Shanghai’s FuZhou road
You might remember Keyroad, a stationery shop on Shanghai’s FuZhou road, from the blog post about the Simbalion Graphic Pencils or from the blog post about the Deli pencil sharpener 0635. How could I not go there again this year… This time I was actually more excited by two other shops on FuZhou road, but I will not go into more detail now and will write more about them another time.
Back to Keyroad. I bought several packs of pencils, including a few different types of wooden pencils made by M&G, a stationery manufacturer from Shanghai which I only knew as a manufacturer of mechanical pencils and other stationery, but whose wooden pencils I have either never seen or I must have forgotten about.
Chung Hwa 6903
The best looking pencil in the shop was, however, the Chung Hwa 6903. A round, brown pencil with a white-painted cap and golden lettering. What a magnificent looking pencil, at least in my (subjective) opinion. I am not really a fan of round pencils and prefer hexagonal pencils, probably because I don’t have to write using pencils for six hours in one go… Nevertheless, the elegant look of this pencil, the great combination of colours used, the lettering and, not so common for a Chinese pencil, the painted cap made this pencil the star of the shelf.
There was some disappointment when I sharpened the first 6903 a few days later, the cheapish looking red wood does take some of the magic of the pencil away. There are also some gold flecks on the pencil body near the lettering and the white cap could have been painted a bit better. The 6903 seems to have a slightly larger diameter than some other round pencils, like the Faber-Castell 9008, but compared to the 9008 the difference is less than 1mm.
Keeping in mind that this is not an expensive pencil, I paid ¥9.9 (~ £1; $1.55; €1.25) for a dozen, the 6903 provides excellent value for money. The graphite transfer between pages for text written with a 6903 HB is similar to the transfer that is occuring with a Staedtler Mars Lumograph HB, definitely worse than a Staedtler Wopex HB and definitely better than a Tombow Mono 100 HB. If you have a chance to get the Chung Hwa 6903 for a good price you should definitely give it a go.
I am quite happy with these pencils, but wish there was a better version, made of cedar wood, or at least something not so red. I’d be more than happy to pay extra for the better material.
Price: December 2011
Exchange rates: January 2012
The Chung Hwa Drawing Pencil 101 has been reviewed in a previous blog post.
I was excited when I saw these Lego erasers in John Lewis. The excitement subsided when I saw the price: £7.95 (~$12.15; €9.60) for a pack of four – much more expensive than the ones from Senator. On closer inspection the rubber seems to have more ‘swirls’ on the surface …which makes them look worse than the Senator ones, but as I didn’t compare them side by side my impression might be wrong. As far as I can tell these new(?), expensive erasers are not made by Senator. I wonder whether the Senator ones are still being made. Maybe different companies make Lego erasers. Suffice to say that I didn’t buy them for this price.
Price and exchange rates: January 2012
I spent Christmas and New Year in Shanghai and saw our old friend, the green Chung Hwa 101, again …on many occasions. I even think that there were more 101s and fewer unidentifiable No Name pencils than in the past. I did however see one specific pencil replacing the 101 in several places were the 101 was previously the only dominant pencil.
The contender that took over some restaurant tables and cashier desks was the Chung Hwa 6151, previously reviewed at pencil talk. The fact that the 6151 comes with an eraser must make it more desirable in many situations – like the one on the photo, where it is used by patrons to order dim sum by marking the desired types and quantities on a menu.