Pencils


Faber-Castell’s Goldfaber pencil set 2

Helping Hands

A few weeks ago David from Helping Hands Craft contacted me. He asked me if I want to review any of their products. I wasn’t aware of their shop before he contact me but was quite impressed by their selection of Faber-Castell products. As a review item I picked the Goldfaber pencil set for £4.50. Looking through their Faber-Castell items I was positively surprised to see other unusual items, for example

The Goldfaber pencil set

Back to the less exotic Faber-Castell item I want to write about today: The Goldfaber set contains

  • 4 Goldfaber HB pencils,
  • a sharpener (presumably from Eisen [1]an underrated sharpener brand I have been occasionally mentioning over the last twelve years),
  • and the big version of my favourite eraser [2]find out more in this 2010 blog post.

The Goldfaber pencils are made in Indonesia, just like the Columbus, its Irish cousin, and the Bonanza, its Arabic [3]The Bonanza used to be more widely available, but seems to be difficult to get outside the Middle East cousin. The pencil set is marked as being Made in Germany, so I was initially surprised and thought Goldfaber production has moved back to Germany, but when I checked with Faber-Castell they confirmed that this is a mistake and that they will fix this in the future. They have also confirmed that the Goldfaber is made in Indonesia. Unfortunately that’s as far as I got. My further request to get my suspicion regarding the wood being used confirmed was not successful.

Goldfaber 1221

The Goldfaber 1221 pencil is a nice writer. It is HB but writes darker than a Castell 9000 in B. I am not surprised though – I always found the 9000 to be lighter than similar grades in other pencils. Pearson’s Graphite 2015 confirms this, the Goldfaber HB is listed with a darkness of 12, the Castell 9000 B with a darkness of 8 [4]higher value = darker. The wood being used in the Goldfaber is also very good. For the price you pay the quality is excellent, but it can’t compete with high-end pencils from Faber-Castell or other brands. Out of the four pencils from the set one is slightly bent, two could have a better centred lead and all four don’t have a perfect paintjob. These small shortcomings don’t detract from the positive impression left by the dark graphite and the nice wood, especially not at this price [5]Eraser and sharpener are approximately half the value of the £4.50. There was also a faint smell of paint when the Goldfabers were fresh out of the box, something Faber-Castell’s Castell 9000 with its water-based varnish doesn’t suffer from, but the smell disappeared after a while.

Sharpener and eraser

The German-made sharpener, presumably an Eisen 040, does an excellent job, as does my favourite eraser, the Malaysian-made 187120, a dust free / no dust eraser.

A video with an overview

Conclusion

Overall, this is a very nice pencil set, especially if you want a nice eraser and want a small sharpener and don’t need it to be a container sharpener.


Just to spell it out, I have not been paid for this blog post or for any other blog posts.

References

References
1an underrated sharpener brand I have been occasionally mentioning over the last twelve years
2find out more in this 2010 blog post
3The Bonanza used to be more widely available, but seems to be difficult to get outside the Middle East
4higher value = darker
5Eraser and sharpener are approximately half the value of the £4.50

Fake Lumographs 3

I get why there is a market for fake luxury pens, but creating fake versions of affordable pens seems rather ridiculous. In this case the pencil being copied costs less than £1. Yes, you could argue that £1 is much more than what you’d pay for a no name pencil …but if you think about how long a pencil lasts (when you use it the way it is supposed to be used [1]i.e. writing or drawing on paper, I mention this because if you use pencils e.g. to mark wood it won’t last very long, so a Lumograph might not be the best choice for that) then I have to say that the Lumograph is excellent value for money. You can enjoy writing with an excellent pencil for weeks or months for much less than what a coffee costs on the high street.

top: real, bottom: fake

Bleistift blog reader Koralatov made me aware that fake Lumographs are being sold on eBay and I couldn’t resist ordering a pack to have a closer look.

The fake Lumographs next to a ‘real product’ in a Staedtler Box

Differences

The box

The fake Lumographs come in a Staedtler Box. In Europe the Lumograph usually not being sold in this box, but, and this was new to me, Staedtler confirmed that in Asia you can actually buy the Lumograph in this box.

Some of the information on the box doesn’t make sense for a graphite pencil. The lead protection that is being mentioned on the box (the triangular red logo you can see on the photo above) is a technology that is being used for coloured pencils, not for graphite pencils, so certainly has no place on Lumograph packaging.

The floppy fake Staedtler box compared to a robust real Staedtler box

The pencils

The wood being used is very(!) different to the one being used for real Lumographs. It is very pale, we’re talking basswood pale or even more pale.

