Month: January 2016

Pencil stuff!

Seen in the news

A pencil factory for Nigeria. If it really provides employment for 400,000 people it must be one heck of a factory.

 

wpid-wp-1452288285893.jpg

Seen in the supermarket

A magazine that comes with pencils. Int he past I’ve only seen (and bought) ‘children magazines’ (Simpsons, Disney) that came with pencils.

 

Seen in a shop on FuZhou road in Shanghai

A ‘graphite object’.

From the description:

Please Use! Functional Graphite Object writes like a pencil while resists staining your hands. Handcrafted using a proprietary technique that San Francisco artist Agelio Batle invented. With daily use they should last 7-9 years.

Functional Graphite Object writes like a pencil while resists staining your hands. Handcrafted using a proprietary technique that San Francisco artist Agelio Batle invented.
Functional Graphite Object writes like a pencil while resists staining your hands. Handcrafted using a proprietary technique that San Francisco artist Agelio Batle invented.

 

IMG_1041Seen at the chemist [1]Not any old chemist, even a dispensing chemist.

A crazy golf set – with one pencil, one golf putter eraser, three golf ball erasers and more.

 

Seen at the airport

Cheap Rhodia notebooks [2]Well, cheap for UK standards.. Only €1.20 for a Bloc Rhodia N° 12.

Relay

 

Man MugSeen in the catalogue of a distributor of electrical and related products

A Man Mug. Comes of course with a pencil!

References

References
1 Not any old chemist, even a dispensing chemist.
2 Well, cheap for UK standards.
Deli No.7083

Deli No.7083 HB

Shanghai
Shanghai
The Deli 7083 at Carrefour
The Deli 7083 at Carrefour

Yet another blog post related to my recent visit to Shanghai.

You might remember the Chung Hwa Drawing Pencil 101, together with the Chung Hwa 6151 it forms the pencil backbone of Shanghai. Whenever you see a pencil in Shanghai it usually is one of these two – and they are made in Shanghai, too.

…but what happened? Deli dared to enter Chung Hwa’s home turf – disturbing the natural order of things.

…and what a pencil they sent to threaten Chung Hwa’s hold on its home territory: it’s the Deli No.7083 [1]I assume the product number is derived from the last digits of the bar code before the heck digit …or maybe it’s the other way round..

The Chung Hwa 101 in its natural habitat
The Chung Hwa 101 in its natural habitat

Price

I bought the 7083 in the Carrefour in Shanghai’s Hongkou Dragon Dream Shopping Centre and paid 11.80 元  (~$1.80; £1.25; €1.65) for a dozen HB pencils. They were also available in 2B and 2H.

The Chung Hwa 6151 in its natural habitat
The Chung Hwa 6151 in its natural habitat

Appearance

Let’s look at the appearance first. The 7083 looks like a pencil with a very thick layer of paint. The paint seems to be applied very well, except near the end of the pencil, which seems to have been dipped in just a bit too much paint. The 7083 has an unusually large diameter for a modern pencil. The paint job and the large diameter make it feel like a much better pencil than what you’d expect from a pencil with this price tag.

Deli No.7083
Deli No.7083

It is dark green like the Chung Hwa 101, but there’s also a similarity with another pencil. The shade of green used is virtually identical to the one used for the Castell 9000.

Deli No.7083
Deli No.7083

Lead

The 7083 lays down a very dark line and feels very smooth, even creamy when writing – but just to put this into context, we are talking about a very cheap pencil. The 7083 is not as good as the big boys, like the Mars Lumograph. Nevertheless it is very good and probably the best pencil I have tried in this price range.

If I had to compare to a pencil that is well known I would compare it to Staedtler’s Mars Lumograph in B. Point retention is very similar, but in direct comparison it is ever so slightly lighter than the Lumograph in B and slightly less smooth and erases slightly worse than the Lumograph in B [2]In case you wonder why, based in these statements, I don’t compare it to the Lumograph in HB: It is still much closer to the Lumograph in B, which shows you how minute these differences are. .

It writes well even on paper that is not good for non-soft pencils, like the original (‘Kraft’?) Field Notes.

Deli No.7083
Deli No.7083

Wood

The wood is slightly red, similar to the one used for the Chung Hwa 101 and when you knife sharpen the 7083 you notice that the wood is harder than cedar wood.

Deli No.7083
Deli No.7083

Conclusion

A great pencil that is nearly as good as much more expensive pencils. It has a strong paint smell, similar to other Chinese pencils, but for this price you probably won’t be able to find a much better pencil.


Price: December 2015

Exchange rates: January 2016

Please open images in a new tab/window to see them at full resolution.

 

References

References
1 I assume the product number is derived from the last digits of the bar code before the heck digit …or maybe it’s the other way round.
2 In case you wonder why, based in these statements, I don’t compare it to the Lumograph in HB: It is still much closer to the Lumograph in B, which shows you how minute these differences are.
The Orenz - just beautiful

Pentel Orenz 0.3

Another blog post about my stationery adventures in Shanghai.

Orenz #4

This time I want to show you another mechanical pencil I bought: The Orenz in 0.3.

This is my fourth Orenz now, but the first one in 0.3 mm. I guess you might say I’m overdoing it a bit, but it is a really nice pencil, so I couldn’t resist trying out the 0.3 mm version.

This one has English packaging
This one has English packaging

Expectations

When I bought it I had certain expectations.

Hypothesis 1: The 0.3 mm will need more force to slide the sleeve than the 0.2 mm version.

This is based the assumption that there is a bigger area of contact between lead and sleeve and between the sleeve and the rest of the body, which would result in more friction.

