Yearly Archives: 2010

Eraser Bonanza 3

In a recent post (“My favourite eraser”) I wrote about the Faber-Castell 18 71 20 Dust-Free eraser. In a comment to this post Henrik mentioned Staedtler’s PVC free eraser, which he said is quite similar. Curios about the Staedtler’s performance I got hold of this eraser andoday I want to write a bit more about this eraser and about the Läufer Oval Office.

The Staedtler 525 B30 PVC-free eraser

What I like most about the recently reviewed Faber-Castell 18 71 20 Dust-Free eraser is that you only need to apply very little force when erasing and that it does erase very thoroughly, much better than most other erasers. To my surprise the material of the Taiwanese-made Staedtler 525 B30 PVC-free eraser seems to be even softer than that of Faber-Castell’s dust-free eraser. It is therefore also no surprise that you do need to apply more force when you use the Faber-Castell eraser. This might be down to the fact that when I compared them the Staedtler eraser was brand new, freshly unwrapped, while one of my Faber-Castells has seen a few months, the other one a few years of use and contact with air. Just like Faber-Castell’s eraser the Staedler is also available in two sizes: the model number of the big one ends with 20, the number of the smaller one ends with 30.

Conclusion: The Staedtler is an exceptionally good eraser. It is not my favourite but comes very close. One disadvantage for me (others might not mind at all) is that the eraser waste does not twists up into strands, which makes it a bit more messy when you want to clean the paper and get rid of the eraser waste – but to be honest, for most erasers the waste does not twist up into strands, so this is nothing unusual.

I bought the Staedtler 525 B30 in November 2010 for 47c (~62¢, ~38p).

Läufer Oval Office

Läufer is relatively well known in Germany for their erasers. In 2004 Läufer merged with Gutenberg, a company some stationery fans might recognise because they supply indelible, permanent ink used for official documents – in Germany many dioceses and government offices use their G10 ink for official documents. As far as I know Läufer & Gutenberg are now part of Société Bic, the company that owns the BIC brand – but I have not been able to confirm this.

The Läufer Oval Office is, in my opinion, an average eraser when it comes to perfermance and the material it is made of. It is mainly interesting because of it’s shape and that is also why I bought it. The Oval Office has the shape of a stretched lens. While the 90° angle of a traditional eraser will soon get too wide for erasing small areas, the shape of the Oval Office means that it can be used for more precise erasing for longer.

Conclusion: A nice eraser I will use occasionally. The shape is practical and looks nice, but performance-wise I would describe this eraser as ‘normal’.

I bought the Läufer Oval Office in November 2010 for € 1.69 (~$ 2.20, ~£ 1.40).

The Staedtler Mars rasor you can see in the photos has been reviewed at pencil talk.

Prices: November 2010

Exchange rates: December 2010

I bought all three erasers in November 2010 from Schule-Uni-Shop. The Staedtler Mars rasor was € 1.37 (~$ 1.80, ~£ 1.15).

On a slighlty unrelated note: If you like Staedtler AND Star Wars, have a look at this article: Staedtler and Star Wars

No Montblanc Season’s Greetings ink for 2010

Sad news, at least for those of us who like fountain pens. After searching the Fountain Pen Network and not being able to find any information about this year’s Season’s Greetings ink I  just called a Montblanc boutique…

…and found out that there is no Season’s Greetings ink for 2010 …What a shame!

Maybe this should not be too much of a surprise after they recycled 2008’s White Forest ink in 2009. The reasons for last year’s recycling are now unclear. Was it because of quality issues or did they just have too much stock left?

If you want to read more about the Season’s Greetings inks that were available from 2005 to 2009 have a look at this blog post.

Faber-Castell TK-Fine 13

Today: a mechanical pencil – The Faber-Castell TK-Fine, which is – despite the similar name – quite different to the TK-Fine Vario L, discussed by Dave. or the TK-Fine Executive, also reviewed by Dave.

Price-wise the TK-Fine is only about a third of the price of the TK-Fine Vario L. The TK-Fine is also slighlty cheaper than the Executive version, but this price difference is not that big.

All of the different TK-Fine pencils come in Faber-Castell’s famous dark green colour you know from the Castell 9000, but the TK-Fine version does not have the twist eraser, nor does it have (adjustable) lead cushioning. Another difference is that the Vario has a grooved metal grip area and that the Executive has a similar plastic grip while the TK-Fine‘s grip area is very much like the Apollo‘s. The Apollo has unfortunately disappeared, but a few weeks ago Lexikaliker had a post about the Apollo (Google translation of Lexikaliker’s Apollo post) and he was even kind enough to give his Apollo to an artist whose Apollo broke after 15 years of intense use.

…but the grip is not the only similarity between the Apollo and the TK-Fine. Let’s have a closer look at the similarities and differences between the Apollo and the TK-Fine.

The Apollo was available from 1983 until 2000. Different version can be seen in Lexikaliker’s post and in my opinion the Apollo XL looks just beautiful!

The TK-Fine has been available for over ten years and looks very similar, the main difference in appearance being the different top cap. It is actually being manufactured using the same tools that were used to make the Apollo, but the TK-Fine is made for technical drawings with a rigid, but fully-retractable lead sleeve, similar to the one you might know from Staedtler’s Mars micro. The Apollo on the other hand was made for writing and had a sliding sleeve that retracts as the pencil is used.

The TK-Fine is being produced in Geroldsgrün in Upper Franconia (Germany) available in 0.35mm (TK-Fine 9713), 0.5mm (9715), 0.7mm (9717) and 1.0mm (9719) and has an according top cap marked according to the ISO norm for technical drawing.

I bought the TK-Fine 9717 in April 2010 in Müller in Volkach (Germany) for €4,39 (~$5.80; £3.70) and the TK-Fine 9715 from, who also ship internationally, for € 2,67 (~$3.50; £2.25). The price in the UK is comparatively high: At CultPens TK-Fine sells for £4.16 (~$6.50; €4.90).


The TK-Fine offers great value for money if you find a shop that sells it for a reasonable price, but since it is not a common pencil you might have problems getting hold of one.It comes with 3 super-polymer leads in HB, offers a pocket-safe lead sleeve (fully-retractable), it is colour coded according to ISO for lead width, it has an adjustable lead-grade indicator (2B – 4H, plus one neutral setting) and the eraser comes with a cleaning pin.

Prices: April 2010 and November 2010

Exchange Rates: December 2010

I would like to thank Ms Schaklies from Faber-Castell Customer Care for the additional information about the TK-Fine.

By the way… Faber-Castel made it into the Economist again. This time into the Economist’s Schumpeter column, which was introduced about a year ago.