Comments and Questions

A page for comments, queries, and questions that aren’t in response to a particular post.

308 Replies to “Comments and Questions”

  1. OK this might be a childish request so please bare with me. In 1975-76 I was 12 years old. I had a friend whos family owned a small dime store. In their store they sold the coolest pencils as a kid I had ever seen. The pencil itself was regular in size however the eraser was 2X larger than usual. They also had a picture of Micky Mouse printed on them up by the eraser. I was so envious of my friend, Jackie for being able to use such a cool pencil. Back then they cost $.18 each. I couldn’t afford them. I never asked for one for free. I would love to find them now. Have any of you seen them? Know if they are available anywhere? I am sorry if this is the wrong venue to ask such a question.

  2. For the last 25+ years I have faithfully carried in my pocket a retractable mechanical pencil I have not been able to find for some years. My first ones were made by Staedtler, later ones by Stabilo, and the latest ones (from a decade ago) marked Y&C GRIP 500. They were made with red or black barrels and the tip fully retracted into the barrel by pressing the clip. I have a small number for backup/parts, but would like to get some more since mine are wearing out. I’ve never seen much info on them and they’re unlike any others I’ve seen.

  3. Hi Judy, your question is more than fine. I hope someone can help you. A manufacturer’s name, or drawing or photo might help stir someone’s memory.

    Jerome, older Staedtler and Stabilo pencils might be findable if you know the exact product name and model number.

    A quick search tells me that “Y&C GRIP 500” is a reference to Yasutomo. I was not aware of such a company. It looks like they make a Grip 250 in 0.5mm and 0.7mm, and sell them via their online shop for $US2.60 plus shipping. Here is a photo of an older version. If you want an original, try asking Jeremy at Pencils 11. I’ll bet he has one or knows where to find one.

  4. Hello and Season’s Greetings!

    While cleaning out my basement, I came across a pencil with the name Yikes! on the side. The wood casing is tinted yellow, and it is coated in an orange gloss. It leave a crisp, sharp mark and I prefer it to the other common brand pencils I own. Problem is, I only have one of these pencils and I’d like to have more of them. My preliminary research tells me that the manufacturer went out of business in the ’90’s. Would anyone familiar with this brand be able to recommend a similar lead?

    Thank you!

  5. It looks like the Pentech wood pencil brand may be history. Jakks Pacific Inc. bought Pentech back in 2000. I used to see oddball pencils from them (triangular, re-cycled plastic bag pencils, etc.) but Amazon doesn’t show stock of most of the wood pencils. As is was, it was all import related. The old Pentech was gone by 2000, which included the shutdown of a wood pencil division.
    Hang in there General Pencil and Musgrave.

  6. I’ve been looking for a set of Pen, mechanical pencil, mini-ruler, mini-scissor and a highlighter, all packed in a very flat plastic case made by Mitsubishi Pencil. The model was COMPO/GP. I received it as a gift from a friend of mine back in 1991!! The tiny compact case is perfect when traveling. I haven’t been able to find any information online. Does anyone know if there are newer models of this Set??

  7. I can’t seem to find anything on this wonderful site that talks about the grimy old hand cranked planetary cutter sharpener. Can we have three cheers for an old single sized Berol Apsco Chicago sharpener? I have one that sat unused in my household for 20+ years while I used another unit. It sharpens so nice that it looks like someone polished the pencil to a needle-like tip!

  8. Hi~I have a wooden hinged box with an etched design on top..a horse and rider…and the words “blackfeet Indian” I am assuming it is an old pencil box? I’ve had it at least 25 years. Is it worth anything?

  9. hi,

    my question might sound silly, but i really would like to know if pencil is a commodity? also who would be the target market segment for this.

    thank you

  10. Having already left comments in several categories, I feel I have been remiss for not saying just how much I enjoy and appreciate this site. It is an especially welcome resource considering that I am an artist who has chosen to work in graphite pencil exclusively. Finding people who share my enthusiasm for all things pencil is very gratifying, and I look forward to contributing to this community in a way that recompenses what I have already received from it. Many thanks for your excellent labors on this site.

  11. Boris, guest articles are welcome. I see those old workhorse sharpeners at public libraries, but don’t own one, and am sure others could offer more on the subject.

    jaisakthi, I would say that in general, yes, in 2010 pencils are commodities, and purchased by schools. Many of the pencils we discuss here are high quality pencils of interest to specialists and serious users, whether professional or amateur. This type of pencil is not yet a commodity.

    James, thank you very much for your kind greetings. Graphite is not typically an artist’s sole medium today! It’s great to have you onboard as a reader and contributor.

  12. Hi Pencilman,
    Would you happen to know where I can get a Faber Castell TK 9400 in sterling silver?

    Would you happen to know how much they cost? (Excluding the one for 500euro)…(That guy is BARKING)LOL.

    If you can successfully help me locate one for a reasonable price I will be sooooooo appreciative.


