Posts filed under Pencil Reviews

Graf von Faber-Castell Platinum-Plated Perfect Pencil Review

Graf von Faber-Castell Platinum-Plated Perfect Pencil Review

It’s not worth it.

There is no point in burying the lede here. The Graf von Faber-Castell Platinum-Plated Perfect Pencil has not been worth the money I spent on it.

As with any product that costs a decent amount of money, I didn’t rush into the purchase. I was fascinated by the looks of the Perfect Pencil, and spent the better part of two years with it in my mind. I picked one up any chance I could, read reviews when I could find them, and generally worked through the process in my head. I do this a lot for all types of purchases.

I finally decided to bite the bullet this Spring. I was excited! And the excitement didn’t stop once I received the Perfect Pencil. But, after extended use I realized this is not a product for me. Let’s break it down.

Graf von Faber-Castell Platinum-Plated Perfect Pencil

The Good

This is a beautiful product. That’s what drew me in. It is stunning to look at, to hold, and to use. It’s an all-time design classic. The platinum-plated cap is the star of the show, with its traditional GvFC styling. You can tell from a mile away what it is. The construction is excellent too - it feels like a well-made product. Even the pencil has additional features, such as a matching platinum-plated twist cap over the eraser, and unique machined grooves down the barrel. I have zero complaints around the aesthetic of this product.

Graf von Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil

The Bad

The price. Let’s not beat around the bush here. At $260, I knew beforehand that it was egregious for what it was, but that can be said about most any pen or pencil I buy. I buy products like this because I enjoy them, not because I need them. No one needs any of this! But if I am spending this kind of money on what is essentially a glorified pencil cap I want to feel that it is money well spent. That it was worth it. I don’t feel that at all with this model of the Perfect Pencil.

Graf von Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil Sharpener

If the overall price isn't enough of a deterrent, the pencil price alone will stop you in your tracks. They are sold in a 5-pack for $50. Even I can do that math. I didn’t buy any extra pencils with my order, knowing that I would be trying and using other pencils I love in the Perfect Pencil cap. The marketing says the cap only fits GvFC pencils, but that’s just not true. It didn’t fit every pencil I tried, but more than enough worked perfectly well.

Graf von Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil Shapening

The Ugly

The sharpener. This is what broke the spell for me. It’s not good enough to make me enjoy the experience of carrying a $260 pencil around. In fact, I hate it. When you are a stationery junkie like me, you learn what you like, what you accept, and what you dislike. I like long point sharpeners. I knew this wasn’t one, and I accepted that fact thinking the experience and quality of the Perfect Pencil sharpener would be fine. It wasn’t. It is frustrating to use, and worse, does a bad job at its only job.

Graf von Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil Shavings

I didn’t buy the Perfect Pencil to use another sharpener with it. That defeats it’s entire purpose in my mind. But I do, because I don’t enjoy using this one.

The Wrap-up

Everyone has a different formula in determining the value of non-essential items in their life. I’ve spent far more on goods that I love and use daily, and I’ve spent far less on products that are collecting dust. My mental math told me that I would enjoy the Perfect Pencil and that the price would be justified, but I didn’t get a true feeling of the product until I put it through my own personal ringer. In the end, this product provides more frustration than enjoyment, making it not worth it in my book.

My assessment of this product leaves one big open-ended question on the table: What do I do with the Perfect Pencil now?

(I purchased this pencil at full price from C.W. Pencil Enterprise.)

Graf von Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil Tip

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Graf von Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil Review
Posted on August 19, 2019 and filed under Graf von Faber Castell, Perfect Pencil, Pencil Reviews.

Kaweco Frosted Sport Mechanical Pencil Review

Kaweco Frosted Sport Mechanical Pencil Review

(Sarah Read is an author, editor, yarn artist, and pen/paper/ink addict. You can find more about her at her website and on Twitter. And check out her first novel, The Bone Weaver’s Orchard, now available where books are sold!)

Kaweco has a gift for simplicity and the simple Frosted Sport Mechanical Pencil is the perfect illustration of that. There's nothing fancy or complicated about it. You remove the end cap to insert a piece of lead or two, pop the cap back on, click it, and write. There aren't any extra moving parts or gadgets--all it does is pencil, and it does it well.

It lacks an eraser, but I prefer to use a separate eraser, rather than have a proprietary refill that I have to stockpile. Still, that could be a deal-breaker for some.

Kaweco Frosted Sport Mechanical Pencil

The pencil is the same size and plastic material as the Kaweco Sport fountain pen, and this one matches my lovely frosted lime pen. It's chunky, but lightweight, and very comfortable to hold and write with. It has a steel tip cone and logo on the end cap, and the Kaweco brand engraved in silver paint on the body. The nose cone does not retract at all, but it's not as delicate or stabby as the narrow lead tubes on other pencils. It's more like the tip of a rollerball pen. The lead can be retracted by holding the button down and pushing the lead in.