The hardness is only printed on one side of the end of the pencil instead of being printed on all sides. Some pencils don’t have the hardness printed at all and for most pencils the indentation around the hardness is very deep, as if they have been stamped too hard.

top: real, bottom: fake

The fake pencils are being sold as Chinese made factory seconds. Staedtler does produce the Lumograph in Asia, but it is made in Indonesia with German Leads. The real Indonesian Lumograph pencils are marked with “German Lead” instead of “Made in Germany” and use cheaper wood, like Jelutong. They are also sold in other Asian markets, as seen at this link.

top: fake, bottom: real – notice the different wood colour

Suffice to say that these fake Lumographs are very scratchy, even the soft degrees, and are not nice to use at all.

Since we’re talking about pencils: Here’s a bonus link for you: It’s a Dutch music album called Bleistift from 1981:
https://www.discogs.com/Bleistift-Bleistift/release/1914478 – I wonder how it sounds like. I assume it’ll sound quite different to the Pencil Revolution song.

References

References
1i.e. writing or drawing on paper, I mention this because if you use pencils e.g. to mark wood it won’t last very long, so a Lumograph might not be the best choice for that

BYOP 2

Today is polling day in the UK – with lots of local elections taking place.

Because of the Covid situation the UK government’s advice is to:

bring your own pen or pencil (there will be clean pencils available at the polling station if you forget to bring your own)

https://www.gov.uk/how-to-vote
Election Day. I Voted.
This is an embedded Flickr image. Click to go to this image on Flickr.

50 years of Mouse TV

The Maus pencils are triangular and come in 12 colours

This year the German TV show “Die Sendung mit der Maus” celebrates 50 years on air. By now it is apparently being broadcast in 100 different countries, but I am not sure how popular it actually is outside Germany as I couldn’t find much information online that confirms what I read on Wikipedia about its popularity [1]Wikipedia tells me that there are also English dubbed versions being broadcast, but when I had a quick look I didn’t see any..

The packaging is nice, but on the pencil the outline of the Maus is smaller than the company logo

It is however very popular in Germany and teaches children a lot of things, including how products and things work and how they are made. By now there also a Maus radio station and, of course, there are (or were) Maus pencils.

I am not familiar with the maker of the Maus pencils. Based on what I have seen and based on the sparse information I have seen on the FSC web site I assume the company behind the pencils is a ‘marketing company’ that just paid to use the Maus logo and name on a pencil and then paid a manufacturer to put produce the Maus pencils for them.

The pencils are quite good for a ‘marketing product’, certainly better than some other coloured pencils with famous children characters.

Happy Birthday

All the best to the Maus. If you have a chance to watch an episode, please do so. They are quite informative – even for adults.

Die Sendung mit der Maus in Japanese…

References

References
1Wikipedia tells me that there are also English dubbed versions being broadcast, but when I had a quick look I didn’t see any.

Noris 120 2

To celebrate the 120th anniversary of the Noris Staedtler has created a special page for our [1]..certainly my and maybe also your favourite pencil favourite pencil. You can find it in the ‘Highlights’ section of Staedtler’s website (it’s part of the the ‘Discover’ menu item).

A typical ‘Noris spotted on the Beeb’ photo thrown in for good measure. (Image © BBC)

I wish this important brand and pencil could have been in the limelight a bit longer – by Staedtler featuring the Noris anniversary article on their landing page for a few weeks – especially in countries like the UK where the Noris is very popular and people might appreciate this special anniversary [2]The 120th anniversary of the pencil with then umber 120.. Addendum: I have been told that that the Noris anniversary pages will be expanded throughout the year.

The special Noris web page is a great read with lots of historic details plus some quirky titbits thrown in, like the record-breaking Noris color pencil that is more than 450 meters long or the giant Noris Obelisk in Barcelona. Unfortunately the translation into English seems to have been done by a computer, which resulted in the occasional information hiccup, but that doesn’t detract from the enjoyment you get from all the details. Addendum: My understanding is that Staedtler will get the translation issues fixed.

I feel very honoured that my best wishes for this anniversary are featured on the German version of the Staedtler website, next to Gunther’s.

Here featured in a report about how schools are affected during Covid times. Nothing says “UK school” quite like the Noris. (Image © BBC)

The anniversary details from this page are great, so I couldn’t resist and added some of them to the Noris page on Stationery.wiki.


The screenshots have been taken from BBC News. I believe that the use of these images falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.

References

References
1..certainly my and maybe also your favourite pencil
2The 120th anniversary of the pencil with then umber 120.