Monthly Archives: March 2014


National Stationery Week 6

Our cousins across the pond were celebrating National Pencil Day yesterday …and here in the UK we start this week’s National Stationery Week with today’s Pencil Day (Tomorrow is Notebook Day).

 

Happy National Stationery Week!

 

Unfortunately I’m a bit behind with my blog posts [1]You might have spotted Contrapuntalism’s blog post that gives you an idea why. Not that this was unexpected – but it was expected for May, not March.. I hope I’ll be able to write about my parcels from Fudepens, Banditapple and La La Land soon.

References

References
1You might have spotted Contrapuntalism’s blog post that gives you an idea why. Not that this was unexpected – but it was expected for May, not March.

The Lyra Temagraph and the Eisen 480 9

I guess I should stick to pencils, the clam clips blog post really wasn’t popular, so here’s a new blog posts about a pencil and a sharpener/eraser combo. The pencil side of today’s post is, to some extent, linked to an earlier blog post about the Amos Dixon Ticonderoga and to pencil talk’s blog post about Fila’s global pencils. I’ll be writing about Lyra’s Temagraph. The sharpener side of the post is linked to an earlier post about the Eisen 402.

A Temagraph next to a Ticonderoga

A Temagraph next to a Ticonderoga

 

The Lyra Temagraph

Temagraph

Assumed origin: from Greek thema + -graph: An instrument for writing about a topic, theme or proposition

The Temagraph has been available for some time now, but in the past it was only available under the Fila brand name. You can see pictures of the old Fila Temagraph at Lápis and Pencils and at pencil talk. After Fila (Italy) bought Dixon (USA) and Lyra (Germany) they started ‘adjusting’ their products, including the Temagraph. The Temagraph suddenly started to look pretty much like the Dixon Ticonderoga (metallic green font on a yellow pencil) and is now marketed [1]It’s advertising includes promises such as “The best designers choose the excellent lines of Temagraph pencils.” and “The best illustrators choose the clean line left by … Continue reading as a Lyra pencil, rather than as a Fila pencil.

Look

Two sides of the pencil are a labelled. The Temagraph side is labelled in metallic green. Opposite is the barcode side, labelled in black. The Temagraph has a end cap similar to the Noris, indicating lead hardness, but with a straight line around the corners.

Material

The FSC code on the packaging doesn’t leave any doubt about the Temagraph being linked to the Ticonderoga. The certificate is linked to the Beijing Fila Dixon Stationery Co., Ltd [2]Timberlines has further information about the Chinese manufacturer of these pencils. and shows that the pencil is made using Tilia spp., which includes many species of linden trees (also called lime trees or basswood).

The barcode side of the Temagraph and the Eisen 480

The barcode side of the Temagraph and the Eisen 480

Availability

Even though it is officially a Lyra pencil (and Lyra is/was a German brand) I have never seen this pencil in any shop in Germany. It dos however seem to be more popular in Fila’s home country Italy. When looking for the Temagraph on Amazon UK I could only find Italian sellers offering this pencil. Mine are from a local shop in Germany. They didn’t stock any, but a few years ago I asked them to order a few for me.

Performance

The Temagraph feels fairly smooth and puts down a very dark line. As you might have guessed from the fact that it’s a dark line – the lead rather soft, which means that point retention is not as good as it is with a normal pencil. In my case that means that I’m happy to use the Temagraph for writing the occaional sentence (think calendar entries), but I wouldn’t want to use it write a lot as it would need sharpening too often.

The Eisen 480 taken apart

The Eisen 480 taken apart

The Eisen 480

I sharpened the Temagraph with Eisen’s model 480. The Eisen 480 sharpens with an angle of approx. 21°. It’s a container sharpener that comes with an eraser, to some extent similar to the Faber-Castell Sharpener-eraser pen 18 44 01. The container for the shavings can be rotated and will lock in one of two positions: sharpener accessible and sharpener closed, to prevent shavings from falling out.

