm in the pencil industry infrastructure, harvesting cedar logs in California and Oregon, and processing the logs into pencil slats at their factory in Tianjin, China. They also process and sell Basswood slats.

Palomino Blackwing pencil

The Blackwing, if you are reading this post, may need even less introduction. Please see pencil talk‘s review, and especially, the amazing Blackwing Pages. I appreciate some recent links to the pencil talk review, particularly from Mark Frauenfelder at BoingBoing and Jenny Larew at The Blackwing Diaries. I especially appreciate Jenny’s link as her November 2005 post on the origin of her blog’s title (and I’ll note, that was the same month I started this blog) was, along with Henry Petroski’s The Pencil and a 2002 Boston Globe article, one of the major sources of fuel for the ongoing excitement over this pencil.

Fast forward to the present, and we have CalCedar announcing the release of a pre-production pencil to a limited audience, with reactions solicited.

Palomino Blackwing pencil

(Let me step aside from the review and say congratulations. Well done, Charles and company! Introducing a pencil in 2010 can not be easy, and we wish you well!)

There are always challenges with remakes, tributes, and reinterpretations. Did you see the recent US version of The Prisoner? Have you ever heard a bad tribute band? We hope this pencil will be a moment of triumph rather than a parody.

In many tests that I’ve participated in – alpha, beta, and undesignated – of various “hi-tech” products, the tester typically has a good idea of the product’s aims/goals/features, and possibly even support materials such as manuals, detailed specifications, and release notes regarding the object of testing.

Here, all we know is that the pencil is “pre-production”. So what does that mean? Unfortunately, not much.

My approach is to take two courses of evaluation – first, evaluate this pencil in comparison to the original, and second, to consider it as an evolved or next generation Blackwing. Both goals may have merit, though I doubt whether it would be possible to satisfactorily recreate a long defunct pencil. Equipment, wood sources, graphite core sources, paints, lacquers, glues and other materials have all changed over time. Paper as well. Further, I don’t think CalCedar has purchased any intellectual property such as formulae or machine specifications from Sanford.

Palomino Blackwing pencil

I’ll also speculate, partly based on a questionnaire that accompanied the samples, that the pencil is basically finished, with only the exterior – final paint choices, packaging, and pricing – to be determined.

I’m also curious about the real magnitude of the Blackwing appeal. As regularly noted, the pencil failed in 1998. Word processing and software animation programs were already dominant then. In 2010, what will be the audience?

So on with the review!


While a sample original pencil weighed 5.3 grams, a new one is 6.5 grams. Hold on! This is a major surprise! This sample of one may not mean that much, as the wood in pencils can vary from specimen to specimen. Yet at about 20% heavier – I am wondering about what’s going on.

Palomino Blackwing pencil

The size of the pencil is perhaps even more of a surprise – while the overall trend is for pencils to get narrower (cost savings from getting more pencils per slat), the new pencil is wider than the original! Just slightly – 7.25mm vs. 6.85mm measured side to opposite side – yet how interesting! It bodes well for the Palomino Blackwing to assume more traditional pencil proportions.



The paint is matte black, rather like high end pencils from Pentel, Ohto, and Kita-Boshi. That is nice enough for aficionados, though I am worried that it will not succeed in the US market, accustomed to gloss finishes.


The lettering is in gold, and simply shows the Palomino logo with the words “Palomino” and “Blackwing”. “Palomino” is in the style of the Palomino pencil, while “Blackwing” seems derived from the original. See the review at Orange Crate Art for a great discussion of the design, as well as the pencil as a whole.

Palomino Blackwing pencil

There are also gold flecks all over the pencil, even on the opposite side of the pencil from the lettering.

Palomino Blackwing pencil

This is the one aspect of this “pre-production” pencil that seems completely unacceptable for a product that aims to be in the top echelon. It looks like an amateur effort, and is poorly executed. Whether the aim is retro or modern, CalCedar need to engage the services of a professional graphic designer and employ the highest quality production techniques. (I’m sure some people reading this post would be capable!) Take a look at some of the designs coming from Faber-Castell or the top Japanese firms. The Blackwing needs to be in this company.

What may be equally important to some is that the original slogan, “Half the Pressure, Twice the Speed”, is absent.


The unique ferrule was part of the original’s essence, and is recreated in the new version. The newer version has a shinier surface, less of the bronze hue, and doesn’t show the crimp points of the original – i.e. it must be affixed by a continuous clamp process.

