Month: January 2018

The Fastest Pencil Sharpener – Kutsuwa’s double-bladed 2MaiBa

Today: A quick look at Kutsuwa’s 2MaiBa pencil sharpener. The packaging tempts customers with the promise “fastest pencil sharpener” and when it comes to manual prism sharpeners I haven’t seen a faster one yet.

This is down to the 2MaiBa’s two blades which will ‘shave’ the pencil from opposite sides.

Kutsuwa

Kutsuwa itself has been around for more than 100 years. They were established in 1910. As far as I can tell they seem to have become quite well known in 1970s Japan with their pencil boxes that feature a magnetic closing mechanism.

I haven’t come across their pencil boxes in the West, but you can find their erasers and their sharpeners outside Japan. Their T’Gaal is probably their most famous pencil sharpener. Other than that they also produce Miffy, Snoopy and Puma themed stationery.

The 2MaiBa

The 2MaiBa is really very fast, only needing around half the number of pencil turns than your average pencil sharpener. It produces a point with an angle of around 23°, but just have a look at this video for more information.

To watch this video in high resolution or full screen jump over to YouTube where you can watch it in 4K. I know that filming in 4K on a mobile doesn’t make much sense, at least not with my lighting. The video is slightly noisy, so wouldn’t have more information that if filmed in a lower resolution ..but I thought why not, and then I can claim that it is 4K.. I should do a comparison to see which noise is more pleasing to the eye.

What’s in a name?

Sola from Pencils and other things explains:

Actually Maiba isn’t a proper noun but two characters stuck together to describe the product (“2枚刃”). Mai(枚) is the unit for counting sheets (of paper, metal, etc.) and Ba (originally Ha, 刃) is “blade”.
So 2枚刃鉛筆削り would be “two-blade pencil sharpener”.

 

Gunther reminded me that I forgot to point out that the 2Maiba’s blades are marked with NJK. NJK is the brand behind the Tsunago. If you have a look at the NJK web site you will notice that they specialise in sharpeners.


The 2Maiba has been added to the sharpener comparison page.

A Noris Pencil Case

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Staedtler’s Noris…

…so I was very excited to see that there’s a Noris pencil case!

Noris Pencil Case (Image copyright probably Staedtler)

I first thought this a UK only set, but when I checked Amazon US I saw that it is also available in the USA.

There are even different sets with different pens.

Noris Pencil Case (Image copyright probably Staedtler)

You can find one of the UK versions here and the US version here and here.

 

By the way, Daan De Winter’s Noris in the Belgian TV series Professor T. is visible in many episodes. It is also used to remove the seal of a crime scene and for other tasks. Nice.


The screenshot/animated GIF in this blog post has been taken from Episode One of Season One of the original Professor T. TV series. I believe that the use of Staedtler’s image shown in this blog post and the use of the animated GIF from Professor T. falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.

Stationery Factlets #3: The Queen’s Ink

This factlet is quite different to the previous ones. One difference is that I was unable to corroborate this information from other sources, so there is a chance it is a factoid rather than a factlet. The other difference is that it is not well known, so it’s probably a ‘You read it first on Bleistift’ factlet.

I believe there are a few very popular TV series about Queen Elizabeth II at the moment, though I haven’t seen any of them. With renewed interest from these TV series his factlet might be of interest to a wider audience than it might have been a few years ago.

The fact that Queen Elizabeth II is using Parker pens is well known. I believe Parker was been issued a Royal Warrant of appointment as sole supplier of pens and inks more than 50 years ago.

A Parker Penman ink bottle. This one is Mocha.

Well, here’s the factlet about one of her favourite inks:

“There have been a number of different Parker Penman ink colours produced over the years including the most beautiful shade of tangerine [1]I am not sure whether this is the ‘Ruby’ colour. I didn’t come across many Penman inks. Ruby is the closest one to Tangerine I know of. which is supposed to have been a favourite of the Queen and used by her on personal correspondence. The story goes that when the colour was withdrawn the palace planned to remove the Royal Warrant only restoring it when they agreed to continue producing the colour especially for the Queens private use.”

Someone I don’t have a reason to distrust has confirmed to me that in his company’s archive they have a private letter from the Queen, written in Penman’s tangerine coloured ink.

The Penman inks were discontinued more than fifteen years ago. They had a high saturation so were popular with many users, but this high saturation also meant they would clog your pen up if left alone for too long.

References

References
1 I am not sure whether this is the ‘Ruby’ colour. I didn’t come across many Penman inks. Ruby is the closest one to Tangerine I know of.

Kaweco’s Valentine’s Special

Recently, my wife told me about the following Valentine’s Special from Kaweco China. As I haven’t seen anything about this set yet in the West I thought I share the details with you.

It includes a pen for her (in the Strawberry Pink colour) and one for him either blue or green.

Kaweco’s Valentine Set for China (Image © Kaweco)

Her pen comes can be used as a clutch pencil or you can insert the included ‘ballpoint pen lead’ to make it into a ballpoint. His is a fountain pen and you can pick from two colours, which look like the Retro Blue and Industrial Green I have shown in a previous blog post about Kaweco’s special colours for China, Taiwan, Macao and HongKong.

Early orders will get some additional postcards from America’s Rifle Paper Co.

The set also comes with a leather case and costs ¥520 (~$80; €65; £58).


Price and exchange rates: January 2018

I believe that the use of Kaweco’s image shown in this blog post falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.

Copic Copies (and Lego Notebooks)

Another one of those ‘there’s a good offer in the UK’ blog posts, so the following might be of limited interest if you are not in the UK.

My first (and only) set of Copic markers is from the Nineties. Back then a friend told me about them and after hearing about their miraculous properties I really wanted to try them out. Back then, like today, they were not cheap. As far as I remember I paid around 20 Deutschmarks for each of them [1]As a comparison, as far as I remember a casual job paid around 10 DM/h at the time and video and computer games were around 60 DM at the time. Well, they did and still do a nice job, but they usually bleed through the paper, maybe because they are alcohol based, so the reverse of the sheet of paper will look nearly as ‘stained’ as the front.

They certainly keep well over the years, my Copics all still work well. Just one of them had some of the ‘ink’ leak a bit into the cap, but that can be cleaned easily. If they ever dry out you can refill them.

Why did I mentioned them?

When we went grocery shopping this weekend I saw that Aldi in the UK sells a whole pack of what looks like Copic copies for less than the price of one real Copic marker. It seems a good offer, but I can’t comment on the quality of the pens.

✏︎ ✏︎ ✏︎ ✏︎ ✏︎

..and here a little bonus I found in the local Lego shop: Lego notebooks, reduced from £10 to £6. I assume the offers are similar in different Lego shops, but I can’t be sure.

In case you wonder, I bought neither the Copic copies, not the Lego notebook.

References

References
1 As a comparison, as far as I remember a casual job paid around 10 DM/h at the time and video and computer games were around 60 DM at the time