  13. Just wanted to relate something that may be helpful to those who still use the older 1.1 mm mechanical pencils. I remember having no clue that those leads were still available until I stumbled on Autopoint’s website:

    I’ve amassed a decent collection of those older mechanical pencils, although at this point I probably use wood pencils 95% of the time.

    They also still sell the “Twin-Point” and “All American” standard twist pencils in good old 1.1 mm.

    I have nothing to do with them. Just posting so that folks know those leads are still out there. Hopefully they stay around for a while like Musgrave and General Pencil.

    I was actually looking around for old style ~ 1/16 inch ballpoint pen refills, and remembered them.

  14. I have seen Papermate Classic or American or something pencils at my school. Normally this would mean nothing, but these were weird. They had no paint, black stamping, and ferrules that looked exactly like the Mongol pencils. Has anyone else noticed these?

  15. I just got a 12 pack of Mirado Black Warrior 2HB from Office Depot’s catalog. The paint is a matte finish, whereas all the black warriors i’ve ever seen are glossy. I’m terribly upset because one of the virtues of the BW was that the paint didn’t chip when i chewed on it, which i do incessantly.

  16. I used to use pencils in school during the 80s that were yellow with a larger than normal square eraser inside a sparkly blue plastic top. Does anyone know what kind or pencils these were? I would love to buy some for my kids in elementary school. Any help is appreciated.

  17. Wonder if anyone else out there has tried stripping lead from a wooden pencil and using it in a leadholder. I just gave it a go with a Hi-Uni, and noticed the lead was just a wee bit too big for my Staedtler 925-25. Pulled a lead from a CDT Item 17 too, and that actually fit pretty well!

    Of course it’d get expensive if I did this a lot, but I thought it was worth giving a shot at least once. I rather like the smooth feel of writing with the leadholder and Uni leads in HB, so I wondered what a lead like the CDT would perform like in the same body. To be honest, I’m not sure I can tell a significant difference in feel, though of course the big hefty leadholder is a bit smoother gliding on paper than a vanilla wooden pencil, and it’s easy to keep a fine point with a SharPits or Mitsubishi pointer.

    I wish there were more high-end 2mm leads floating around to compare. Even so, that Uni stuff is pretty fantastic, even without a “Hi-” or an “Artis” attached.

  18. Yeah Mike, the new Black Warriors are all matte finish now. I sort of like the older gloss finish better. I stocked up on a lot of them some months ago at a local “Hobby Lobby” store. They were being sold for 10 cents (U.S.) in packs of 10 or 12.
    The fragrance – most of them had it – is most like the traditional cedar smell you expect. These pencils also have that “recycled” construction like many other cedar pencils do now where they attach cedar slate fragments together with rounded “fingers” that fit into each other. You can see where they are joined together as you sharpen them down.

  19. Oops, meant to write “…some months ago at a local “Big Lots” store…”

  20. We have all seen those tiny pencils provided in libraries, public spaces and events so we can fill out questionnaires and forms. I just discovered the most popular names are “pew pencils” and “golf pencils,” presumably because they are needed on Sunday mornings. Unlike ordinary pencils, sharpened at a 30-degree slope, pew pencils come with a 45-degree point. Some full-length pencils are sold with such points, too–but I have never found a sharpener for sale that would produce this type of point. It has advantages: if you want to have a sharp pencil in a backpack or case, and carry it for months, these points are much less likely to break. But is there any way to sharpen pencils to such points?

  21. A few years ago I saw a review for what I can only describe as a wooden pencil extension in a magazine. It resembled a cigarette holder but was for use on a pencil. I gathered it was to allow one to comfortably use a pencil after it had been sharpened past the half way point or so. I have looked and looked but can’t find anything like this online. Has anyone seen anything like this or have any idea what it might be called?

  22. There are also a number of pencil extenders at Some of them look quite nice.

  23. If you really want to salivate over pencil extenders check some of these out Don’t let the language barrier hold you back. If there’s something you like, you can contact Mayumi Kubo, the international sales rep for Bunkoki and, here: and she can help you out. Just copy the page address of the item to let her know what you’re interested in, and she’ll take care of the rest. I’ve done that a number of times, and the service has been uniformly excellent. Shipping is very reasonable and quick too, (at least to here in Western Canada). I have no affiliation with those sites. I just think that good products and service should be well-identified.

  24. I ended up with my two or three pencil extenders by getting them with mechanical pencil lots from ebay purchases. Look closely at the pictures and some extenders might be thrown in.

  25. Once you find the extenders and lead holders you are looking for, make the best decision of your life and commit to STOP losing your pencil while your working. I did about a year ago and I’ll never regret it. I save so much time now that I can always find my pencil. This little product is great for people that use pencils all the time. You can really use it anywhere, not just on your glasses.

  26. I just made some interesting finds at a thrift store recently: “Berol Eagle Jeans” pencil (all bluejeans color), “Eastman No.2”, “Dixon Trimline No 2”, “Empire No. 2”, “Eberhard Faber ECOwriter 2”. Just one to three versions of each.

