TiTi


BUBM pen roll 7

BUBM pen roll

Just a very quick post showing you my new pen roll. I’ll call it BUBM pen roll, just because there’s a BUBM1 logo on the roll.  My pen roll was advertised as a “Cable Organizer Roll Up Bag Storage Case for Tool Batteries Pen Earphone”.

BUBM pen roll

I bought it for £3.59 (~$5.15; €4.55) from eBay, including postage. The same item was being sold for a lower price by other sellers, but these cheaper ones would have come directly from China and would have taken a long time, this one was already in the UK.

Difficult to see, but the URL bubmcase.com is printed on the green surface

Difficult to see, but the URL bubmcase.com is printed on the green surface

Material-wise it reminds me very much of Nock products. I compared it to the Nock pen case I have. The Nock product does look more sophisticated, but I can’t say I am surprised ..and for the price I paid the BUBM pen roll is extremely good value for money and quite well made.

BUBM pen roll

If you use it for pens it will usually be big enough, but very long unsharpened pencils, like the TiTi Kyung In T-Prime in the photo above, are a bit longer than the 17cm of the case.

I noticed that some of my pens and pencil slid out of the pen case when the roll wasn’t stored horizontally in my backpack – only wider pens and those with a rougher surface (unpainted pencils) stayed where they were. The surface of painted pencils doesn’t seem to have enough friction and pencils are rather slim, so they won’t be held in place – unless you put a lot of them in one slot – so if this was a dedicated pen roll it would make sense to have narrower slots, but as this is more of an all purpose pen roll the wider slots make more sense.

BUBM pen roll

Well, let’s go a bit off topic then and look at other uses for this pen roll.

Off topic: Swiss army knives

Here’s an example where I used the pen roll for Swiss knives. I’ll go even more off topic by giving a short explanation of each of the knives.

BUBM pen roll

 

The first knife from the left is an Elinox. Elinox was Victorinox’s economy line and this is the last knife my father used at work. I don’t know what happened to the ones he had before, maybe they were too ‘used up’ and he got rid of them. This one’s blade is pretty ground down from sharpening it with the tools in his joinery. As a kid I was so used to Elinox knives that I thought the Elinox logo is the ‘normal’ logo for Swiss army knives. When I first saw a Victorinox I thought they must have recently changed the logo. I also thought only the real posh knives come with tooth picks and tweezers, because Elinox knives didn’t have those.

The second knife form the left is a Swiss Cheese Knife from Victorinox. I got it a few years ago when Switzerland Cheese Marketing AG sent them out for free if you bought Swiss Cheese and sent them the bar codes, plus postage. Luckily this promotion was open world wide, so I could send them bar codes from cheese i bought here in the UK, I just had to send them together with the postage in Swiss Franks.

The third knife from the left is a normal Vicorinox Spartan. Maybe my father’s Sunday knife, but I should date it to be sure.

The fourth knife from the left is Wenger‘s equivalent of the Spartan, I think it’s called Hunter. My wife got it many years ago, but she already had a similar one so I got it.

The last knife is a Swiza. This is the D04 version. which has a screw driver instead of a cork screw. Swiza only started selling knives similar to the well known Swiss army knives a few months ago.
A quick note on the link Victorinox – Wenger- Swiza: Victorinox and Wenger make/made Swiss army knives, but Swiza, originally a clock manufacturer, is fairly new to the world of knives. Their knives have not (yet) been used by the army, so Swiss folding knives might be a better term to describe Swiza’s knives. Like Wenger they are from the Canton of Jura.
A few years ago Victorinox bought Wenger. In the last few months two things happened:  Victorinox started selling Wenger knives under their own Victorinox name (Delémont Collection) and a former Wenger CEO has started to make knives again, now under the Swiza brand.
To be honest: the Swiza knives look better on pictures than in reality. They aren’t bad knives at all, but what makes them interesting is probably the fact that they are new. For use in the UK they are not great as they have locking blades which means they are “illegal to carry in public without good reason”.

