pencil talk 2.0

Hello all,

It has been three years since the ‘Final Post’ at pencil talk.

After announcing the end, I took the blog offline for several reasons. I don’t really like seeing blogs floating around that don’t function as blogs, with no new posts, no commenting, no interaction. The hosting costs seemed to only be going up. And, it just seemed appropriate to turn off the lights after leaving.

I’ve continued to keep in touch with many people interested in pencils, and appreciate the queries from readers. These interactions have been persistent enough that I feel the impact of the blog was quite significant. From the other side, going offline didn’t cause costs to decrease by much. Using a prominent hosting company, everything is metered, and maintaining virtual servers, storage, etc. seemed to cost more than the bandwidth – i.e. there were few savings found by turning the blog off.

The last three years have been an adventure. I’m from Toronto and started the blog there, but lived in nearby Kitchener many of pencil talk’s nine active years. In 2013, I accepted a job offer in the US, and lived in the San Francisco Bay Area until two months ago. I’ve just returned to Canada.

I brought the blog back online for a couple of reasons – I didn’t really want the content to be lost – it lived inside the WordPress database on an operating system too old to get updates – and, at some point, a revival would become unfeasible. But more importantly, the blog isn’t solely mine – discussion with and between readers was one of the things the blog did well, and the many thousands of comments deserved to live on. The blog never reached first place in search engines, but it always seemed the be the place for people to talk about pencils.

This post is about a revival – I want to bring the blog back. I’m still thinking carefully about this. The online landscape has changed. There are a lot more stationery blogs and websites now. Many are decidedly commercial. The three blogs I mentioned in ‘Final Post’ have all continued to thrive, and I’ll note in particular that Contrapuntalism has risen to unprecedented heights – featuring interviews with both the late Count A.W. von Faber-Castell and Eberhard Faber IV that have delighted and amazed me.

I want to carry on the exploration of the art and science of pencils, and hope you’ll join along!


35 Replies to “pencil talk 2.0”

  1. So happy to see this coming back! Pencil Talk was my touchstone as I re-entered the world of wooden pencils as an adult a number of years ago.

  2. Such good news.
    Nice to have the blog available.
    -Good content and good comments.
    Best wishes for the next chapter.

  3. I just came across your revived blog and hope you can help with an urgent request. I am speaking in two days (February 11, 2017)at the funeral of my aunt who died last week at age 86. While going through her scrapbooks, we found a 1955 analysis of her handwriting by Dorothy Sara via Eagle Pencil Company. Searching online, I found your blog of August 4, 2009 ( that includes photos of Sara’s handwriting analysis offer.

    The photo with the headline “HAVE YOUR HANDWRITING ANALYZED” does not show the text on the left and right margins. Can you post or email me the full image? I want to include this at my aunt’s service this Saturday, along with the analysis Sara provided her. Thank you!

  4. Maybe create a Facebook group? It’s easier to build up followers as your articles are readily shared.

    Thanks for the articles. It’s so strange that it is suddenly active again, I just tried the bookmark link today to check!

  5. Walter and Sola, thank you.

    John, I am sorry to hear of the loss of your aunt. Since 2008 I’ve twice moved internationally, and no longer have the computer that was used to edit photos. There may be a backup in storage, but I will not be able to retrieve it in time to assist before the service.

    John Frye, please tell me more. I’m not a user of Facebook, and am wary of having multiple social media presences that become hard to maintain. On the other hand, I do have lots of photos and small pieces of pencil news that don’t merit blog posts that I’ve thought could be shared via another medium.

  6. Stephen, thank you. Also, I can still pull enough info from the image to say something at my aunt’s service.

  7. Stephen, you’re a legend. What is undoubtedly the most erudite commentary on wood-cased pencils is back, and the penciliacs of the world can sigh with relief at its return. Long may the archive remain open and alive!

  8. I occasionally used to visit the site to see if by any chance it’s up again… and that happened today!!
    I am so glad to see this blog up again!!
    Keep up the good work Stephen..!


  9. This is the second pencil blog I ever followed, starting in 2006 right after pencilrevolution. I just popped in because I saw it linked on PR’s blog. Today is a good day. Great to have you back!

  10. Hello… I do very detailed hyper realstic pencil portraits.. I have been out of it for a few years and I am ready to get started back into it… I always used just Berol Mirado 174-1 pencils that I bought thru an office supply store.
    I would purchase them by the cases because I would sometimes use 5-8 dozen per drawing. It seems these are in limited supply these days .only one dozen per customer.. is there any sourse to purchase large quantities of this item.. any and all help would be appreciated..thanks

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