I have been meaning to write a review about this pencil for almost a year. I don’t entirely know why I’ve waited so long to actually put pencil to paper and write the review though. It’s not as if I was torn in my opinion about its performance. The Penco Prime Timber 2.0 by Hightide ($11) is the picture of simplicity. Its a soft, hex-shaped, woodcased mechanical pencil with a metal knock and conical end to facilitate the click mechanism. The advantage of this design is that it maintains the warmth of a woodcased pencil with the ease and convenience of a mechanical pencil.
Like a good pencil, the Prime Timber appears to be dip painted in two-tone gloss enamel and then stamped with branding info in black. I’ve used my Prime Timber long enough that some of the stamping is starting to wear away.
The only complaint I would have about Prime Timber is the join between the wood and the conical tip is not as smooth as it could be. Of course, it’s a mechanical pencil selling for about $10 so all other elements being equal, when in use, I don’t notice the transition any more than I notice the threads of a fountain pen so my issue is more aesthetic than in actual use.
I was excited to acquire this pencil specifically because I like using red and non-photo blue drawing leads and they are easier to find in 2mm size these days. The 2mm leads are a bit more robust than smaller 0.5 or 0.7mm sized leads.
The Prime Timber came with a lead pointer which works really well. However, at the time of this review, I was not able to locate it so I used a Faber-Castell Pocket Lead Pointer. Either lead pointer is effective and does not take up too much space in a portable kit. The lead pointer that shipped with the pencil has a cap which keeps any loose material from transferring into your pencil case. The Faber-Castell does not have a cover but it smaller overall.
No reflection on the Prime Timber itself but the red lead I was using does not erase as completely with my trusty Sakura foam eraser as non-photo blue or traditional graphite lead. The advantage of drawing with red lead is that it can be separated out when scanned or photographed into the computer using RGB channel separation. Non-photo blue will not copy on a standard photo copier. Hence the name. And if scanned in black and white, it will not show up. Usually. Non-photo blue can be really light though so red can be easier to see on paper.
As a lefty, there is a secret bonus in using colored leads– they don’t smudge as readily as graphite. I can reap all the same benefits of graphite with colored pencil lead without the telltale smudge on the heel of my hand.
Generally speaking, I prefer using pencils on paper with a bit more tooth like Baron Fig, Leuchtturm1917, any sketchbook paper, standard 20# office bond, etc, over Rhodia which is a little too smooth. For consistency’s sake though, I did the writing sample on Rhodia though. It does make for a creamy looking writing sample.
I purchased the Penco Prime Timber 2.0 at Wonder Fair in Lawrence, KS. Similar models can be found online but I highly recommend trekking out to this gem on the prairie if you get a chance. Write Notepads features a fancier brass edition of this pencil for $14. It’s probably a little weightier and would feel a bit more like a drafting pencil as a result.
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