Discovered in our Scout group’s hut, this American-made Dixon Trimline not only made it into Europe, it also managed to survive several decades hidden between other pencils and kept in pristine condition.
Notice the slim and elegant font and the blind-stamped U.S.A., left of the writing.
A smidge of the beautiful orange paints seems to have made it’s way into some of the knurling on the ferrule.
The last photo ended up a bit blurry, but if you are using a computer to read this then please have a closer look at this pencil by clicking on the (other) photos to admire this pencil’s details.
Startlingly expensive. Yes, I think if I were to tell you how much more expensive it was it would be fair to say that you would be startled. Freely adapted from Chapter 27 of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, by Douglas Adams, 1987.
As a pencileer, molyvophile and molyvologue See explanation in this blog post. I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate Independence Day than to sharpen an American pencil with an American blade.
…but which pencil to choose? In the end I narrowed it down to the Mongol and the Ticonderoga. As these pencils where also made in other countries I obviously only put the American made versions on the short list.
In the end I did go with the Ticonderoga, just because I thought Faber-Castell takes some of the emphasis on the USA away. So, the chosen pencil is the Dixon’s American Ticonderoga. I did have a few of them in stock, but haven’t actually used them yet. My Ticonderoga experience so far was limited to the ‘Korean’ Ticonderogas, the awful Ticonderoga Renew and the Microban Ticonderogas.
The knife was easy to choose, my Leatherman Style CS …just because it is the only knife I own that is, as far as I know, made in the United States of America.
OK, let’s start sharpening. Because I only have a few of these American made Ticonderogas I want a less acute angle than usual – I just don’t want to waste too much of the nice pencil.
I don’t want to go for a proper obtuse angle either, as that would probably be a very strange writing experience.
Here way are. By the way, the American blade was sharpened with something American, too: The Spyderco Tri-Angle Sharpmaker, which could also be used to sharpen blades of pencil sharpeners.
Happy Independence Day!
As usual, please click on the pictures to see them in a higher resolution.
Today: another blog post about one of the items I have received from Office Hero, the Staedtler Wopex. You might remember my previous two blog posts about the Wopex, one was looking at the Wopex 2B and 2H and one was comparing different eco pencils. Office Hero sent me a pack of twelve Wopex as a free sample. Their normal price is £4.01 (~ $6.35; €4.60) plus VAT.
Why another blog post about the Wopex? The Wopex has one property I really like, even though there are actually also a few things wrong with the Wopex. Back to the characteristic I like, which is why I pick this pencil more and more often when making entries in my diary. The reason is simple and has been mentioned by Koralatov in a recent comment: there’s hardly any graphite transfer between different pages when writing on the reverse. I use my diary to keep track of appointments and to record things that need doing. Graphite from soft pencils will transfer easily after something has been written on the reverse or on the next page, which will in then look very unsightly. Even though you can get graphite from the Wopex to transfer to another page if you want to, as seen on the photos, this transfer is usually not happing under normal circumstance and is therefore not a problem.
I think the Wopex has great potential, but it also has a few flaws which I want to mention.
The “fibre Wopex material” is too hard, so I use dedicated sharpeners in my office and at home, just for the Wopex. The “fibre Wopex material” is also too hard for rotary blade sharpeners.
If you sharpen the Wopex to a very fine point the point will break easily.
Small bits of the “fibre Wopex material”, close to the lead, can crumble off when sharpening.
There doesn’t seem to be a difference between the Wopex 2B, HB and 2H.
There are quite a few other issues, but mentioning them all would distract from the main issue I want to address here: Wopex‘s great lead that is a very good choice for diaries.
Let’s look at the results from my (unrepresentative) graphite transfer test, conducted by writing on one page, putting the next page on top and applying pressure to the reverse of the next page The effects can be stronger when applying pressure directly to the reverse of the page you wrote on.. Harder and lighter leads do better than softer and darker leads – no surprise here. The best pencil in my comparison was the Staedtler Wopex HB, followed by the Caran d’Ache Technograph 777 B, which has previously been reviewed by penciltalk. The worst pencils in this test were the Tombow Mono 100 HB and the Amos Dixon Ticonderoga HB. This was obviously due to their softness which does however bring other advantages, e.g. better pressure/darkness ratio – I do however prefer a tidy diary and do tend to use the Tombow and Dixon only when smearing, smudging and graphite transfer don’t matter.
Price and exchange rates: October 2011.
I would like to thank
David from Office Hero and Oliver Carding from Sagittarius Digital for the free samples
The comparison has been conducted in a Castelli Academic Diary my wife got from her employer. I use a no name academic diary from my employer, which has very different paper. My initial impressions are that graphite-transer-wise good pencils behave better in my diary, but bad pencils behave worse.
Has the current Ticonderoga been developed in Korea?
Pencil talk mentioned that the different version of this pencil have different cores. This could also mean that not the whole pencil, but that only the core for the Korean version has been developed there – to fit local preferences.
Other Fila pencils I have at my disposal do not emphasise where they have been developed. A pack of Lyra pencils has this sentence printed on the packaging: “Made in China under LYRA-Germany quality standards”, while Dixon pencil packaging only states where the pencils have been produced: Triconderoga: “Made in Mexico”, Ticonderoga Renew: “Made in USA”.
FILA’s global pencil
The Triconderoga blister pack comes with a fantastic sharpener from Eisen.
I would like to thank Kent for the AMOS DIXON Ticonderoga.
I would like to thank Sean for the Triconderoga and the Ticonderoga Renew.