Palomino Blackwing pencil


Palomino Blackwing pencil

The eraser is white. Huh? Okay, this suggests that the pencil is the “Blackwing 2” rather than the “Blackwing 603”. Either could be fine, but the design needs to be clear. A modern vinyl eraser is a great idea, but the white/black/gold combination seems a bit off – how about a black eraser? I cut a trial piece to test:

Palomino Blackwing pencil

What do you think?



The Palomino Blackwing lays down an exceptionally dark line. The challenge of pencil making is that as the graphite to clay ratio increases, the stability decreases. A 10B pencil, beautiful as the marks are, is extremely soft and decomposes quickly.

Apart from quick wear in a general sense, a specific issue with darker leads is crumbling. This is basic reason the regular Palomino isn’t considered to be as good as the top two Japanese pencils – the Palomino crumbles much more than the Hi-Uni and Mono 100.


Just as light bulbs emit heat as well as light, pencils emit luminescent, shiny markings apart from their dark markings.

On Strathmore 400 Series 218gsm black paper, I can’t say that I discerned any difference versus other pencils. Not that they didn’t exist, but if so, the difference was in degrees rather than magnitudes.


I have described the original Blackwing as beyond smooth, veering into being “slippery”. The Palomino Blackwing is less so. For me, that is fine and good. But I’m wondering if those hoping for a recreation of the original will be disappointed. It is still plenty smooth, the best in the business.

Keeping a point (wear)

Pencil aficionado Robert (of Taiwan), who has made many online contributions here and elsewhere, and who has sent me some very nice pencils including the Ohto 9000, has mentioned this aspect of pencils a few times.

Alas, an acute point does easily snap after being sharpened, and the point does rapidly wear down with use. This is a core aspect of the pencil that I doubt will change. If this is the premiere evaluation criterium for anyone, pencils from Faber-Castell, Tombow, or others may better suited.


On a fantastic white coated paper like Clairefontaine, the Palomino Blackwing is a smear monster! Seriously, it exemplifies what some people hate about pencils in a way I’ve rarely witnesed. The marks become like finger paint. I don’t know why, but presumably something in the formula repels something in the Clairefontaine paper’s coating.

Palomino Blackwing pencil

That is too bad, as I love using the great products from Clairefontaine and Rhodia with pencil. This result won’t stop me, but I’ll be more cautious.

On more fibrous paper. there is again some smearning, but at a more acceptable level.

Tests on Paper

I’ve tried the Blackwing on newsprint, office copy paper, and on looseleaf Clairefontaine paper, and cream coloured papers in typical Moleskine, Leuchtturm, Canteo, etc. journals.

Palomino Blackwing pencil

Crossword puzzle devotees may enjoy the dark lines of the Blackwing. Office copy paper is tuned for the high speed laser printer, but does well.

On the thicker cream coloured journal papers (Canteo in particular), the line was superb. It was also excellent on other such papers. As noted, coated papers produced more smearing, though the pencil lines still looked excellent. And looseleaf Clairefontaine paper fared a bit better than Clairefontaine journals for reasons unknown.

Basically, the Blackwing works with everything, and especially excels with thicker cream coloured paper.

Writing (Overall)

The Palomino Blackwing is excellent for cursive writing and note taking on many paper types. It is not the best for small mathematical notations or any task requiring a sharp point.

Other considerations


Probably due to being fresh out of a factory, the pencils have a strong paint or chemical aroma. I’ll assume production pencils won’t have this issue.


Cedar typically sharpens well, and the Blackwing Palomino was no exception. CalCedar sent only two pencils, so the testing possibilities are limited here.


Another downside to dark rich lines is that they are harder to erase. There is no exception here. The pencil’s own eraser, and other erasers such as the top tier Pilot Foam only do a so-so job on the Blackwing’s lines.

I’d like to thank CalCedar for the pencil samples.

I said there were two courses of evaluation for this product. After using the prototype, I see the Palomino Blackwing as being too different from the original Eberhard Faber Blackwing 602 in appearance and graphite function to be considered a clone or reissue. Rather, it is a modern interpretation – and a very fine one indeed.

[Update: September 15, 2010]

I feel uncomfortable about having inadvertently misled the readers of this blog about just what was being reviewed in this post.