What an excellent point

What an excellent point

The eraser comes with a lid and fits exactly under the lid. Eraser performance is good. It’s a TPR (thermoplastic rubber) eraser that produces strands that roll together, to some extent similar to a dust-free eraser, but not as extreme, but eraser performance overall is no match for the excellent performance of the sharpener, which produces a nice, continuous strand of shavings with a thickness of about 0.2 mm. The blade is made in Baiersdorf, the container is made in Taicang, where assembly takes place, and the eraser is bought in.

 


You can find out more about the Temagraph at Lexikaliker.

The grey background in the photos (except the last photo) is from Atoma’s Alain Bertreau notebook. I placed the items in the A4 version of this notebook.

I bought the Temagraph in Germany, but can’t remember how much I paid for them.

I have received the Eisen 480 as a free sample from Eisen. Mr. Leistner provided further information. I don’t believe that, when I received the sample, Eisen was aware that I have a blog. I also don’t believe that not having paid for this sharpener has influenced my opinion of the sharpener in any way.

References

References
1It’s advertising includes promises such as “The best designers choose the excellent lines of Temagraph pencils.” and “The best illustrators choose the clean line left by Temagraph pencils! Superior quality, gold series, fine graphite for clean-cut lines, Temagraph pencils come with an extra-resistant and easy to sharpen and original green metal band indicating the grade.” Despite this promise the green band isn’t made from metal. I’m also not sure though what the green band is resistant to, why you would want to sharpen it. The green band doesn’t indicate the grade either. I’m not sure whether the best illustrators really choose the Temagraph, so like with a lot of advertising I choose not to believe this until I see proof supporting this statement.
2Timberlines has further information about the Chinese manufacturer of these pencils.

Clam clips 14

Today I want to show you a type of clip that I use often and that’s very practical. Like the Ohto (officially OHTO) super clip and the corner clips, this type of clip is not very popular and this time I’m not even sure what to call this clip – there are so many different names for this type of clip. A few of the common names are: clam clip, supaclip, power clip, gachuck and nalclip.

The slot loading version

The slot loading version and an Altoids tin with clips

Instructions from Yoyo's ex-power clipper

Instructions
(© Yoyo)

 

Function [1]This is gone be complicated, it’s probably easier if you just look at the pictures.

We are basically talking about a foldback clip (also called foldover clip or binder clip – here in the UK often called a bulldog clip) without the wire handle. This makes the whole clip quite a bit smaller as you leave out the two handles to open the clip which also means that the clip doesn’t need the small loops necessary for the handles. The disadvantage: you can’t easily open the clip any more when you want to clip it into paper, unless you have a clipper/dispenser, the device necessary to clip these clam clips onto the paper. Removing these clips is generally possible by pulling the clip off, most dispensers have a lip at the base to make pulling clips off easier. Even though you can remove them easily enough they clip the paper well enough so that the clip won’t come off by itself.

 

supaclipHistory

Ohto calls their version of this device Gachuck …because of the sound the dispenser makes when clipping paper together. I think in their version of the story the Gachuck’s inventor, a Mr. Sato, tried to approach several companies, but none were interested in this clipping system, until in 1980 he approached OHTO, back then still called AUTO, which then took on this product. Other companies have registered their names for these clips, too. Rapesco’s Supaclip even came with the tag line “The Original”.

 

 

Different versions

Clips from different manufacturers

Clips from different manufacturers

There are many different versions of the clipper/dispenser and of the clips – made by many different manufacturers. I know of four different types of clippers and have three of the four different types. You can find each of these different types of clippers from different manufacturers and in different sizes. Clips are available in different widths as well as with different thickness to handle more sheets if needed.

Most clippers will only handle one size of clips, but will usually be able to handle clips made from different material. Most clips are made from stainless steel, but there are also plastic clips and clips made from a paper and polypropylene mix.

– Slot loading version

clips and clippers

You can see that the blue clipper as been fixed with tape. This type of clipper will usually get damaged when trying to remove a stuck clip.

The most common version these days seems to be the slot loading version [2]This is just my name for this type. If you know what this and other versions are officially called, please let me know.. You load the clips by feeding them into the slot at the back of the clipper. The slider, used to dispense the clips, is connected to a spring. It will automatically slide back after dispensing a clip, so you can use it again immediately. You will have to hold the clipper front down to get the next clip to slide to the front of the dispensing mechanism as clips will slide around in the dispenser, especially if the dispenser is nearly empty. The biggest disadvantage of the slot loading version: if a clip gets stuck you usually can’t remove it without inadvertently breaking the plastic off that prevents clips in the dispenser from falling out.

