2B


Staedtler’s new Wopex pencils: the 2B – 2H Noris eco 2

The new 2017 Noris eco (on the right) is capped

This blog had quite a few Wopex related blog posts over the years – and here’s the latest one: about the new generation of Wopex pencils. This is the third generation I know of, but there might have been more.

Previously… on Bleistift.blog

I got the sheet from the 2010 blog post out and added the new 2017 grades.

Just a quick reminder. Staedtler introduced the Wopex (pencil) in 2009 – it’s an extruded pencil and its body is made from a wood-plastic-composite (which consists of more wood than plastic). In 2010 Staedtler introduced the Wopex in 2B and 2H. I had a closer look at the 2B and 2H version in a 2010 blog post and couldn’t find much difference between the 2B, HB and 2H version. Fast forward to 2016. By now Staedtler is using the term Wopex only to describe the material used to make these pencils. Wopex is not used anymore as a name for the pencil itself – at least not by Staedtler. At the Insights X 2016, they had a few prototypes of the new ‘Wopex material’ Noris eco in 2H, H, HB, B and 2B.  At the Insights X 2017, they showed the final product.

Close up of the 2010 vs. 2017 comparison

The new 2017 Noris eco

Looks

The design of the Noris eco is clearly inspired by Staedtler’s European staple pencil, the Noris, but like other Wopex material pencils, the surface of the extruded Noris eco feels rubberised. It is also eco-green, but has the same black stripe pattern as the yellow Noris or the red Tradition: The two opposing, labelled sides (let’s call them top and bottom) of this hexagonal pencil are black. The four sides (let’s call them the two right and the two left sides) are green with a think black stripe in between. I am mentioning this because some of the prototypes had a different pattern.

Unlike previous Wopex material pencils, the new Noris eco has a cap. It’s cool, man.

Watch on YouTube for high definition.

Performance

Great news. There’s a proper difference between the different grades in the new 2017 version. In terms of darkness and in terms of point retention. Compared to the Mars Lumograph in 2B, which is a very easy to erase pencil, the new Noris eco in 2B is more difficult to erase.

Eraser test – the bottom right square has been erased

If you see them in a shop I urge you to give them a try.

The pellets before they’re extruded into a pencil. From the Wopex sharpener blog post.

In case you can’t get enough of the Wopex. Here are some links:

2009: The world’s first blog post about the Wopex (Lexikaliker, in German)

2010: Staedtler WOPEX pencil review (Pencil Talk)

2012: Pencil Review: Staedtler Wopex HB Pencil (East…West…Everywhere)

2012: Staedtler Wopex Pencil (The Well-Appointed Desk)

I think the Pen Addict never had a Wopex review. If he did please let me know.

Some more post-2012 Wopex reviews can be found at Pencil Revolution, Comfortable Shoes Studio, The Weekly Pencil, The Finer Point, Pens Paper Pencils, Office Geek, Scribomechanica.

At the top, you can see the alternative black and green Wopex pattern. A picture from the ‘epic fail’ blog post.

 


I would like to thank Benedikt Schindler for his help in getting me the new 2017 Wopex. I still haven’t seen them on the high street in the UK.


Staedtler Noris 120 11

Top to bottom: Malaysia, Great Britain, Germany

In a previous blog post I compared three Staedtler tradition 110 pencils, made in three different factories – the one in Wales, the one in Australia and the one in Germany. Today I want to look at three different Staedtler Noris 120 pencils – made in Malaysia, Wales and Germany. I bought a dozen of the Malaysian Noris in March 2010 for £2.24 (~ $3.40; €2.78) from a Malaysian seller on eBay.

Noris presharpened, top to bottom: Malaysia, Great Britain, Germany

The only pencil from this comparison that is still in production is the Nuremberg-made Noris. The factory in Malaysia closed down two years ago and the factory in Wales closed down four years ago. You can still find Welsh-made pencils in the UK, but there are very few shops left that still have stock. I am not sure about the situation in Malaysia, but I assume most of the Malaysian Noris are also sold by now. In a previous blog post I mentioned that 2B is the most common pencil grade in Malaysia. It is so popular in Malaysia that the Malaysian Noris is only available in 2B, therefore I’ll compare it with the Welsh and German Noris in 2B.

