Posts filed under Palomino

Palomino Blackwing Natural Pencil Review

Palomino Blackwing Natural Pencil Review

The Palomino Blackwing 602 has been my pencil of choice for years. I use pencils that are firmer, darker, lighter, or better looking on a regular basis, but I always go back to the 602. There is something about the feel and style of the pencil that draws me in. Blackwing’s Firm core has been perfect for me.

Based on my pencil core likes - firm, dark, good point retention - you think I would have latched on more permanently to Blackwing’s Extra Firm core when they first introduced it a few years ago in the Blackwing Volume 24 edition. I loved it, of course, yet for some reason, I kept reaching for the 602.

Palomino Blackwing Review

I think the reason was psychological. What if I use up all of these pencils and there are no more? So I wouldn’t use them. This errant line of thinking has been something I’ve been trying to erase from my stationery mindset over the years. Use the things I like whenever, wherever, and however I want, no exceptions.

Palomino Blackwing Natural Pencil

In the case of the new Palomino Blackwing Natural, it took a stock offering of their fantastic Extra Firm core to save me from me. This core may be better for me than the Firm core in the 602, and I’ve been too stubborn to find out.

The Blackwing Natural was announced at the National Stationery Show back in February, and since their initial retail release in March, have been exceedingly hard to come by. They’ve appeared and vanished at all of my favorite retailers faster than I could buy them. It took a post-Atlanta Pen Show trip to Archer Paper for me to accidentally stumble on a box to purchase. Yes, a box of a dozen. Single pencils begone!

Palomino Blackwing Natural Writing

I took the Natural out for a spin last week to use with my CW&T Studio Sketchbook at my son’s baseball practice. This notebook is an excellent choice for pencils with its textured paper, and I have been using it for brainstorming product ideas and general doodles.

As I began writing, I just kept saying to myself “Huh.” As in, “Huh, this is better than expected, “ and “Huh, I’ve been missing out.” Don’t let the Extra Firm designation trick you into thinking the Natural is something along the lines of a 4H grade pencil. As someone who enjoys those H-grade nails, this is nothing like that at all. Palomino’s Blackwing designation of Extra Firm is in relation to the other cores in the lineup, which range from Soft to Balanced to Firm, to now Extra Firm.

Palomino Blackwing writing samples

Comparing one pencil core to another can be difficult when they are somewhat close. Slight differences in hand pressure can change everything, so view my tests and commentary with that in mind. That said, the Natural is as dark, or darker, than the 602. That is what’s confusing me. Can this really be firmer and darker than the 602 at the same time? And keep the same, or better, smoothness? Maybe so.

(Note: I ordered and tagged the Pearl and MMX incorrectly on the page. The Pearl is the Balanced core and the MMX is the Soft core, and they perform exactly that way.)

Palomino Blackwing Tip

This brings me back around to the 24 edition. Did I miss this the first time around - over three years ago - because of some weird limited edition angst? And, miss future opportunities with the release of the 530, 54, and others, for the same reason? I only have my mindset to blame.

Palomino Blackwing Eraser

Visually, the Natural is everything that Blackwing fans have been clamoring for from the beginning. It was inevitable that Palomino would release a raw barrel in the lineup. It was also inevitable that once they released the Extra Firm core in the Volumes lineup that it would come to the stock lineup eventually. The combination of those two things is why they have been running behind in production and are hard to find right after release.

I still think the 602 is better looking, but I do love natural barrel pencils. I upgraded this one with an orange eraser, as I also do for my 602 pencils. All that’s left to wonder is if the Natural will take the top usage spot over from its stablemate in the long term. It may already have.


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Palomino Blackwing Natural Page
Posted on April 15, 2019 and filed under Palomino, Blackwing, Pencil Reviews.

Palomino KUM Blackwing Automatic Brake Long Point 2 Step Pencil Sharpener Review

Palomino KUM Blackwing Automatic Brake Long Point 2 Step Pencil Sharpener Review

(Jeff Abbott is a regular contributor at The Pen Addict. You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution and Twitter.)

While the name is comically long, the Palomino KUM 2 step pencil sharpener is quite a small device that can create an exceptionally fine point on your pencils. The market for small, portable pencil sharpeners has plenty of standard options, but there's also plenty of unique selling features. 2 step sharpeners are capable of achieving a long, fine point that most other sharpeners can't touch.

Palomino KUM Blackwing Automatic Brake Long Point 2 Step Pencil Sharpener

As the name implies, this product is actually made by KUM, a company that produces many different pencil sharpeners. The Palomino product is a white-labeled version of KUM's own sharpener of the same name, except this sharpener features the Blackwing branding on the side and comes in unique color options.

Palomino KUM Blackwing Long Point 2 Step Pencil Sharpener

What sets this sharpener apart from other standard sharpeners is the fact that it is two sharpeners. The first slot shaves away the wood casing while allowing the whole lead to pass through almost untouched. This allows the lead to reach a much longer length than normal, and it looks quite weird.

Palomino KUM Blackwing Long Point 2 Step Pencil Sharpener Step One

The second slot is much smaller and only shaves the lead. Once this sharpener starts removing more from the wood casing, you know that it's ready to go. This two step approach results in a point that is about 1-2 mm longer than usual.

Palomino KUM Blackwing Long Point 2 Step Pencil Sharpener Step 2

I've used this sharpener over the past few months, and I've had mixed results. When done correctly, it does produce a long tip with a very fine point. In practice, I've broken the lead several times while trying to use the second slot to sharpen the lead core. From what I can tell, you have to use extremely light pressure and be incredibly careful about the angle that you use when sharpening.

Palomino KUM Blackwing Long Point 2 Step Pencil Sharpener Review

The sharpener is a convenient size and also collects shaving inside the transparent compartment. The blades are really high quality, and it also comes with two extra blades that are stowed in the end of the shaving compartment. Aside from the learning curve that resulted in a lot of broken lead, I've really enjoyed this sharpener.

Palomino KUM Blackwing Long Point 2 Step Pencil Sharpener Shavings

For me, I prefer using my Kutsuwa Stad T-Gaal pencil sharpener most of the time, but it's nice to shake things up. Like most small sharpeners, they're incredibly affordable (less than $10) and easy to experiment with. If you're interested in the 2 step sharpening method, this is a great place to start. You can buy the Palomino-branded sharpener, but you can also purchase the KUM version of the same product, and you can even purchase the sharpener without the plastic container and shavings compartment. For any wood-case pencil lovers, it's a great addition for your arsenal!

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)


Enjoy reading The Pen Addict? Then consider becoming a member to receive additional weekly content, giveaways, and discounts in The Pen Addict shop. Plus, you support me and the site directly, for which I am very grateful.

Membership starts at just $5/month, with a discounted annual option available. To find out more about membership click here and join us!

Portable Pencil Sharpeners
Posted on December 5, 2018 and filed under Blackwing, Kum, Palomino, Pencil Sharpener.

Palomino Blackwing Volumes Vol 16.2 Pencil Giveaway

Image via  JetPens

Image via JetPens

I love what Blackwing does every quarter with their Volumes releases, and the most recent - Vol 16.2 - is a personal favorite for the style and the subject. If you haven’t made the jump into wooden pencils yet, this is a great place to start. I have one box of these pencils to give away to a lucky reader, so read the rules below and enter away!

Posted on February 6, 2018 and filed under Palomino, Blackwing, Giveaways.