A bestselling Noris 4

Certainly well deserved: when visiting a WHSmith1 store recently I noticed that their Noris pencils got a little sign, indicating that they are the bestselling pencils.


As you might know I am partial to Staedtler’s Noris, so couldn’t resist adding this to my stream of Noris blog posts. Here’s a small selection of Noris blog posts to pick and choose: A digital NorisA broken Clarks NorisA different kind of Noris in the wildNeil Gaiman’s Noris pencilsNoris & CoShaun the Sheep’s NorisUpcycling with a NorisA Noris at the CricketA Finnish Noris…A French Noris…A Franken NorisA Franconian Noris,
Noris in the wildNoris shavingsNoris of the WoodsUncle Noris, and The Noris, then and now.

By the way, since we are on the topic of Staedtler anyway: they have a nice online Mandala creator on their website. The choice of patterns from different artists is amazing. 

  1. A British high street chain with a big stationery selection. []

A Look at Pentel’s orenznero PP3002

In a recent blog post I introduced the new Pentel orenznero, also called PP3002, its model number (for the 0.2mm version).

As you probably know nero means black in Latin and Italian – and, surprise surprise, the orenznero is black. Nero is also oren, as in oren(z), spelt backwards. Pentel seems to try to emphasise this fact by not using capital letters and the o on both ends of orenznero is stylised as, what looks to me like, a lead in a pencil sleeve viewed from the top.

Thanks to Yumiko I got one just after it was released in Japan. Altogether I paid just over £30 (~$36;35).
Here are my observations regarding this pencil after a week of use.

 

Transporting this pencil

First off: transporting this pen.

You can’t make this pencil pocket safe very easily. It is possible to retract the sleeve, but you have to push the sleeve/pipe really hard into the body of the pen, for example with your fingernail.

It’s also not a great pen to transport in pen sleeves/pockets/slots1. If you try to put this pencil in a pocket where the pencil’s sleeve or pipe will touch the material of the pen slot (think of something like the Nock Co Hightower)  the lead will forward and possibly break in your pen slot.

Materials used

The Orenznero looks beautiful. Especially on photos where you think it has something of the allure of the Rotring 800.

The Orenznero next to a Rotring 800

In reality, the Orenznero feels much cheaper. The body is made from plastic, but it is nice to touch plastic with a little bit of a texture.

The surface has a bit of a texture (enlarge picture to see)

Handling

The original Orenz is a great pencil. It felt as if Pentel revived an old friend of mine, the Staedtler Microfix.

Top to bottom: Staedtler Microfix, Pentel Orenz and Orenznero

In my previous blog post about the Orenznero, I talked about the history of the sliding sleeve pencil and about alternatives, including very cheap alternatives from Faber-Castell that cost less than a tenth of what I paid for the Orenznero.

Grip section to the left

Well, I have to say that the Orenznero feels, of course, better and is better made, but because the original or classic Orenz was so good I somehow expected that the Orenznero represents a quantum leap for auto advance pencils. This is not the case! It is, however, a nice pencil.

The Orenznero will work great is you hold it vertically, but if you write at an angle the sleeve will not glide back properly as it does with the classic Orenz, so if you don’t use light pressure when writing your graphite lines on the paper will get very thin or will even disappear as the sleeve will cover them. The force needed to slide the sleeve starts very low, like a classic Orenz, but the more the sleeve is pushed into the body the more pressure you need, in the end up to 0.3N.

A picture from an old blog post to illustrate this

Advancing the lead with a click and using the Orenznero like a normal pencil is not an option as it will advance too much of the 0.2mm lead – it would break. One thing to add, the Orenznero is very comfortable to write with hand has a nice centre of gravity in the front half.

You can see the centre of gravity where the pencil is balanced

Conclusion

It’s a nice pencil, but it requires a bit more pressure to write with. This is off putting in my case, as I am not so keen on pens that subconsciously make me change my writing habit (in this case to make me press harder when writing), something that might turn into the behaviour I use with other pens, too.

Just because it is such a nicely designed pencil I will use it a bit longer though, at least for now.

Mass-carved & Microfabbication??

  1. I am trying to clarify here as very different things are called a sleeve. []

Cedar Farm Pencil Book

The Power of the Pencil

Where I live the name the name Cedar is very commonly used for company names – for all sorts of companies, everything from cafés to estate agents.

According to the Woodland Trust in the UK, cedar was planted in nearly every stately home and mansion from the 1740s onwards. I guess this explains the use of this tree name for businesses. Stately homes and mansions – maybe cedar is supposed to make the company name sound posh – well.. it is, of course, the wood used for posh pencils, too.

Why do I mention this? A few weeks ago I went to a place called Cedar Farm, a collection of shops in what used to be a farm and very fitting for the name of that place I found a book about pencils there. It is aimed at artists but does contain fact about pencils presented in a nice way (as usual: open the images in a new tab to see at full size)


You can read more about the use of pencil cedars in Europe here.


Pencil Pot Of The Month – February 2017

Description: An empty pot of mustard

Price: I think it was £2.49 (~$3.05; €2.90). I bought it many months ago.

Material: I would call it stoneware, but I think it was advertised as ceramic

Further information: This pencil pot comes with free mustard.

 


Exchange rate: February 2017


Edible pencils

Seen in a local corner shop.


Strawberry pencils! A common type of sweets in the UK, named so because of its shape.

I’ve never tried them.