Different caps – Top to bottom: Malaysian 2B, Welsh 2B, Welsh B, German 2B

The colour of the Noris cap normally indicates the pencil grade. The HB Noris has a red cap. Strangely enough the cap colour is not consistent. The older Welsh and Malaysian 2B Noris have black caps, while the newer German Noris, bought in April 2012 at Müller in Volkach, Germany for €0.59 (~ $0.73; £0.47), has an orange cap, similar, but a slightly lighter in colour than the orange cap of a Welsh Noris B.

Noris sharpener (511 004) and two wedge sharpeners (510 10 and 510 50)

Which eraser could be most suitable to sharpen a Noris? None other than the Staedtler Noris sharpener, of course. Bought at Currys / PC World in Preston, when they tried to get rid of their stationery in December 2011 this sharpener was part of a ‘study set’ that came with 2 Noris HB, one Staedtler Mars plastic eraser and the Staedtler Noris sharpener for £1.17 (~ $1.79; €1.45). The blister pack says “Made in Germany”, but the wedge sharpener in the Noris sharpener is made in China, or at least the the metal body of the sharpener inside is. I wonder why Staedtler put a metal sharpener in there. Most people probably wouldn’t notice and Staedtler sells plastic sharpeners with the same form factor that could have been used in the Noris sharpener to keep the price down…

The W wedge sharpener in the Noris sharpener

The bottom of the metal sharpener 510 10 in the Noris sharpener features a ‘W’, which indicates that this sharpener is one of Staedtler’s newer sharpeners, optimised for use with the Wopex. It has a sharpening angle of 23°. The thickness of the shavings produced by the Wopex-optimised sharpener is the same as the one by the older model, usually just under 0.3 mm. I assume the difference is in the way the blade has been sharpened.

The older 510 10 wedge sharpener

I used a notepad from Brunnen1 to compare the different leads in terms of smoothness, reflectiveness, darkness, erasability, graphite transfer to another page and how long they keep the point. As far as I can tell the three different Noris perform very similar. The graphite from the Malaysian Noris might transfer a bit easier to another page, e.g. in a diary, but it’s only every so slightly worse than the other two Noris pencils.

No bar code on the Malaysian Noris

In terms of exterior appearance the Welsh and German Noris are nearly on par, with the paint on the Noris from Nuremberg being slightly more even. The paint of the Malaysian Noris is however much worse, but still better than the no name or own brand pencils you usually get in super markets. The Welsh Noris has a diameter of 7mm, which is slightly more than the 6.9mm the Malaysian and German pencils have.

For me the Noris is THE typical pencil. Previous blog posts showed the Noris being featured on TV. Today I want to add two more screen shots. One from Episodes, where Sean Lincoln (played by Stephen Mangan2 ) is using a Stadtler Noris in the USA, even though it isn’t officially on sale in the USA. The character must have brought it from the UK, the desk is full of Noris pencils ..or, in the real world, this scene might have been filmed in the UK.

Episodes (Image © Hat Trick)

The other screen shot is from episode 705 “Liebeswirren” of German/Austrian/Swiss crime TV series Tatort. One of the actors in this episode from Munich was Christoph Waltz of Inglourious Basterds fame.

Tatort (Image © Bayerischer Rundfunk)


Exchange rates: June 2012.

I believe that the use of the following images falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service:

  • The screen shot of Stephen Mangan and the Staedtler Noris, taken from episode three of the second season of the TV series Episodes
  • The screen shot of Udo Wachtveitl and the Staedtler Nori, taken from the Tatort #705  Liebeswirren
  1. bought in August 2011 at McPaper in Schweinfurt, Germany for €1.19 (~ $1.46; £0.96) []
  2. …who recently, as Dirk Gently, used a Faber-Castell Grip 2001 []