A statement from CalCedar confirms that these are not “pre-production” pencils at all – they are in every sense “production” pencils that will soon be for sale. As well, we are told that the questionnaire that accompanied the pencils will be used to inform a possible second version of the pencil.

It all makes no sense to me – I believe the same level of enthusiasm would have been shown, and the same amount of publicity garnered if CalCedar had just given reviewers the facts. While I’d like to believe that there was no intent to mislead, it seems absolutely implausible that these coordinated actions were all accidental or mistakes. The situation is so simple that it astounds me that trickery like this was felt necessary.

86 Replies to “Palomino Blackwing pencil”

  1. I’ll better join the choir of satisfied customers then. Shipping service is indeed rather effective. I ordered mine Friday and had them by Monday – and I live in the Kingdom of far far away. I like them – and I don’t need an extender for these, the ferrule acts nicely as one, so no cutting for my part. Blackness and smoothness is fine just like “a lovechild of HI Uni and Palomino” (I like that one). They do wear down fast – after three days with my new toys I was down to the “g” in Blackwing -just below the ferrule. But like someone said: “they wear down so fast that I really feel I get something done” :-)
    regards Henrik

  2. The frequent sharpening must indeed be irksome for many. What I do is sharpen a row of Blackwings and write until the entire row has dulled, then I re-sharpen each one with a Carl Decade, which gives me a little break, a pause to think. I’ve been using these pencils all week—they are great! I really love them.

  3. Janine, you say you got poor customer service just because CalCedar are unable to send you a BlackWing sample? I fail to see how this is bad customer service. At least they answered your inquiry. Bad customer service would be if they ignored your question entirely.

    Maybe they cannot send/sell individual pencils due to cost. After all, it is a specialized pencil.

  4. The new Blackwing is an amazing pencil. I’ve never had a pencil smell this good! Maybe because it is “newly minted”.

    Adair, what kind of Carl Decade sharpener do you use? A manual? Is it better than the Kum 2-stage?

  5. Carl has a few models. This is the “Bungu Ryodo”, which has the same mechanism as the Decade. (I also have a Decade.) I find it to be so superior in every respect to handheld sharpeners that, like Adair, it is my everyday sharpener.

    The price ($20 to $25 depending on exchange rates) is less than some of the metal handheld sharpeners on the market.

  6. I just got mine, and decided to try them out just a little bit.

    First, yep it’s a pretty fragile point, and needs to be dulled a little bit before I can use it without too much worry of breakage.

    It’s very smooth and dark (as one expects from a soft pencil), but not amazingly so. I put it between a Mars Lumograph 4B and a Uni Penmanship 4B on most of my papers in terms of smoothness, darkness, and point durability. I haven’t tried it side-by-side with many other pencils yet.

    Finish and copy are mediocre, but the ferrule seems to be a winner. Wonder if it would play nice with a metal pocket clip.

    Looks *far* better with a black eraser than the white, but the black eraser I used was soft (Pentel Ain Black) and a little too flexible. Works like a champ though when it doesn’t extend out of the ferrule too far, and removes the PBW’s marks better than the stock eraser does, though with less precision (due to aforementioned flexibility). I’ll try out a firmer black eraser later if I can find one.

    Currently not sure what to use it for, since I’m not a sketch artist.

  7. As I mentioned here:
    these pencils have some disadvantages. Mainly the quality of the lacquer and the inscription and the smell of the paint… And I am not comparing them to the old Blackwing602. Just put the PBW aside the California Republic Palomino and see/smell the difference… For such a great wood to be suppressed by some chemical paint smell it is a manufacturer’s failure here no doubt.
    Besides, the PBW is a terrific pencil. Making short notes with it is a pleasure and the line is enormously dark. And it has its distinctive looks. Great job.

  8. Thanks for the sharpener referal.

    I’ve been taking copious notes in a hearing all week, going back and forth with the PBW and Palomino HB. The PBW is much more enjoyable and my most important notations “pop off the page” so much better.

    I’ve always “wanted to prefer using pencil” for this task but opted for pen. Now I have the best of both worlds;the better look (even better than a pen, now) and instant editability [erasure].

  9. I cannot tell you how many colleagues and friends admire my Palomino Blackwings. I have given several away as presents, and few presents from me have ever been so loved and caused so much joy. One recipient wrote to me last night in bold capitals: WOW! A famous Austrian writer, to whom I gave a dozen, was astonished by them and says she will be using the new Blackwing for her writing for years to come.