Please let me know if you liked the off topic part of this post and whether you’d like more or less off topic, i.e. not stationery related, bits like this in the future

 


Price and exchange rates: April 2016

You can see Lexikaliker’s small black and red and big Swiss army knives on his blog.

Dave has also shown his knives in the past.

 

You can also catch a glimpse of another one of my knives in a previous blog post.

  1. BUBM stands for Be Unique Be Myself, with it being an imperative I would have gone for Be Unique Be Yourself. []

Deli pencil sharpener 0620 15

 

Deli 0620 in its box

Deli 0620 in its box

In my previous blog post I mentioned the Deli 0620 sharpener I bought when I was in Shanghai.

I you have followed my blog you might have noticed that I am very fond of Deli sharpeners. The Deli 0635 and the Deli 0668 are in fact my most often used sharpeners.

Why do I only mention these two models and no other Deli sharpeners? The problem with Deli sharpeners is that most seem to be aimed at children or pupils and look a bit too cartoony to put on your desk in the office – so when I came across a serious looking Deli sharpener, the 0620, I was quite excited.

Deli 0620 unpacked

Deli 0620 unpacked

The moment I saw this sharpener I thought of the Classroom Friendly Sharpener. I don’t have one myself, but having seen pictures of it in the past I thought this Deli 0620 looks very similar …but I had to wait until I was home to be able to compare the 0620 with photos of the Classroom Friendly Sharpener. More about this later.

Deli 0620

Cheap and full of features

I paid 45元 (~ $7.25; €6.25; £4.75) in the stationery shop on Xiangde Road, mentioned previously. Unlike the 0635 and the 0668, the 0620 features a metal case and is quite a bit bigger. It has a very solid feel to it and comes with a desk clamp and a spring driven pencil holder that features auto stop (as expected). The 0620 seems to sharpen with the same angle as the 0635: it will produce a slightly concave point with an angle of ~ 17°.

The 0620's spring loaded pencil holder

The 0620’s spring loaded pencil holder

Oh no, tooth marks!

This all sounds great, but I have a big problem with this sharpener: it leaves tooth marks on the pencil, because the grips that hold the pencil while sharpening are not rubber covered. I guess many people don’t mind. As far as I know some of the best sharpeners do leave tooth marks, like the expensive El Casco sharpener as well as the cheaper, but still very expensive Caran d’Ache sharpener.

Sharpening a Korean TiTi T-Prime with the 0620

Sharpening a Korean TiTi T-Prime with the 0620

The problem is: I do mind! There are some things others seem to mind, like bar codes on pencils, that I don’t mind. On the contrary, I often even like them …but tooth marks? Maybe one day I can accept them, but not at the moment, so I fear my 45元 were not very well invested. I could try ‘improving’ the tooth mark situation by putting Sugru on the grip mechanism, but the point produced by the Deli 0635 is so similar, I might as well use the 0635 instead of the 0620((If I had some Sugru I might try ‘improving’ the 0620. Maybe I buy a pack one day, once it’s open it needs to be used up soon anyway, which might be a good reason to use some of it on the 0620.)).

If you can cope with the horror: click on the bite mark picture to see the mutilated pencil in higher resolution.

Ugly bite marks on a beautiful pencil

Ugly bite marks on a beautiful pencil

The Deli 0620 and the Classroom Friendly Sharpener

One interesting point, mentioned earlier, is the similarity of the 0620 to the Classroom Friendly Sharpener. According to the pictures I have seen I would say the two sharpeners are more or less identical. I guess there could be several reasons for that, the most likely probably being that

  1. The Classroom Friendly Sharpener is actually made by Deli
  2. Both are made by another company
  3. One is a copy of the other, or both are a copy of another.
Deli 0620 shavings

Deli 0620 shavings

I don’t think one of these sharpeners is a copy of the other one. My guess would be that the the original isn’t famous enough to warrant a copy being made. Also, if you look at copied stationery, e.g. a Lamy Safari and a Hero 359, the copy is often of much worse quality than the original. I can’t really judge how the quality of both sharpeners compares as I only know the 0620, but it seems to be pretty well made. The only problem I encountered was that I couldn’t remove the burr mechanism. This problem doesn’t seem uncommon for Deli. Once I had two batches of 0635 in front of me, and one batch was perfectly fine, but on the other batch I couldn’t remove the burr mechanism on any of the sharpeners1. I assume that if you use enough force you could get the burr mechanism out.

