Monthly Archives: June 2012

The yellow Wopex 9

As a complement to Lexikaliker’s yellow Wopex, here a photo of the yellow Wopex blister pack available in the UK. I bought this pack of five Wopex plus eraser and sharpener  this April for £2.99 [1]plus 90p shipping (~$4.69; €3.70). Unfortnately I haven’t seen the eraser-tipped version from Lexikaliker’s blog post yet, but I will definitely buy it if I ever see it.

East…West…Everywhere wrote a blog post about the green version, available in the USA, that comes with Staedtler-made eraser caps. These eraser caps are basically a white version of the eraser caps that are quite common in North-America [2]Some pencils in North America come with these erasers attached to them, the Magic Writer for example.  You can also spot them fairly often in American TV shows, e.g. in Two And A Half Men..

Price: April 2012
Exchange rates: June 2012


1plus 90p shipping
2Some pencils in North America come with these erasers attached to them, the Magic Writer for example.  You can also spot them fairly often in American TV shows, e.g. in Two And A Half Men.

Guest Review By Kevin Of The Carl Angel-5 “Premium” Model Rotary Sharpener A5PR 12

Today: A blog post by Kevin from Down Under

Hi Matthias/readers:- today after a lot of searching through Japanese sites, I received the above sharpener from a store (AT-N) on (English version here). The store in this link, I’m showing because it has a close up of the rotary unit, showing the stamping “CARL” and “MADE IN JAPAN”. The standard Carl Angel-5 sharpener is now made in China. The following comments may be useful:


Design Differences to the standard CARL ANGEL-5:
1. Rubber padded pencil grippers
2. Chrome handles (pincers) in place of plastic pincers.
3. Crank handle has a nicer triangular plastic holding part in place of the ribbed plastic handle on the CA-5.
4. The milled rotary unit is stamped “CARL”, “MADE IN JAPAN”.


Usage Differences: – Now comes the disappointing part:
The rotary unit is not the same as the original CARL ANGEL – the point it produces is similar to the Mitsubishi KH-20, a somewhat dull point, and shorter, fatter cone – although I gather this is more preferred by “writers”. As I use this sharpener for sketching/drawing in a small A6 size sketchbook, my needs are for a “as sharp as reasonably possible” point. Even with the standard CARL ANGEL-5 I invariably touch up the point to serious needle sharpness with a OLFA cutting knife.


There was, however, a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow….but it means owning the two sharpeners – the Original and the Premium.
I swapped the rotary unit including the crank handles ( the premium crank handle fits the standard Carl, but unfortunately the standard Carl crank handle doesn’t fit the Premium rotary unit – weird, I know) between each sharpener…(twenty seconds) and now I have my perfect (for me) sharpener, albeit using the “cheaper Chinese” but “better” rotary mechanism from the Standard Carl Angel-5. Now I can sharpen (and already have) my premium pencils in a truly “premium” sharpener, giving me what I always wanted:
– the long cone and sharp point of the standard Carl Angel-5 AND just as importantly to me
– rubber padded pencil grippers to keep the pencil surface pristine… very necessary when sketching, where visual distractions can be a problem to the creative process.
FC 9000, Staedtler Mars, Palomino Blackwing 602, and some vintage American drawing pencils now look much prettier when I’m sketching.


The important bits:
I paid net Y2000 (they deduct Japanese tax) and Y1860 shipping EMS. Total cost – just over AUD50.00. The process of ordering on Rakuten is quite simple and there is no need to become a member. I mucked up my credit card expiry and Rakuten admin simply cancelled the transaction with the store (AT-N) – I received a cancellation email, and I placed a new order without problem. The English translations of the numerous emails (shipping, cancellation, order, new order, etc) are quite amusing, but sufficient to get the message across.


Matthias and fellow readers, I hope this is of some help.

Staedtler Noris 120 11

Top to bottom: Malaysia, Great Britain, Germany

In a previous blog post I compared three Staedtler tradition 110 pencils, made in three different factories – the one in Wales, the one in Australia and the one in Germany. Today I want to look at three different Staedtler Noris 120 pencils – made in Malaysia, Wales and Germany. I bought a dozen of the Malaysian Noris in March 2010 for £2.24 (~ $3.40; €2.78) from a Malaysian seller on eBay.

