Staedtler Wopex 2B and 2H

I have been looking forward to receiving Staedtler’s Wopex in 2B and in 2H since I started using the Wopex HB a few weeks ago. Even though writing with this pencil is somehow strange, it is also quite nice at the same time. If the Wopex is not over-sharpened and if you write on the right kind of surface it will perform really well. Another thing I should mention is that the Wopex does not smudge, something I find quite important (others might not care).

Back to the main topic: I received the Wopex in 2B and in 2H and after trying the new pencils for a few seconds I was quite disappointed. Not because they do not perform well (they are nice writers), but because I really struggle to find a difference between the 2B, the HB and the 2H. They lay down a line of the same intensity, they ‘shade’ paper the same way, erasing them is virtually the same and they all do not smudge either.

Is selling the same pencil under different grades some sort of marketing trick?

Did I get a bad bunch?

…or does the production process mean that the different grades of lead are the same at the ‘start’ of the pencil and the real lead will appear after more sharpening?

I would be very interested to hear whether other Wopex users have the same problem.

Comparison Staedtler Wopex / Mars Lumograph

You can find a review of the Staedtler Wopex HB at pencil talk.

Lexikaliker has a review (in German) of the Staedtler Wopex HB (Google Translation of the article into English) and of the Staedtler Wopex 2B (Google Translation of the article into English).

The Staedtler Wopex was recently mentioned in the Battle of the eco pencils post.

My mother bought the Staedtler Wopex 2B and 2H from Bürobedarf Jäcklein in Volkach and sent them to me. At about €1 each they were rather dear, but you can find them cheaper online.

11 thoughts on “Staedtler Wopex 2B and 2H”

  1. Thank you for sharing your observations and the link. If the different grades are so similar, the purpose of the grades is defeated. I can’t comment further as I haven’t yet seen the 2H or 2B versions.

  2. You are right on the grading. My recent purchase shows similar results to yours, with little difference under any pressure between the HB and 2H, however I think when increasing beyond normal presuure the 2B is darker by about a shade. I’m more concerned with the sharpening abilities of this pencil. It gives my Carl Angel – 5 one hell of a fight and the sharpener doesn’t get that loose feeling when the pencil is sharpened – it still stays tight to turn. I’v had more luck using a Faber Castell swivel sharpener although I suspect the rubber type liningof the pencil will blunt the sharpener blade in no time. I think I will need a dedicated sharpener for this pencil. Why don’t manufacturers ever consider the sharpening ability of a pencil?. Anyway it is a nice writer and if I can slove the sharpening dilemma I will definitely be using them in the future.

  3. About sharpening, after reading memm’s eco pencil review I bought a handful of cheap (<0.5 CAD) sharpeners along with a pack of Wopex HB. It is a bit tricky to sharpen: I tried it in a Staedtler 2-hole cylindrical first just to see how bad it is, after 2 turns I pulled the wopex out, quoting Kevin, the sharpener had to 'fight'. However, with a small handheld 1-hole Eisen sharpener pushing the tip of wopex lightly against the blade and turning the pencil gently, it sharpens quite effortlessly. I'm yet to get a smooth lead surface with this technique, but at least the sharpener doesn't have to fight.

    Memm once speculated blades made in German might differ in performance compared to unlabelled blades (taking out some other factors), so I should point out the blade in the above mentioned Staedtler sharpener doesn't bear any marking and the Eisen blade was made in Germany, and in general the Eisen outperforms the Staedtler. So I'm not sure if I should attribute the ease of sharpening to the shape of sharpener or to the blade. The point of this comment though is, with the 'right' sharpener one can sharpen a wopex without exerting much force.

  4. Kevin, after I tried to sharpen mine in my Deli 0635, but the sharpener was never the same afterwards. I now have a Eisen 402 at home and one in the office, just for the Wopex (which I use quite often recently).

    Claire, I would be interest to know how your Wopex pack looked like. Was it a blister pack? I am just trying to find out whether there is a cardboard box with a dozen (as this the packaging I prefer for pencils). My speculation about the German blades was referring to Eisen 402 blades. I recently read somewhere that all Eisen blades are Made in Germany, even the ones for sharpener bodies made in Taicang, but I read somewhere else that they manufacture blades in Taicang, too. I assume an unmarked blade could be from either of their factories, but both types of blades perform well when sharpening the Wopex.
    Do you know who manufactured the cheap sharpeners you mentioned?

  5. Kevin: I had the same experience with my Carl Angel — the auto-stop refused to engage and it just kept (slowly) chewing through the pencil.  I gave up rather quickly because I was worried about wrecking the sharpener.

    Due to the sharpening issue, I haven’t really used the Wopexes much.  It’s a shame, because when I have, I’ve liked the lead because it doesn’t smudge and there’s no discernible transfer between pages when writing on the reverse.

    Memm: The dozen HB Wopexes I bought came in a cardboard box, but not the usual six-wide/two-high configuration.  It was a wider, flatter box with a single row of pencils inside, and with a flap to tuck it closed again.  In that respect the box was almost as unusual as the pencils inside!

  6. Hmm a dozen pencils in a single row, probably more common for colored pencils than writing ones!

    Mine came in a blister package indeed, 10 pencils (not a dozen) with 5 eraser caps.
    Thanks for clarifying on the blades. I unfortunately don’t know more about the sharpeners. The cylindrical one says ‘made in China’ on the bottom, so it echoes what you said: blade is made in Germany while the body is made in China.

    I wonder though, in general how do people learn the origin (in terms of manufacturing) of a product down to the city: from the fact that the company has a factory there, or are there identifying information on the package and/or on the product itself?

  7. My Wopex pencils came in a pack of three on a blister card – 2H, HB, B … lucky to even get this in Australia, so I’m not complaining.

  8. … should read ‘2B’ NOT ‘B’… and I go back on my comment further up that the 2B is slightly darker…it ain’t, they are all the same darkness.

  9. Koralatov, thanks for the description of the box. Like Claire I know this single row cardboard box from coloured pencils.

    Claire, I didn’t know the Wopex is being sold with eraser caps. How did these eraser caps look like? Did they have Staedtler printed on them somewhere?

    Are your sharpeners from Eisen?

    About the city of manufacturing – that is probably the one thing I like most about Chinese supermarkets. For foerign good you always see the country of origin. For Chinese goods you see the city or at least the region where it has been manufactured, I really like this!

    Kevin, is the Wopex easy to find in Australia?

  10. memm: The eraser caps are small and arrowhead (think someone used this description). The tip is too flexible to be useful though, I have to press it down or turn sideways to use it. They don’t have any printing on them. The package says they are latex-free and pvc-free. They feel just like the eraser on Norica (though I suppose you haven’t seen one in person yet? heard Norica are not available in Europe). Norica is made in Thailand, I don’t know whether or not that says something about the origin of the eraser.

    I have Eisen 31 and 403. The one with unknown blade isn’t Eisen and I can’t identify it. Only Eisen sharpeners come with Eisen blades or does Eisen also supply blades to other companies? I’m guessing the latter will only bring competition.

  11. >Kevin, is the Wopex easy to find in Australia?

    Well it is easy in the sense that this three pack is sold in our one major “office chainstore” called Officeworks. I haven’t seen it anywhere else though.

    I’m still struggling on the darkness of the 2B – I’ve changed my mind once again and believe it is a little darker than the other two under heavier pressure – in other words it has a wider tonal range than the 2H and HB…JMO. This is only an advantage when drawing/sketching since normal pressure writing results in even grades between the three.

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