Conclusion

A great looking sharpener that disappoints because of the tooth marks it leaves. Otherwise great value for money, like other Deli sharpeners.

Size comparison: 0668, 0620, 0635

Size comparison: 0668, 0620, 0635

As mentioned by Gunther and Koralatov in the comments: there are other sharpeners that seem to be produced in the same factory: the Carl Angel-5, the Kw-trio 031VA and the Helix A5.

Assuming the sharpener is made by Deli, because the point produced is so similar to the one produced by the 06352, the question is: Did the 0620 get this acute, concave angle because of Deli’s existing mechanism or was this model’s angle always like this, even before Deli made this sharpener,  and Deli made its mechanism like this to fulfil Carl’s (or whoever ordered this sharpener first) requirements?


Price: December 2014

Exchange rates: January 2015

  1. I don’t think they are glued on on purpose as I can’t see any sense in that. I wonder whether there are other reasons, e.g. some tolerance issues and some parts being a bit too big, or whether the sharpener was assembled before the paint could dry properly, etc. []
  2. What a shame that it’s so difficult to remove the burr mechanism for a comparison []

Palomino Blackwing 34

I was quite excited when I received some of the new Palomino Blackwings yesterday. I sharpened one in my Deli 0635 pencil sharpener and took it to the office. Later that day I tried the Palomino Blackwing out, writing a word or two and was amazed: The pencil was incredibly smooth, very dark and did not smear as much as expected from such a soft pencil. In the afternoon I took it to a meeting to take some notes, but when I tried to use it in a real life situation I became disillusioned pretty fast. I found it necessary to constantly rotate the pencil to keep the point from becoming too wide. I usually use very few pressure and in this case, too, I used very few pressure (this type of pressure and angle normally does not even make the Kuru Toga engine revolve), still the point was just eroding away more and more.

T-Prime and Palomino BW. More in common than the eraser colour.

The 602 after one line

This behaviour is very different to a Blackwing 602, which will keep the point for much longer. The Palomino Blackwing did actually remind me of another pencil I like, the TiTi T-Prime B (previously mentioned here). Both are very dark, very soft, the Palomino Blackwing even more so, but both are not pencils I would like to pick up when I have to write something, just because they use up so fast that they need constant sharpening.

The Palomino BW after one line

Please do no think that this is supposed to be an objective review. Without specialist equipment to replicate the same conditions this is obviously not possible, e.g. applying the same pressure. (In a previous blog post Lexikaliker mentioned two devices that would do just that, the Elcometer 501 and 3086). Despite my unscientific approach: the thickness of the lines in the beginning and the end should give an indication of what I tried to describe. The pencils were sharpened using a Möbius + Ruppert’s grenade. The paper is from Rhodia (Bloc Rhodia Nº 13).

The 602 keeps a finer point longer

The Palomino Blackwing is a great pencil, one of the smoothest pencils I have ever used …I just find it too impractical for writing small text (my lower-case letters are usually 2mm (1/16″) high). It might be better suited for other tasks, such as drawing or writing large letters, where you need a thicker line. Who knows, the Palomino Blackwing might still become a success story despite this problem, maybe it will be the new Moleskine. Moleskine’s paper does not seem to be the best for fountain pens, but we all know how popular it is today. I was told that in Chinese fairy tales the beautiful girl is usually ‘a bit ill’, which is supposed to make her even more ‘precious’. This reminds me of Moleskine and the Palomino Blackwing.