Noris presharpened, top to bottom: Malaysia, Great Britain, Germany

The only pencil from this comparison that is still in production is the Nuremberg-made Noris. The factory in Malaysia closed down two years ago and the factory in Wales closed down four years ago. You can still find Welsh-made pencils in the UK, but there are very few shops left that still have stock. I am not sure about the situation in Malaysia, but I assume most of the Malaysian Noris are also sold by now. In a previous blog post I mentioned that 2B is the most common pencil grade in Malaysia. It is so popular in Malaysia that the Malaysian Noris is only available in 2B, therefore I’ll compare it with the Welsh and German Noris in 2B.

Different caps – Top to bottom: Malaysian 2B, Welsh 2B, Welsh B, German 2B

The colour of the Noris cap normally indicates the pencil grade. The HB Noris has a red cap. Strangely enough the cap colour is not consistent. The older Welsh and Malaysian 2B Noris have black caps, while the newer German Noris, bought in April 2012 at Müller in Volkach, Germany for €0.59 (~ $0.73; £0.47), has an orange cap, similar, but a slightly lighter in colour than the orange cap of a Welsh Noris B.

Noris sharpener (511 004) and two wedge sharpeners (510 10 and 510 50)

Which eraser could be most suitable to sharpen a Noris? None other than the Staedtler Noris sharpener, of course. Bought at Currys / PC World in Preston, when they tried to get rid of their stationery in December 2011 this sharpener was part of a ‘study set’ that came with 2 Noris HB, one Staedtler Mars plastic eraser and the Staedtler Noris sharpener for £1.17 (~ $1.79; €1.45). The blister pack says “Made in Germany”, but the wedge sharpener in the Noris sharpener is made in China, or at least the the metal body of the sharpener inside is. I wonder why Staedtler put a metal sharpener in there. Most people probably wouldn’t notice and Staedtler sells plastic sharpeners with the same form factor that could have been used in the Noris sharpener to keep the price down…

The W wedge sharpener in the Noris sharpener

The bottom of the metal sharpener 510 10 in the Noris sharpener features a ‘W’, which indicates that this sharpener is one of Staedtler’s newer sharpeners, optimised for use with the Wopex. It has a sharpening angle of 23°. The thickness of the shavings produced by the Wopex-optimised sharpener is the same as the one by the older model, usually just under 0.3 mm. I assume the difference is in the way the blade has been sharpened.

The older 510 10 wedge sharpener

I used a notepad from Brunnen [1]bought in August 2011 at McPaper in Schweinfurt, Germany for €1.19 (~ $1.46; £0.96) to compare the different leads in terms of smoothness, reflectiveness, darkness, erasability, graphite transfer to another page and how long they keep the point. As far as I can tell the three different Noris perform very similar. The graphite from the Malaysian Noris might transfer a bit easier to another page, e.g. in a diary, but it’s only every so slightly worse than the other two Noris pencils.

No bar code on the Malaysian Noris

In terms of exterior appearance the Welsh and German Noris are nearly on par, with the paint on the Noris from Nuremberg being slightly more even. The paint of the Malaysian Noris is however much worse, but still better than the no name or own brand pencils you usually get in super markets. The Welsh Noris has a diameter of 7mm, which is slightly more than the 6.9mm the Malaysian and German pencils have.

For me the Noris is THE typical pencil. Previous blog posts showed the Noris being featured on TV. Today I want to add two more screen shots. One from Episodes, where Sean Lincoln (played by Stephen Mangan [2]…who recently, as Dirk Gently, used a Faber-Castell Grip 2001 ) is using a Stadtler Noris in the USA, even though it isn’t officially on sale in the USA. The character must have brought it from the UK, the desk is full of Noris pencils ..or, in the real world, this scene might have been filmed in the UK.

Episodes (Image © Hat Trick)

The other screen shot is from episode 705 “Liebeswirren” of German/Austrian/Swiss crime TV series Tatort. One of the actors in this episode from Munich was Christoph Waltz of Inglourious Basterds fame.

Tatort (Image © Bayerischer Rundfunk)

Exchange rates: June 2012.

I believe that the use of the following images falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service:

  • The screen shot of Stephen Mangan and the Staedtler Noris, taken from episode three of the second season of the TV series Episodes
  • The screen shot of Udo Wachtveitl and the Staedtler Nori, taken from the Tatort #705  Liebeswirren


1bought in August 2011 at McPaper in Schweinfurt, Germany for €1.19 (~ $1.46; £0.96)
2…who recently, as Dirk Gently, used a Faber-Castell Grip 2001