An upcycled Tradition

Now that the Noris is ‘upcycled’, i.e. Wopex based, the question is whether Staedtler’s other pencils will also be made from ‘upcycled wood’. In the last blog post’s comments Kevin wondered if the Tradition will get the ‘upcycled wood’ treatment, too.

Well, I now have an answer to this question: The Tradition is currently also made from upcycled wood.

In the UK it is common for kids who visit a children’s birthday party to get a goody bag to take home. They usually contain sweets, but you won’t be surprised to learn that the ones we put together contain stationery. Not for the first time we bought Staedtler stationery sets for the goodie bags. This year the goody bags include a set of 12 Noris colour pencils, a Mars plastic eraser and a Staedtler Tradition. I ordered them recently and now that the sets have arrived it turns out that the included Tradition is made from ‘upcycled wood’. You can see the set here [1]and guess what, the day after I ordered these sets for the party goody bags the price came down because they are now on offer.

I am not sure if all Staedtler Traditions are made from upcycled wood, but my guess would be that they don’t produce a wood-cased version on top of the upcycled version as that seems too messy.

With the very common [2]at least in Europe very common Noris and Tradition both being made from upcycled wood I wonder which pencils will be made from ‘normal’ wood now. Does it make sense to have cheaper pencils made from real wood while the Noris and Tradition are not made from real wood? We’ll have to wait and see if the affordable Minerva, the colourful 172 and the ‘natural looking’ 123 60 will still be made from real wood. They are probably produced in much smaller numbers so they might not get the switch to upcycled wood.

When we look at more expensive pencils there is Staedtler’s big boy: the Lumograph. I would be surprised if the Lumograph will be made from upcycled wood in the near future as that would go in hand in hand with switching over to a very different lead. I don’t think the typical Lumograph users would be happy with an extruded lead.

There’s also the question of how all the wood from Staedtler’s new Gmelina plantation will be used. You can read more about it in this press release. How will the wood be used if many of the big sellers are now made from upcycled wood? I hope the Lumograph will be made from cedar, but I wonder if most of Staedtler’s real wood pencils will use their own Gmelia wood soon.


1 and guess what, the day after I ordered these sets for the party goody bags the price came down because they are now on offer
2 at least in Europe very common

5 thoughts on “An upcycled Tradition”

  1. I like that it’s acceptable to give stationery in goodie bags! So much better, a young me would have appreciated stationery more than sweets.

    It does seem that all the companies who can afford it are now using upcycled wood. It’s probably for the best.

  2. Thanks Matthias for this very informative wrap on the UPCYCLED wood pencils. Thankfully I have a lifetime’s supply of woodcase Tradition and Lumograph, so I guess the like or don’t like debate doesn’t really affect me, but I’m naturally interested in the topic as a stationery addict. Me, I just don’t like the feel and weight/balance of these upcycled pencils. My main use is art/sketching and I’m not convinced these would provide the correct tonal graduations compared to say a Lumograph.

  3. Thank you for making us aware of these changes. If I see them at retail, I think I might stock up on a few woodcase Staedtler pencils (while they exist).

  4. Thanks for the information about the Staedtler plantation. I’d missed that when it was originally announced.

    I notice that the Wopex-material Tradition you’ve shown is a Tradition school variety. I didn’t know that the Tradition also produced a ‘school’ variety. I’ve only ever seen the Noris school.

    I wonder if perhaps the Tradition school is a cheaper version too?. Perhaps they’ll keep making the regular Tradition from wood?

    I hope they do – I’d hate to lose both of the affordable, iconie woodcased Staedtler pencils. I have lots and lots of both, probably a lifetime supply and then some, but not everyone has the hoarding bug.

    As for the Lumograph, I sincerely and desperately hope that they never stop making this from wood – and, like you, I would much prefer it continue to be cedar.

    I think if they made the Lumograph from Wopex, it would be enough to put me off buying any more Staedtler products forever. Some things can change, and not all change is for the worse, but some things need to stay as they are. The Mars Lumograph is one of those things.

  5. I learned from STAEDTLER that the tradition school pencil made from upcycled wood was introduced for the South Africa market a few years ago as a budget variant of the standard tradition. With the switch to upcycled wood the set with the colour pencils 144 and the wooden tradition 110 the latter was replaced by this tradition school pencil. The classic tradition 110 is still made from wood.

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