Since I’ve been talking about pencils all week, I thought I’d come clean and tell you my favorite pencils. They are, of course, on the higher-end of the pencil spectrum, in other words not cheap and not usually available at your local big box office supply store. But I think they are worth the effort to order these through your favorite online retailer.
First, is the Tombow 8900 (about $19/dozen) which came directly from Japan by way of my friends Tag Team Tompkins. It is the B hardness, hexagonal with a glossy olive paint on the body. There is not ferrule on the end or eraser. On one side of the pencil it says “Since 1913 High Quality Tombow 8900 B” in gold foil, on the reverse in white foil “For General Writing B”. It is a lightweight smooth writer and is a little darker than a standard No. 2. It is available in H, HB, B hardnesses.
Next up is the Faber-Castell Grip 2001 HB (2 1/2) ($16.45 per dozen). It is a triangular-shaped pencil with a silver metallic finish and strategically placed black rubber dots for improved grip. The branding is subtle in black “Grip 2001 Faber-Castell” on on side, and a bar code and hardness number on the other. The end is painted a glossy medium gray since there is no eraser or metal ferrule. It is a smooth writer and available in several hardnesses. I love the triangular shape and the grips make the pencil comfortable for long writing or drawing sessions. The only down side is that the dots are susceptible to heat and will melt if left in high temperatures (like a locked car on a hot, summer day).
And the last pencil is the much-discussed Palomino Blackwing 602 ($19.95 per dozen). I have never used an original Blackwing 602 so I cannot make a comparison to the original but I can compare it to other currently-available pencils. It maintains the classic iconic looks with the over-sized, extendable eraser with its large flat, gold-tone ferrule. The Blackwing 602 ships with the black eraser but it can be replaced with a classic pink or white eraser or try a fun colored eraser (available in blue, green or orange), each is available in a pack of ten for $2.50. The pencil itself is a dark metallic gray hexagonal pencil with gold foil lettering “Palomino Blackwing 602″ on one side and the legendary “Half the pressure, twice the speed” motto on the other. It is as smooth as the Grip 2001 and the Tombow 8900 which are all smoother than any other wood pencils I have in my arsenal.
If you are looking for great writing pencils, these are the cream of the crop as far as I’m concerned. Other pencils pop up every now and again that are comparable in quality but I reach for these three more often than any others.