Sawdust clay – Make your own pencil set 5


This is not the first time I mention Muji1, a Japanese retail company with stores in many countries. Their idea sounds good: No brand2 quality goods with a simple, often minimalist design. The problem is that many of their products aren’t really “quality” as promised by the brand name. I remember buying a very nice, not cheap teapot that cracked the first time we put hot water in it3. Their Memo Pads don’t work well with fountain pens and their “cotton fabric bonded cover” notebooks are a catastrophe with fountain pens. I don’t think I have ever seen paper that is less able to cope with ink. They do however have nice products, too. Their “passport” notebooks for example – and William Gibson swears by their toothpaste. A few years ago I tried it for fun, but wasn’t too excited about it.

Make your own pencil set

Last week I went to the Muji store in Manchester’s Trafford Centre land saw this “Sawdust clay – Make your own pencil set”. Originally £3.95 (~ $6,45; €4.50) it was on sale for £1 (~ $1.63; €1.14). I couldn’t resist and bought three of these sets. There are no instructions in text form, there are only the instructions in picture form printed on the box. Each set contains 5 lead (length 9cm, diameter ~ 2mm) and two individually wrapped bricks of wet sawdust clay (~ 65 g each). As you can see from the instructions the clay doesn’t need to be dried on an oven. I assume it will just dry out slowly, once taken out of the protective wrapping.

When commenting on one of my previous blog posts Stationery Traffic suggested that I should bake a cake in the shape of a pencil – but now I’m in a situation that works the other way round: what shape should I make these pencils in? Suggestions are welcome.

Prices and exchange rates: July 2011

  1. 無印良品 []
  2. Their products don’t have the Muji logo printed on them []
  3. I refer you to this Lexikaliker blog post and its comments that shows that water should be boiling for certain types of tea. Our water wasn’t even boiling, but the teapot just didn’t like it. []

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5 thoughts on “Sawdust clay – Make your own pencil set

  • Henrik

    What a great item. Have you had a chance to try it? I would like to see the result. 🙂
    Re. the Muji memo block and fountain pens: Thanks to you I own some Muji products and I think the catastrophe depends on which fountain pen you use – a really dry XF nib works fine for me. (Most modern pens tend to be Medium and rather wet)

  • Matthias

    Thanks for your comments.

    Gunther, I am not sure I have the necessary talent to shape and mould pencils with so fine shapes – I am not Fimo trained like you 8^)

    Henrik, I haven’t tried it out yet as I am quite busy with work these days. I hope I’ll have a chance to try it out soon, but I need an idea for the shape first. About Muji paper: I did try some very dry fountain pens in the “cotton fabric bonded cover” notebooks – no joy. I didn’t try a XF nib though. My EF nibs are normal, not very dry.

  • hen

    Wow – so cool. I’ve never saw the sawdust clay pencil set in one of their Tokyo stores or in their NYC location. I would love to try it out. Hope you post some photos when you test your sets out!