One of the things I always try to be is transparent, and in that vein, I have to say up front that I am far from an expert in the realm of woodcase pencils. There are many people that know much more than me in this area, and I often defer to their judgement when asked about these wonderful, yet sometimes overlooked, writing instruments.
The Palomino Blackwing 602 is such a famous and well known pencil that I wanted to do the review justice. The more I thought about it and the more I talked to my Twitter friends about it, I realized I should just tackle it the same way I would any other review I have done on the site. That is, review it how I personally would use this product on a daily basis.
My first challenge with the Blackwing was how to sharpen it. Not having a need for a good quality sharpener before, I headed to my daughters room to use the electric one she uses for her colored pencils. Blasphemy, I know, but I had to roll with what I had. One I had a nice, sharp point on the pencil I was ready to put it to the test.
The first thing that struck me as unique about the Blackwing was how smooth the lead is. I have only ever used “normal” #2 type pencils before, and when writing with them it is almost like you can feel the grain and hear the scratch of the graphite. Not so with the Blackwing. They are smooth and quiet, and honestly a completely different writing experience.
I also like how there was no difference in lead color depending on the sharpness or dullness of the tip area I was writing with. It was very consistent, and in relation to that, the tip held its point better than I recall on most pencils.
The only thing I wasn’t crazy about with the Blackwing was the eraser. The design and replacability of it are great, but it just doesn’t erase that well in my testing. I think most hardcore users will have a favorite stand alone eraser handy, so this is by no means a deal breaker.
If I choose to review more woodcase pencils is my experience with them going to be skewed by how much I enjoy using the Blackwing 602? Probably so. I have been using it on a near daily basis, and have no plans on stopping anytime soon.