    I continue to use the PBW on a daily basis. Acustomed to the precious scarcity of the old BW, I have had to force myself to let it get dinged and scratched on the quotidian battlefield. It is a tool, I keep saying to myself, not a collector’s item. I use it for tasks big and small. It is a constant delight. I hope that this pencil never goes out of production.

  10. I decided to take a brief snap of one of mine with its relatively stubby used black eraser. If they were cleaned up a bit, given a bit better printing and finishing, they’d look quite slick. I do not anticipate buying any more of this vintage, but will probably reconsider if by some stroke of luck an improved version is released in the future.

    In the meantime, I will probably try to use these in the same situations I’ve typically used my other dark pencils: Headers and emphasis in penciled text (where in the pen realm I’d use a different color). That means that one or two will go in my pencil wrap, but it likely won’t be used every day. My EDC pencil remains this little battered fellow:

  11. Hi Gunther! Thanks for the compliment. I have done some photography, but it’s not part of my current line of work. The pencil snaps I share here are not unlike those posted by other bloggers…they’re done pretty simply with a single light source (desktop lamp with a crappy CFL bulb; no fill light) and a cheap old digital point and shoot. They’re OK for sharing online, but I’m too lazy nowadays to put in the extra time and effort needed for anything of commercial quality (and what would be the benefit of such an endeavor anyway?). Perhaps I’ll at least get on a calibrated monitor and do some color correction next time.

    Thanks again. I’d take more photos if I had more interesting, exotic types of high-end pencils that haven’t already been photographed extensively. :)

  12. Hi Robert! To me, your photos look much better than most of the photos found in other blogs – they are great and in the same league as the ones that can been seen at pencil talk and the Blackwing Pages (to name two with excellent photos). Your equipment may be simple, you know how to see and your editing skills are above average. Keep on doing that – I am sure that also non-exotic types of pencils benefit from being put in the limelight by you :-)

  13. 1. The Palomino BW is identical in feel to the Blue and Orange Palomino. You are merely paying a premium for the bloated eraser.

    2. The lead seems about the same as an Orange Palomino B or 2B. That’s way too soft for a “working” pencil.

    3. “Do these stripes make me look fat?” the additional gold band only makes the already oversize ferrule look fat.

    4 The printing on the Palomino BW vs. Original BW… “Palomino” is too large, the name “Blackwing” does not stand out sufficiently.

    5. You may argue that the Palomino BW’s stark look is fashionable and modern. Call me old fashioned or retro, but I prefer the busy look of all the printing on the Original BW. Both the mfg. information and the slogan. Please. put in a slogan, but not necessarily the original. How about calling this the Blackwing model 10? This represents the year introduced. (How do you think the AK-47 got its name?)

  14. @Dumpster. I do not agree to 1 & 2. IMHO is the feel of a pencil a very individual matter. It often depends on various things like: writing style, paper used and which letterforms you use (i.e. printed or cursive). I feel a distinct difference from B or 2B Palomino – maybe not as much in the looks of the text I’ve written, but in the “feel of writing”. I write joined letters and very light (The way people were taught to write when the 602 was developed, I think) – to me a working pencil is exactly B or 2B in most brands – so I feel the PBW as a progress for my writing style.

    Re. the looks – It is a piece of “Nostalgia Americana” – we don’t need a pencil to be designed that way anymore. Anyway, I think it looks great, as it is not supposed to be a replica – just a tribute.
    Regards Henrik

  15. I agree with Henrik on 1 and 2. The feel to me is quite different from the regular Palominos. The PBW lead is even smoother and darker.

    As for looks, I wouldn’t have minded a closer reproduction of the original, and the printing does need some small improvements, but on the whole, I find it a very good-looking pencil. Most importantly, it does the job! (It is for me most definitely a working pencil—a daily user.)

