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Thread: I've recently rediscovered wood-case pencils

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  1. #1
    Herder of Hamsters AW Admin's Avatar
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    I've recently rediscovered wood-case pencils

    I used to use wood-case pencils a lot in right through high school and college, but sometime in the 1980s pencil quality changed. The lead (technically, the graphite) became scratchy, and broke easily. Pencils were hard to sharpen, and the erasers made holes in paper if they worked at all. I stopped using them, mostly, in favor of keyboards and mechanical pencils.

    I discovered a couple of years ago that there are still really good, pleasurable to use affordable wood-case pencils. I draft a lot in pencil, then re-draft in fountain pen. I take notes in pencil too. Pencils are portable, so I can write pretty much anywhere. I bought a box of very affordable inexpensive Apsara Long point sharpeners* after finding just how good these Indian pencil sharpeners were.

    But in the last two years or so, I've discovered some wood-case pencils I really like. I've discovered I favor softer lead over super hard lead (something closer to B than HB), though most of the pencils I like are labeled as HB/#2 pencils in terms of hardness. (An

    I like the Palomino Forest Choice a lot; don't buy them from Amazon, they're way over prices. Try C.W. Pencils, or a local stationary shop.

    U. S. pencil maker Musgrave has some lovely affordable pencils. I love the Musgrave News 600; no eraser, a round body, and very dark smooth graphite. A box of 12 is $6.25 from Musgrave.

    I like Mitsubishi pencils, especially the Mitsubishi 9852EW. This is probably my very favorite affordable every-day writing pencil.

    This is an unpainted, natural wood pencil with an eraser that doesn't suck. It's very pretty, and the graphite is reliably smooth. A box of 12 is less than 10.00 on Amazon.*

    Indian pencils are astonishingly good and very affordable.

    Nataraj and Apsara are the two main makers, both owned by the same corporation. I like the Apsara Platinum Extra dark* a lot. Twenty pencils, two erasers and two very good sharpeners are $5.99 from Amazon. This is a pencil without an eraser, but it's very smooth graphite, and on the dark side of HB/#2.

    Amazon has an Apsara Kit with a bunch of pencils (3 dozen), sharpeners and erasers for $15.00.* That's how I first tried Indian pencils; it took a while to ship, but I was pleased.

    One of the reasons I've been using pencils more is that needing to sharpen a pencil gives me a natural pause, a break, to think about what to write. And it gives my hands a bit of a break, too, in addition to the benefits of slower, more time to think writing, that I find I personally get from writing by hand. That said, there's always the Steinbeck method, wherein you pre-sharpen a dozen or so pencils in advance, and swap pencils at need.

    I created a pencil FAQ with some resources.
    There are truly a lot of really good not expensive and pleasurable to use pencils out there; I suspect I'm in the minority here, but anyone else like wood-case pencils ?


    * AW Amazon affiliate link
    Last edited by AW Admin; 02-18-2020 at 03:09 AM.

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