Spangle pencils

California Republic Stationers recently announced some oversized pencils aimed at children: the Mini Jumbo, the Mini Jumbo Triangular, and the Jumbo.

Made in Thailand, the pencils are part of the discount Spangle line.

The pencils are brightly coloured, and have a heavy solid feel. They also have a fairly strong paint aroma. Strong enough that I found myself quickly going to wash my hands after touching them. While CRS states “All Spangle Pencils conform to the ASTM D4236 and are safe and non-toxic”, there can still be a gap between being safe and being pleasant. Maybe it’s just that they are “fresh off the press”.

The Jumbo has a diameter of 9.5mm, and a weight of 11.3g. The Mini Jumbo is 8.4mm/9.4g, and the Triangular Mini Jumbo weighs in at 8.3mm/9.5g. (Numbers approximate.)

Issued in bright primary colours, the pencils scream “fun”.

As oversize basswood pencils, they require quite a bit of effort to manually sharpen. Unfortunately, that effort reveals that the lead is a bit scratchy.

I think the Spangles look great, but the strong paint aroma, sharpening difficulty, and scratchy lead outweigh the initial appeal, at least for me.