Review by Tina Koyama
In addition to high-end, limited-edition, collectible pencils, Blackwing makes a few unique pencil accessories, including the Blackwing Point Guard ($10 each). Available in matte black, gold, silver, and a set of one of each color, the point guard is made in Taiwan of lightweight, machined aluminum. I chose matte black to match my favorite standard-edition Blackwing. Like all of Blackwing’s standard editions, the Point Guard’s esthetic is sleek, minimal and professional.
When the Point Guard first came out, I had heard some grumblings in the pencil community that its friction fit marred some barrel finishes or didn’t fit comfortably on some standard-size pencils. A good fit would be one that allows the cap to slide on without force and stay on during transport in a bag or pocket. I went through my pencil collection to find a variety of barrels to try it on. Of course, I put it first on several older and newer Blackwings; it fits all of them just fine and leaves no mark.
I also tried it on a Mitsubishi Hi-Uni, one of my all-time favorite pencils, and it fits fine also. I couldn’t find any standard-size graphite pencils in my collection that were a problem.
Next I tried several pencils that have ever-so-slightly-larger-than-standard barrels. These pencils often are a problem when I try to put them into sharpeners designed only for standard-size pencils, so I didn’t expect them to fit the Point Guard. The Caran d’Ache Museum Aquarelle colored pencil, the Caran d’Ache Klein Blue graphite pencil and the Derwent Drawing Pencil are all snug, but the Point Guard goes on without force. I see no marks on the barrels. These surprised me – I didn’t think they would fit at all.
This one also surprised me: The Caran d’Ache Supracolor, which I have always thought of as having a standard-size barrel, is slightly loose in the Point Guard. It stays on, but with less resistance than the Blackwings or the Hi-Uni.
Finally, I dug around in my pencil cups for an oddball: a Japanese prayer pencil with a square barrel. It fits also.
Maybe the Point Guard has improved over time, but I have nothing to grumble about.
Well, OK, I have one grumble: the price. Does a $10 Point Guard work better than a plastic Sonic Cupot (my personal favorite pencil cap, 6/$3.25)? No, but it will probably last longer, and for some, it might suit their professional image better than the Cupot’s elementary-school palette. I can’t argue with that.
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