A few years ago M&G, a brand I have previously only seen in Shanghai, started to make its appearance in some local shops. It is still pretty uncommon to see M&G pens here in the UK, at least with M&G being mentioned on the pen or packaging, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some no name pens you can buy here are actually are from M&G.
Now Deli also seems to become more easy to get hold of in the West, this time for another product that is not directly linked to pencils. This time this is thanks to Amazon. When I needed some Sellotape (a brand name that is used as a generic term in the UK, the US equivalent is Scotch tape and the German equivalent is Tesa) I thought I give Amazon’s own brand a try. Amazon Basics tape was similarly priced to other brands, but I was keen on trying out a taped I hadn’t tried before – there might be some good stuff out there I missed so far.
I haven’t used used much yet, it just arrived this week, but so far I am quite happy with this tape.
If you’ve followed my blog for a while you might have noticed that I’m fond of Deli’s crank sharpeners, particularly the Deli 0635.
It’s nice to see that the quality of the Deli seems to be good enough for the big and well-established brands, too. Faber-Castell offers a sharpener, the 952500, that seems to be a Deli 0635 in disguise.
Koh-I-Noor, too, picked a Deli as an addition to their line: the 0668, but they call it the 9095. The 0668 has been resold by a few other companies, too, including Kikkerland.
What an exciting day. I got two deliveries, one from Japan and one from Germany.
The parcel from Japan was sent from Yumiko, a friend of Sean, who helped me get a few things I couldn’t order myself …including Uniqlo’s Tombow t-shirts. I was able to get the Pelikan version here in Europe, but the Tombow version is not being sold here.
I was hoping that the Japanese XL will be similar in size to the European XL, especially since the t-shirts being sold here come with English/Japanese tags, but unfortunately it turned out that the Japanese XL is at least one size smaller than the European version – so the t-shirts won’t fit unless I lose a lot of weight. I guess I should see this as my incentive to lose more weight ..but I don’t think it’s achievable for me to fit into these anytime soon.
There was also something else in the parcel. Something very special.
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.7083I 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..
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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
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In my previous blog post I mentioned the Deli 0620 sharpener I bought when I was in Shanghai.
I you have followed my blog you might have noticed that I am very fond of Deli sharpeners. The Deli 0635 and the Deli 0668 are in fact my most often used sharpeners.
Why do I only mention these two models and no other Deli sharpeners? The problem with Deli sharpeners is that most seem to be aimed at children or pupils and look a bit too cartoony to put on your desk in the office – so when I came across a serious looking Deli sharpener, the 0620, I was quite excited.
The moment I saw this sharpener I thought of the Classroom Friendly Sharpener. I don’t have one myself, but having seen pictures of it in the past I thought this Deli 0620 looks very similar …but I had to wait until I was home to be able to compare the 0620 with photos of the Classroom Friendly Sharpener. More about this later.
Cheap and full of features
I paid 45元 (~ $7.25; €6.25; £4.75) in the stationery shop on Xiangde Road, mentioned previously. Unlike the 0635 and the 0668, the 0620 features a metal case and is quite a bit bigger. It has a very solid feel to it and comes with a desk clamp and a spring driven pencil holder that features auto stop (as expected). The 0620 seems to sharpen with the same angle as the 0635: it will produce a slightly concave point with an angle of ~ 17°.
Oh no, tooth marks!
This all sounds great, but I have a big problem with this sharpener: it leaves tooth marks on the pencil, because the grips that hold the pencil while sharpening are not rubber covered. I guess many people don’t mind. As far as I know some of the best sharpeners do leave tooth marks, like the expensive El Casco sharpener as well as the cheaper, but still very expensive Caran d’Ache sharpener.
The problem is: I do mind! There are some things others seem to mind, like bar codes on pencils, that I don’t mind. On the contrary, I often even like them …but tooth marks? Maybe one day I can accept them, but not at the moment, so I fear my 45元 were not very well invested. I could try ‘improving’ the tooth mark situation by putting Sugru on the grip mechanism, but the point produced by the Deli 0635 is so similar, I might as well use the 0635 instead of the 0620If I had some Sugru I might try ‘improving’ the 0620. Maybe I buy a pack one day, once it’s open it needs to be used up soon anyway, which might be a good reason to use some of it … Continue reading.
If you can cope with the horror: click on the bite mark picture to see the mutilated pencil in higher resolution.
The Deli 0620 and the Classroom Friendly Sharpener
One interesting point, mentioned earlier, is the similarity of the 0620 to the Classroom Friendly Sharpener. According to the pictures I have seen I would say the two sharpeners are more or less identical. I guess there could be several reasons for that, the most likely probably being that
The Classroom Friendly Sharpener is actually made by Deli
Both are made by another company
One is a copy of the other, or both are a copy of another.
I don’t think one of these sharpeners is a copy of the other one. My guess would be that the the original isn’t famous enough to warrant a copy being made. Also, if you look at copied stationery, e.g. a Lamy Safari and a Hero 359, the copy is often of much worse quality than the original. I can’t really judge how the quality of both sharpeners compares as I only know the 0620, but it seems to be pretty well made. The only problem I encountered was that I couldn’t remove the burr mechanism. This problem doesn’t seem uncommon for Deli. Once I had two batches of 0635 in front of me, and one batch was perfectly fine, but on the other batch I couldn’t remove the burr mechanism on any of the sharpeners I don’t think they are glued on on purpose as I can’t see any sense in that. I wonder whether there are other reasons, e.g. some tolerance issues and some parts being a bit too big, or … Continue reading. I assume that if you use enough force you could get the burr mechanism out.
A great looking sharpener that disappoints because of the tooth marks it leaves. Otherwise great value for money, like other Deli sharpeners.
As mentioned by Gunther and Koralatov in the comments: there are other sharpeners that seem to be produced in the same factory: the Carl Angel-5, the Kw-trio 031VA and the Helix A5.
Assuming the sharpener is made by Deli, because the point produced is so similar to the one produced by the 0635 What a shame that it’s so difficult to remove the burr mechanism for a comparison, the question is: Did the 0620 get this acute, concave angle because of Deli’s existing mechanism or was this model’s angle always like this, even before Deli made this sharpener, and Deli made its mechanism like this to fulfil Carl’s (or whoever ordered this sharpener first) requirements?
I don’t think they are glued on on purpose as I can’t see any sense in that. I wonder whether there are other reasons, e.g. some tolerance issues and some parts being a bit too big, or whether the sharpener was assembled before the paint could dry properly, etc.