  16. Ordered a box yesterday. I was a fan of the 602 – and am a fan of the Palomino 2B – particularly for score writing. There is another pencil (very economical and wonderful) that I am currently enamored of – having now made my way through 60 or so – but don’t care to mention – as it will surely disappear in a poof of smoke the moment I do! ;-) Regardless, I am VERY much looking forward to trying the new PBW – especially to see how its performance stacks up to my current favorite working tool – especially with respect to price point.
    As sacred as the 602 was to some (though not me), the undertaking of reviving the revered pencil was a bold one – hats off! I have a feeling that some who may be put off by the PBW because it isn’t an exact replica – will come around to eventually like this pencil – much as the Brady boys did Florence Henderson -( I can almost hear the PBW softly uttering – ” Your pencil was a wonderful pencil, and I would never think nor try to replace her in your heart – but perhaps in time, you’ll learn to love me.” Sorry for the sappy analogy – but seriously, how long are folks going to stalk ebay for a $40 pencil when there are decent replacements out there? – Cheers!

  17. Sorry, I’m a little late, but how and where can we order these? I can’t find them for sale by california republic on ebay, nor are they at Are they already sold out?

    Thank you!

  18. I’m sorry, I just found run by CalCedar I presume. I’ll order there. Sorry about that.

  19. I got my order of Blackwings a while back, and I’ve been using them pretty solidly since then — mainly for writing on a yellow pad or notes at work. I can’t decide whether I love them or not — they are very smooth, but they wear down far too fast. (Speaking of smoothness, I notice that they only really get smooth after they’ve been sharpened a second time — perhaps something to do with the exposed end of the core coming in contact with air?) I didn’t manage to replicate the smudging issue on Rhodia or Clairefontaine paper, but didn’t try it on more than a couple of sheets from three different pads. I did notice that they smudge quite a bit in closed notebooks, where the pages rub together.

    The pencil is nice-looking, but I’d prefer something closer to the original; I’ve never seen one in the flesh, but the photos I’ve seen just make me think it looks a lot better. The eraser I found extremely disappointing: flaky, and not fantastic at erasing even lighter pencils. I find Pentel or Mitsubishi block erasers do a much better job than the attached one. I do absolutely love the idea of the clamp-and-ferrule eraser, and if it had a better eraser inside, it would be perfect. (Also, on eraser colour: the Tombow 2558 has a pink vinyl eraser that is excellent, so there’s no reason that production run two of the PBW couldn’t have a pink eraser.)

    Overall, I like it, and I imagine I’ll continue to use it quite solidly. Eventually I’ll make up my mind as to whether I love them or not. What I would really love to see, though, is a revival of the Microtomic brand, using the same ferrule, but in harder grades — something akin to a European (Faber–Castell or Staedtler) HB or F. That truly would be my perfect pencil.

  20. The ferrules can be kinda fun to use for projects, but then again it’s a little bit of a hassle getting a nice fit without a lathe. Sean over at Blackwing Pages was one of the first to start doing ferrule/eraser swaps with other pencils like the Palomino. I joined in myself recently by popping a few PBW ferrules onto other pencils. They look decent on a Tombow (Mono J or R in particular), and not bad at all on a Castell 9000, but my favorite two recipients for the donor ferrules so far are the Mitsubishi 9800 and the Ito-ya Romeo No.3. I posted a picture of those here:

    Too bad I don’t really want to pay $20 for a dozen ferrules.

  21. A lot of you have probably already seen it, but Woodchuck has a new post up about future plans for the Blackwing. The best part is that they seem to have taken onboard feedback regarding the new Blackwing, and are launching a “Blackwing Classic”:

    The “602 Classic” will revive a replica styling of the original Blackwing graphite grey finish as shown above complete with the pink eraser and “Half the Pressure, Twice the Speed” slogan. The new pencil will also feature a graphite core that will be closer to our Palomino HB performance providing for improved wear rates for those doing extensive writing.

    I’m quite looking forward to it, and it should rectify most of the issues I had with the original Palomino Blackwing.

  22. Interesting and welcome news. If I were to make a small suggestion to Woodchuck, though, it would be to drop the word “classic,” which in my mind immediately turns use of this tool into something self-consciously nostalgic, “retro.” I want to use this pencil with the same practical naturalness of someone in 1957 buying a dozen Blackwings.

  23. Interesting news on the PBW Classic and slight finishing changes to the original model. I couldn’t find a good application for my PBWs, so I gave most of them to a friend who uses them in sudoku booklets. I look forward to seeing what their classic model turns out like, and what the reception of it will be.

    I also hope someone out there picks up some of the new Palomino 4B and 6B and tests them out.

