Les crayons de la maison Caran d’Ache, Edition No. 2

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Caran d’Ache has released the second edition of their pencilmaking masterwork. This edition features pencils made from Guyana Palm, Blue Zebrano, American Cedar, and Lati Grey. (That last pencil is a repeat from the first series. Why the double Lati?)

Les crayons de la maison Caran d’Ache, Edition No. 2

Both editions shown together:

Les crayons de la maison Caran d’Ache, Edition No. 2

Les crayons de la maison Caran d’Ache, Edition No. 2

Les crayons de la maison Caran d’Ache, Edition No. 2

The walnut, blue zebrano, and cedar pencils are the ones that catch my eye.

Les crayons de la maison Caran d’Ache, Edition No. 2

Get them while you can. Caran d’Ache says the series is tremendously successful.

See also: Edition No. 1

Les crayons de la maison Caran d’Ache

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One of the most referenced posts at this blog was on a pencil series made from multiple species of wood by the former Colleen Pencil Co. One of the regular subjects of direct queries to the blog, the top question is “Where can I buy a set?” Unfortunately, the pencils were never available for retail sale, and Colleen has been out of business for many years.

The appeal of the pencils has led me to some informal discussions with pencil companies about what would be involved in creating a new set. What I’ve heard is that using alternate species would be technically challenging, and possibly damaging to carefully tuned pencil manufacturing equipment. For a niche product, even an investigation might not be worthwhile.

Yet, one major manufacturer seems to have had a renewed interest in testing their ability to make truly beautiful and amazing pencils from exotic wood species. This year, Caran d’Ache unveiled Les crayons de la maison Caran d’Ache, a series of pencils made from Titanium Oak, Macassar Ebony, Lati Gray, and American Walnut.

Les crayons de la maison Caran d'Ache

A note about the photo – I had already used all four pencils before taking photos, so that isn’t the factory sharpening we see.

Les crayons de la maison Caran d'Ache

If you love beautiful pencils, I cannot imagine that you would not find these amazing. My personal favourite is the Walnut pencil. I enjoyed using it to take notes, and felt quite aware that it has a dual identity – an undeniable luxury, yet still, just a woodcase pencil.

A review at Lexikaliker pointed out some technical shortcomings such as off-centred lead. I didn’t observe this in my pencils, and in any case I believe the achievement in creating an Oak or Walnut pencil is such that I’ll forgive small flaws.

L. to R.: Ebony, Lati, Walnut, Oak
Les crayons de la maison Caran d'Ache

Les crayons de la maison Caran d'Ache

Yes, I have sharpened one (so far), the Macassar Ebony, using a handheld M+R:

Les crayons de la maison Caran d'Ache

Highly recommended for all pencil aficionados.

Caran d’Ache Pencil Sharpening Machine

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An icon of the pencil world not yet featured by this blog is the Caran d’Ache Pencil Sharpening Machine. A sturdy all metal desktop sharpener, the product has been in production for eighty years. In honour of that anniversary, Caran d’Ache issued a limited edition of 1933 in a matte black finish.

Caran d'Ache Pencil Sharpening Machine

It’s a beauty.

Some of the packaging:

Caran d'Ache Pencil Sharpening Machine Caran d'Ache Pencil Sharpening Machine
Caran d'Ache Pencil Sharpening Machine Caran d'Ache Pencil Sharpening Machine

Inserts and accessories:

Caran d'Ache Pencil Sharpening Machine Caran d'Ache Pencil Sharpening Machine
Caran d'Ache Pencil Sharpening Machine Caran d'Ache Pencil Sharpening Machine

Compared to other desktop sharpeners, the function is very simple.

Caran d'Ache Pencil Sharpening Machine

A drawer for the shavings.

Caran d'Ache Pencil Sharpening Machine

Caran d'Ache Pencil Sharpening Machine

Caran d'Ache Pencil Sharpening Machine

Three jaws.

Caran d'Ache Pencil Sharpening Machine

A Tombow Mono 100 was chosen to be the first test subject.

Caran d'Ache Pencil Sharpening Machine

Caran d'Ache Pencil Sharpening Machine

Caran d'Ache Pencil Sharpening Machine

Caran d'Ache Pencil Sharpening Machine

The results are surprising and practical – a blunt point and an overall shape similar to what a handheld sharpener would deliver.

Red and Blue pencils from Berol México, Caran d’Ache, and Linex

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Today we examine a trio of red and blue pencils from around the globe.

red and blue pencils

From Berol México we have the Escolar. A part of the global Sanford empire, Berol México continues to use historically important pen and pencil brand names such as Blaisdell and Esterbrook.

Sanford products from México can be found at some small independent art supply stores in Canada. The appearance of these products suggests that they have been in a dusty corner of a warehouse for some years. But I have no specific information.

This particular pencil is hexagonal and unsharpened, with the sides alternately painted red and blue. The stamping of the name may be on either a red or blue side.

red and blue pencils
L to R: CPD 100, Bicolor 999, Escolar

From Caran d’Ache is the Bicolor 999. Unlike many better known Caran d’Ache products, this pencil doesn’t appear to be widely exported from Switzerland.

The pencil bears the FSC logo, and is hexagonal and pre-sharpened at both ends. The red end has a removable plastic cover embellished with a bar code.

red and blue pencils

Lastly, the Danish brand Linex (though the products don’t claim to be made in Denmark) offers the CPD 100.

The CPD 100 is an oversized triangular pencil, with the red end sharpened. A set of ten comes in a plastic wallet.

red and blue pencils

Trying them on paper, the Escolar does surprising well for a student pencil. It sharpens easily, the “red” is fairly red, the point doesn’t break under pressure.

The Bicolor 999 is a delight. Both ends leave truly smooth and rich lines. The “red” is slightly on the orange side. I want to keep using it. It is one of those pencils that demonstrates the merits of making and using quality pencils.

red and blue pencils

The CPD 100 is the disappointment of the three. The “red” is more on the pink side. The sharpening was tough, and the leads a bit on the scratchy side. It isn’t a terrible pencil, but there are better choices available.

Caran d’Ache Jass chalk pencil

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Caran d'Ache Jass chalk pencil

Here is an unusual pencil that I know little about. An oversized woodcased chalk pencil, the Jass allows for a lot more precision than a typical stick of chalk.

On slate:
Caran d'Ache Jass chalk pencil

Caran d'Ache Jass chalk pencil

On a chalkboard:
Caran d'Ache Jass chalk pencil

See Bleistift for a nice article on writing with chalk and slate (and variants).

Are there any teachers out there who might recall using chalk pencils?

Caran d’Ache Technalo 779 water soluble pencil

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These are not pencils for writing memoirs or taking scientific notes. Made by Caran d’Ache, the graphite core is water soluble. Like watercolour paint, the graphite dissolves when wet, becoming another type of medium, while remaining graphite.

The pencils, in HB, B, and 3B, have the bar code attached to a removable plastic piece:

Caran d'Ache Technalo 779

The pencil is exceptional in appearance, with a beautiful and simple gold imprint on a matte black background. An easy sharpening cedar pencil, it really has the feel of a quality art supply.

Caran d'Ache Technalo 779

The brush icon indicates that this is a water soluble pencil:

Caran d'Ache Technalo 779

The cap is glossy:

Caran d'Ache Technalo 779

I am not an artist! But even as a backyard doodler, I can see that these pencils are both capable and fun. Going over a drawing with a fine brush dipped in water unleashes nuances and shading capabilities that would be challenging to achieve with regular pencils. Or at least for me they would be!

Caran d'Ache Technalo 779

Maybe you have tried them, or a similar product?