Hypothesis 2: The Orenz in 0.3 mm will need less force than the Staedtler Microfix S 0.5 to slide the sleeve.

This is based the assumption that there is a smaller area of contact between lead and sleeve and between the sleeve and the rest of the body, which would result in less friction.

Orenz 0.3
The background is a tribute to Lexikaliker

Price and colour

I bought the black version for 50 元  (~$7.60; £5.20; €7) from Shanghai Jiajun Craft Gifts Co. Most stores on FuZHou Road charge 55 元, but one or two charged 50. I bought mine in one of the cheaper shops. Some of the Orenz in the shops had the Japanese packaging, some had the English packaging.

On the web I have seen a gorgeous dark green version of the Orenz, but I’ve only seen it online so far – it wasn’t available in any of the shops I visited, so in the end I bought the black version because I didn’t like pink and I already have the white and blue versioning 0.2 mm.

Well, I wasn’t keen on the black version when I bought it, but now I started to like it. With the right light the shiny black surface can look really good.

The Orenz - just beautiful

What about the sliding sleeve?

So what about the force needed to slide the sleeve.

Hypothesis 1 was correct. When I checked I had to use 1 dN – 2 dN to slide the sleeve, certainly much more than what is needed for the 0.2 mm version.

To my surprise Hypothesis 2 was not correct. I had to use more force to slide the sleeve of the Orenz in 0.3 mm compared to my Staedtler Microfix S 0.5 77305.

To qualify this point: Other Orenz and especially other Microfix might behave differently. Some leads might have a slightly different diameter than others, which might result in different numbers when testing the force needed. Plus: my Microfix was bought in the 1980s, Staedtler stopped selling them in 1988, so maybe it got better with time. On the other hand, maybe Staedtler just did a stellar job with the Microfix and created a sliding sleeve that is unsurpassed by modern pencils.

Other items I bought in the shop

Other items I bought in the shop include an Indonesian Castell 9000 and a 12B pencil from Lotory.

Other items I bought there
Other items I bought there

I have added the Orenz 0.3 to my sliding sleeve table.


Prices: December 2015

Exchange rates: January 2016

The background of the first photos is a tribute to Lexikaliker, who kindled my interest in the Orenz – just that my background isn’t a Tenugui, but a Furoshiki – in my case a non-woven wrapping sheet from Muji.

I have discussed the Indonesian version of the Castell 9000 in a previous blog post.

To see the Orenz in its full beauty please open the Orenz images (the first three) in a new tab/window.

 

M&G m9

The m9 on a tray from Muji
The m9 on a tray from Muji

One of the pencils I bought in Shanghai this Winter is the M&G m9, also known as the AMP85405.

Price and properties

When I saw it in a stationery store [1]I think it was 立信帐册, house number 618, even though according to Google it is somewhere else. on FuZhou Road, the book and stationery road I mentioned many times before, I just couldn’t resist. Only 15元 (~$2.30; $1.60; €2.10) for this quite handsome mechanical pencil. It is available in white, grey, red and black. It feels very well made, from some kind off metal, and with 12 g it is quite heavy for it’s size. The pen’s centre of gravity is in the middle.

Well made, including the clip
Well made, including the clip

Sliding sleeve

It does feature a sliding sleeve, but the ‘sleeve’ is shaped more like a cone than like a pipe. This means that it is not good at what I like sliding sleeves for, i.e. sliding back while you write so that you don’t have to keep advancing the lead manually, despite only needing 4 dN – 6 dN to slide the sleeve.

The sliding sleeve - or should that be sliding cone
The sliding sleeve – or should that be sliding cone

Conclusion

Great value for money, despite the sliding sleeve not doing its job properly. I think the m9 might benefit from its centre of gravity a bit closer to the front …and maybe from having a slightly larger diameter.

M&G m9


Price: December 2015

Exchange rates: January 2016

You can read about a wood-cased pencil from M&G in a previous blog post.

I have added the m9 to my sliding sleeve table.

References

References
1 I think it was 立信帐册, house number 618, even though according to Google it is somewhere else.

Sliding sleeves, Kuru Togas, DelGuards and more

Just a few small points I want to mention:

Sliding sleeve

I have created a table showing some of the sliding sleeve pencils and the force needed to slide the sleeve. I have averaged the values displayed in previous blog posts, just to make the table sortable. I plan to add the Orenz in 0.3 and the M9 to this table very soon.

Speaking of the Orenz, there’s a new Metal Grip version of the Orenz.

Kuru Toga

I have also ordered the new sliding sleeve version of the Kuru Toga. I did learn some Japanese in the 90s, but all I remember is some Katakana characters. Just enough to figure out that this version of the Kuru Toga is called “Pipe Slide”. Michael Fryda has published a video review of this pencil.

There is also a limited Adidas edition of the Kuru Toga. There used to be a Faber-Castell and Adidas cooperation in the past, not surprising as they are both from the Nuremberg area, but now Adidas seems to cooperate with Uni Mitsubishi Pencil.

Speaking of the Kuru Toga: M&G seems to offer a Kuru Toga copy, the AMP89202, but I haven’t seen it in reality, so I am not sure whether it is functional or only copies the look, not the functionality of the Kuru Toga.

DelGuard

One last point to mention, I noticed that two weeks after my DelGuard blog post and its video Zebra published a video that seems somehow similar – featuring the new 0.3 mm and 0.7 mm version of the DelGuard. There’s not as much information about the force needed in the video, but they have proper equipment to take close-ups, so it looks much better. Have a look at their video.

Wooden paper

One last thing I came across: Kizara memo pads, instead of paper they use wood shavings. Reminds me of the wooden Field Notes cover.