    Gunther: does Faber-Castell do any high-end niche graphite pencils outside the GvFC line? Have they revived other nostalgic 20th-century niche products? I’m not deeply familiar with FC’s product lineup or market planning, but the impression I get from what I have seen is that their brand identity doesn’t really include the sort of cult nostalgia today that would be needed to really deliver a product like a reincarnated Blackwing.

  24. Robert, you are right. Even their 250th anniversary hasn’t brought a nostalgic product yet, and when I look at items like the 9,000 Euro pencil, the platinised cufflinks and the accessories made from calf leather I don’t think we will see one soon – it just won’t fit into their range. To me, this is a pity; they could draw from a vast store of designs, products and specialities.

  25. Gunther: I think F–C probably didn’t really consider reviving the Blackwing due to the low volume of sales that ended the original production run; I imagine even the ~100,000 Palomino Blackwings produced is below what they would consider an worthwhile production run.

    Adair: I agree with your sentiment. Add to that the fact that “Palomino Blackwing 602 Classic” is an awful mouthful — I would personally just have called it the California Cedar Blackwing 602, with “California Cedar” in smaller text over two lines as “Eberhard Faber” was on the original.

    Robert: I ended up doing the same, only my friend draws with them rather than playing Sudoku. I’ve still six of the two dozen I originally bought, with only four of them having been anything like extensively used — the rest were gifted to friends. Hopefully, the “Classic” will be a more usable day-to-day pencil than the original PBW. If not, I’ve always got my Tombow Mono 100s or Mars Lumographs, both of which are wonderful writers.

  26. Hi everyone. It looks like Woodchuck and the California Republic folks have decided to drop the word “Classic” from the new version, and will be calling it the Palomino Blackwing 602. The erasers are going to be black on the new one, but pink replacements will be available (for purchase). I wonder how much longer wearing the core will be in this next version? I love the way that the PBW classic will occasionally lay down a mark so black that it almost makes you stop writing out of appreciation, but the point gets very wide very quickly with my writing style, so it’s problematic to use if I’m trying to write smaller size text.

  27. Hi everyone,

    I am just getting into the pencil aficionado scene and purchased my first set of Palomino Blackwing’s from and cannot wait for them to arrive! I’ve tried about every pencil that can be “store bought” and have yet to really settle on a pencil because none have really impressed me. In addition to the Blackwing’s I also purchased some HB’s and B’s from Palomino as I’ve heard nothing really bad about the pencils themselves. However, this review has me a bit distraught, there is mention in the writeup of smearing if written in a notebook or the like which is unacceptable as I’m a student and notebooks are my primary medium. How accurate is this statement? Are the Blackwing’s really that soft?

    Also, could someone recommend other pencils that I should try? I would be using these pencils primarily for writing.

    Finally, is there any mention of a release date for the Palomino BW 602’s?



  28. Hi Andrew, Palomino Blackwings are super dark and super smooth, but they do give up a bit of fastness of lead, and they do require somewhat frequent sharpening. I think you’ll have a good time with the regular Palomino HBs (check out the finish on those things — wow!). Woodchuck from Cal Cedar has posted on his blog that his favorite pencil for “extensive writing and note taking in graphite pencil” is the Palomino H.

  29. Andrew, the PBWs aren’t really ideal for any kind of long-form writing, especially if you use flexible notebooks. They certainly aren’t ideal if you have small handwriting and require a keen point most of the time. The Palomino HBs are good regular writers, though they do run a bit soft, and don’t have amazing point retention.

    I personally would like to enjoy softer pencils for writing more often, but they just don’t work out in the long run for me. Smears too easily, transfers between pages too readily, wears down too quickly, breaks too easily. The softness makes a great first impression because it feels pretty nice on the paper, but the disadvantages rear their heads pretty quickly when writing anything more than a quick note.

  30. Hello,

    The last picture appearing in the blog entry on the Blackwing features two different journals. I’m very curious to know more about the larger, cream-colored, “squared” journal in the picture. Can you please provide the manufacturer’s name?

    Thank you.

  31. Hello Pencil Experts! I need help finding a pencil which will work well on fine paper…the type in a bible. I need to make notes in small areas…writing with small lettering. I want these notes to be dark, but still erasable and non-smudge is a major desire. From what I read on this blog it seems the Palomino Blackwing would not be the right choice. Can anyone give me any advise on what type and brand of pencil I should purchase?

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