  • I would like to thank Sean for the Blackwings.
  • I would like to thank Kent for the TiTi T-Prime B.
  • The Blackwing 602 used in this comparison is the version with U.S.A. printed on the body, but without the black stripe on the ferrule.
  • I referred to the Elcometer and a blog post from Lexikaliker. These devices move a pencil over a surface under a fixed pressure and angle to the surface. The purpose of these tests, scratch hardness tests (Wolff-Willborn tests) is actually to determine the resistance of coating materials or lacquers to scratch effects on the surface, not to test the pencils themselves.

Tesco pencil sharpener 8

Tesco, a British supermarket chain, is currently selling a battery operated pencil sharpener for £ 3 (~ € 3.30). The sharpener is part of the “Tesco range”, which previously included  very good  stationery …like their pencils made from paper. Unfortunately some of these good products have suddenly disappeared in the last weeks, so I thought I should buy one of these sharpeners before it is too late.

Tesco Sharpener

Tesco Sharpener

The sharpener is available in silver and black and looks quite “plasticy”, but the design is not bad. If you look closer you see that the mould and the paint could have been done better, but for a product in this price range the appearance and workmanship is good. For those who do not know Tesco: this is typical for products from their own range, be it LED torches, padlocks or any other non-food item.

94g seems to be the model number...

94g seems to be the model number...

The sharpener is made in China and operated by 4 AA batteries. The languages on the labels suggest that except in the UK and Ireland the sharpener is also sold in Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungaru and Turkey. As usual batteries are not included, but to my surprise the sharpener comes with an extra blade. This is very good news as the blade seems to be of very good quality, but more on this later. When you remove the shavings container you can see that the cutting unit inside resembles a manual sharpener that is rotating when a pencil is inserted. You will also find the replacement blade there, held by sticky tape. The cutting unit itself seems to be plastic mounted. Similar to other battery operated sharpeners, like the Staedtler Mars Desk battery operated pencil sharpener, the Tesco sharpener will not work if the shavings container is removed.

Tesco Sharpener, inside with spare blade

Tesco Sharpener inside, with spare blade

I assume that the model number is 94g, as 94g is printed on the label and the weight of the sharpener (without batteries) is a bit over 140 grams, certainly not 94 grams. That said, if you put the Hungarian text from the label in Google Translate it comes up with “Weight: 94g”, so either the label was made for an earlier, lighter version of the sharpener or the translation is wrong. Whatever the standard deviation for weight of this sharpener is, I rule out that my sharpener is 50% heavier than it should be and that my scales are that inaccurate.

How does it perform?

The sharpener itself works very well. You have to hold the sharpener, otherwise the sharpener will rotate around the pencil. It is also moving rather fast, so you have to pull the pencil out fairly quickly if you want to avoid using it up unnecessarily. The blade of my Tesco sharpener works extremely well for a sharpener of such a low price. It does certainly not perform as well as a great sharpener, like the grenade from Möbius & Ruppert, but it performs much better than most average sharpeners. The wood and the lead have a smooth surface when sharpened with the Tesco sharpener, which is not common with cheap sharpeners, but there is some rough scraping of the wood, sometmies in the form a visible line where the blade stopped when the pencil was removed.

One problem I noticed is that the often resharpened pencils tend to be sharpened more on one side than the other (see picture). It could be a coincidence or the fact that the speed of the Tesco sharpener made me sharpen often but little, reinserting the pencil with the previously shaved side towards the blade.

TiTi Kyung In T-Prime HB sharpened with the Tesco sharpener

TiTi Kyung In T-Prime HB sharpened with the Tesco sharpener

Altogether this sharpener offers great value for money. Assuming the blade is this good in the other “94g” sharpeners they are certainly worth buying.

 


Update April & May 2011:

I noticed that Tesco raised the price to £3.30 and that Sainsbury started selling the same model for £2.99.