 

 – Spring loaded version

This is my favourite version, unfortunately this version seems to be pretty hard to find these days. The advantage over the common slot loading version: the slider will slide back after use and will stop just after the next clip to be dispensed.

The spring loaded version and some plastic clips

The spring loaded version and some plastic clips

This means you can keep using the machine without having to turn it front down to get the next clip to the front. This is achieved using a spring mechanism similar to the one you will find in some good staplers [3]My Leitz stapler has a very similar mechanism. The disadvantage: you need to open the clipper, similar to a stapler, to reload it. This takes slightly longer than reloading the slot loading version.

The spring loaded version, open

The spring loaded version, open

– Springless version

This version doesn’t have any spring. This means that additionally to holding the clipper front down, to get the clip in the right position to be dispensed, you also need to use your thumb to move the slider to the back, to be in the right position to dispense the clip.

The springless version next to an Altoids tin I use to store clips

The springless version next to an Altoids tin I use to store clips

This is the least comfortable to use version, but fixing any stuck clips is much easier compared to the spring loaded version. It can usually be done without damaging the clipper.

The springless version, open

The springless version, open

– Cartridge fed version

I don’t own a cartridge fed version, but as the name suggests you load the clipper by inserting a cartridge with clips. You can see a photo of this version on Ohto’s web site.

 

Usage

I like these clam clips a lot. I often use them to temporarily clip sheets of paper together that will get properly stapled at a later stage. If you have a dispenser at hand these clam clips are faster to use and more convenient that foldback clips.

Most of my clippers and clips were bought in Shanghai were a clipper or a pack of clips usually costs around 5-10 RMB (~80c – $1.50; ~50p – £1; 60c – €1). They are sold under the following brands: Bona, Comix and Deli. I bought the springless clipper many years ago from Schreibwaren Jäcklein in Volkach. It’s from Yoyo, distributed my Metzger & Mendle [4]I’ve been meaning to reciew their inks for a few years now. I should definitely try to do that soon.. I think I paid just above €5 (~$7; £4) for it. Replacement clips were just above €3 (~$4). Replacement clips bought in the UK are similarly priced.

Has anyone seen the spring loaded version of the clipper? I’d like to get another one [5]The one in the pictures actually belongs to my wife, but I’ve used it almost exclusively for the last few years. – they are great and the one I’m using has never had any problems with clogging up, unlike the slot loading clippers I’ve used.

A clip in use

A clip in use

 


No proper dates this time as I’ve bought these items over many years. The exchange rates given in the text are also only a rough guideline, as I just want to illustrate what you can expect to pay if you’re after one of these clippers.

References

References
1This is gone be complicated, it’s probably easier if you just look at the pictures.
2This is just my name for this type. If you know what this and other versions are officially called, please let me know.
3My Leitz stapler has a very similar mechanism
4I’ve been meaning to reciew their inks for a few years now. I should definitely try to do that soon.
5The one in the pictures actually belongs to my wife, but I’ve used it almost exclusively for the last few years.

Welcome to the pencil land 11

Let’s be honest. People have really been struggling to remember how to spell Bleistift.

 

What was that address again for that pencil blog? Not the good one, the one with the brown/black logo at the top? bliestitf.mmem.de or something like that?

 

Well, there’s an easy solution to that problem now.

Welcome to pencil.land [1]“.land” is one of those fancy new domains. – where smooth pencils are plentiful and scratchy ones are banned. Erasers are dust-free and sharpener produce a perfect point every time.

 

I don’t intend to rename the blog, but I hope things are easier next time when you struggle to remember how to get here. The tagline under the blog’s name will therefore change. It used to be “don’t like scratchy pencils”, then it was “any old pencil won’t do” [2]Think Tina Turner’s Private Dancer, now I’ll have to add pencil land.

References

References
1“.land” is one of those fancy new domains.
2Think Tina Turner’s Private Dancer