Kaweco Sport Mechanical Pencil

Inside the pencil, there's a narrow tube to hold the lead refill. It's only wide enough for a piece or maybe two, so keep extras nearby if you go through lead quickly. The lead that it comes with is very nice to use. It's smooth and soft, but doesn't break easily. It can be dark with pressure, but shades well. the regular writing line is a bit pale, toward the middle of its greyscale. You can refill it with any .7mm lead you prefer, though, and JetPens has a handful to choose from.

Kaweco Sport Mechanical Pencil Barrel

The pencil does not come with a clip, but Kaweco sells separate clips that slide onto their pens and pencils. These work fairly well, but can come loose or scratch the plastic. I do worry about the durability of the plastic, but I have other Kaweco Sports that have been heartily knocked around with no consequence.

Overall, I've really enjoyed using this pencil. My only real complaint? It doesn't fit behind my ear! I need some sort of Kaweco headband to strap pens and pencils to for the days I have no pockets.

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


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Kaweco Sport Mechanical Pencil Writing
Posted on August 15, 2019 and filed under Kaweco, Mechanical Pencil, Pencil Reviews.

Penco Prime Timber 2.0 mm Mechanical Pencil Review

Penco Prime Timber 2.0 mm Mechanical Pencil Review

I was swayed by the style.

Penco is a brand I had heard of and seen online, but never had the opportunity to purchase one. That changed with a visit to Archer Paper Goods in Atlanta a few months ago, where I bought this Prime Timber Mechanical Pencil.

Penco’s products have a vintage-modern aesthetic that I love. Their lineup contains mostly basic office goods - pens, pencils, notebooks, binder clips, clipboards, etc. - which are all very consistent in their look. If Aaron Draplin founded Poppin I think this is what the result would look like.

Aesthetics aside, the product still has to be good, and the Prime Timber Mechanical Pencil is.

Penco Prime Timber 2.0 mm Mechanical Pencil

At first glance you might think this was a clutch pencil, especially looking at the elongated barrel and 2.0 mm wide graphite often found in that type of pencil. But no, this is a standard mechanical pencil with a click mechanism. Nothing wrong with that at all, other than being able to more finely control the exposed lead length and not having to press the lead into the page when retracting it with a clutch.

Penco Prime Timber 2.0 mm Mechanical Pencil Barrel

The exterior barrel is incense cedar from the US, which gives you that traditional pencil smell in a mechanical pencil setup. It feels great, too, like a standard full length hex barrel pencil, but slightly heavier.

Penco Prime Timber 2.0 mm Mechanical Pencil Sharpener

It ships with its own sharpener, which is almost mandatory for 2.0 mm pencil goods. Not everyone has a good tip pointer laying around their desk. Penco refers to it as a corer, which I enjoy because of sentences like this: “When putting the core into the corer, it may cause the core to break if the core is pulled out too long.”

Penco Prime Timber 2.0 mm Mechanical Pencil Tip Pointer

In practice, the corer is the weakest part of this product, leaving a barely sharp, sometimes crooked, tip. If you think you might use 2.0 mm lead frequently, then it will be worth investing in a nicer one. The popular KUM Long Point Sharpener has one on the side of the barrel, or you can get a stand-alone pointer like the Alvin Rotary for those dagger-tips when you need them.

Penco Prime Timber 2.0 mm Mechanical Pencil Graphite

The B-grade graphite is a real highlight of this pencil. I haven’t used many 2.0 mm sticks outside of my beloved Caran d’Ache Fixpencil, but the Penco lead has more of a natural graphite feel than the more waxy feel of the Fixpencil. It does wear down quicker because of this, but the darkness, smoothness, and overall feel are all better.

Penco Prime Timber 2.0 mm Mechanical Pencil Fixpencil

That said, I’ll take the Fixpencil over the Prime Timber every time due to the barrel feel, clip, and my clutch vs. mechanical mechanism preference. Maybe I’ll just switch the lead over the the Cd’A.

I paid $17.50 for mine, which feels about right. If you shop around, you may find them for a few bucks cheaper. They are ¥900 ($8.35) directly from Penco.

Penco Prime Timber 2.0 mm Mechanical Pencil Tip

I really like what Penco is doing on the design front, so I’ll try to pick up a few of their pens to see how they are. I also love the look of their General Notebook, so that one will be at the top of the shopping list. Yes, even ahead of the Baseball Bat Pen.


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Penco Prime Timber 2.0 mm Mechanical Pencil Click
Posted on July 22, 2019 and filed under Penco, Mechanical Pencil, Pencil Reviews.