  27. I have a number of pencil sets etc which I love but rather selfishly I want to use them. Do you use your pencils or only collect them? For example the Felissimo set you subscribe to – have you used them or are they just for collection? Could they be worth anything? It’s so hard to balance the desire to use with the passion to preserve!

  28. Another find. A Crayola “True to Life” set of colored pencils at a “BigLots” store in the U.S. The interesting thing about these is a lighter strip swirled in the colored “lead”. A drawing with them would have a streaked appearance. They were made in Brazil and the wood doesn’t look like cedar, although the package states “Pencils made from reforested wood. Contains no tropical rain forest wood.” This is the only link I could find:

  29. Hi, everyone. I just want to suggest that you look at “The Blackwing Pages,” a new blog by the author of the great “Pencils and Music” blog but concentrating on all things related to the legendary Blackwing 602. It promises to be extremely informative about both the old classic Blackwing 602 and the new version expected this year from Cal Cedar. Take a look!

  30. I am looking for a sharpener that produces the point of golf pencil, not a regular sharpener.. any ideas???

  31. I am also searching for a pencil sharpener that will produce the factory point on school compass, library, golf, pew pencils. I have also noticed a similar point on full size pencils used by testing (fill in the correct dot type test) companies and on colored lead type pencils for art drawing. I find it very curious that more than one manufacturer sells pre pointed pencils to consumers that can never be resharpened to a factory type point. Why is that? I always thought it to be advantageous to keep a product in factory fresh trim. I can not think of many products off hand that are widely used and are altered in a way similar to how pencils are. And for some reason, it is widely accepted and I get a funny response that I am quite the odd duck when I want to duplicate a factory point, yet it is perfectly acceptable that the factory uses that point. I find it curious that pencil manufacturers choose a point that is very different from the one used by the majority of pencil sharpener manufacturers. Even more curious to me is that with the billion or so of these pencils out there, no one has marketed a pencil sharpener that will make these “one time use only” type pencils into perhaps 2-3 uses. Yes, I know there might be one or two tiny plastic type hand held sharpeners out there for a buck or two. But I am talking about a sturdy electric or mechanical handle type sharpener that could be sold to golf courses, mini golf courses, libraries, testing facilities, churches, etc. With the new age of a constant push for green and recycling, this seems to be hole that should have been filled in a long time ago.

  32. Thanks for that link Jonathan. Fascinating stuff, though I still prefer to make art “with” rather than “from” pencils!

  33. Penciladmin: Thanks very much for the above link. That’s a very comprehensive review, and it leaves me with the conclusion I suspected I would have: this isn’t much to get excited about.

  34. Question for Robert, May 21st 2010 and others who may know: So exactly how DOES one crack the wood open to get at the lead inside? I ask because there are a lot of 6B and higher wood-case pencils out there (and 6H-plus at the other end of the scale), but precious few 2mm leads of anything higher than 4B, and they’re rare as the proverbial hen’s teeth. (Some Russian fellow is or was selling 8B Koh-i-Noors on E-bay a short while back and I was SO TEMPTED…)

  35. hi i wonder if you can help me – i bought an antique mechanical pencil at a french flea market and am trying to figure out how it works. i suspect there is a part missing/broken. it consists of two parts – the outer metal casing and the inner tube which has a metal cap which presumably is turned to push the lead down and doesn’t reach the end of the pencil and has a slit at the bottom (for another mechanism?), and a mechanism inside the tube which has three teeth attached to a short metal tube. i suspect this tube has been broken as the edges are slightly ragged. the mechanism appears similar to your yard-o-led edwardian pencil ( i wonder if you would be able to tell me how this mechanism works, or perhaps if i could see the full page of instructions as shown on your website?

  36. I was doing my usual weekend trolling at the local “Big Lots” store (U.S.) and had an interesting find. They were selling 5 pencils/package of “Mirado” Triangular pencils for $1. I bought 3 of them. The package writing is in Spanish and has a small “Berol” on the bottom of the label. They are obviously made in Mexico as the production has been moving there. The Papermate name is downplayed on the packaging. The wood is not cedar, and more basswood-like. The company name is officially “Berol S. de R.L. de C.V.” The pencil itself is stamped “Mexico Berol Mirado 2 Mediano” in gold colored paint. The graphite darkness when writing is very close to an older Sanford Mirado #2 that I have.
    I actually like the feel of triangular pencils, both mechanical and wood. I bought a bunch of Pentech triangular natural finish pencils on clearance from one of the “big box” office supply stores and often use one.

  37. K, I have an older Wahl Eversharp pencil in my collection and found this link with the old instructions:

    On Firefox to zoom, I simply go to “View” then “Zoom”. Do it as many times as needed until you can read it clearly. Hope this helps.

    Is your pencil also a Wahl like mine? Look for writing circling the pencil up near the cap above the pocket clip.

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