Repairs & Alterations – All On Liberal Terms

The weather was really nice this weekend and since there was something we had to do in Manchester anyway we decided to spend the afternoon in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. Fred Aldous, mentioned in the past, is also located in the Northern Quarter.

One of the shops I discovered and I haven’t been to before is the Dedstock General Store. It’s a gem of a store selling a nice choice of wares for it’s size, including stationery, items for shaving (including Mühle blades), enamel items and other things.

The owner was just working on a sewing machine. He said he was mending things, but it looked like a much bigger operation (the word upcycling and hundred year old garments spring to mind).

In terms of stationery there were Dux and Gedess sharpeners, Kaweco and Mindori pens and accessories, the Blackwing remake and Calepino notebooks. Items priced above £50 were stored behind the counter (no photo, sorry).

Repairs & Alterations – All On Liberal Terms

I’m happy I came across this unusual store and will visit again next time I’m in the Northern Quarter.

Recycled money pencil

Welcome to the 251st post.

Money pencil


This time: a pencil made from recycled money. My colleague Dr. Mitchell Larson saw this pencil while visiting another university and brought one back.

made from recycled money


Recycled money

A quick search on the Internet shows that many British suppliers of promotional pencils stock this green, recycled pencil. I am not sure whether it’s made from recycled Pound notes (less likely) or whether the colour is supposed to indicate that it is made from recycled Dollar bills (more likely). This is probably the same pencil as the one seen on Pencil Revolution in 2006. In any case, the pencil doesn’t feel as if it’s made from pure, recycled cotton paper. It’s much too hard and dense for that. I’d speculate that it’s made from plastic banknotes if I wouldn’t think it’s made from Dollar bills. Another explanation for the plasticy consistency, one which seems more likely, might be that the consistency of the recycled notes is just not right to be made into a pencil – so the recycled material might have had to be mixed with another material. Maybe there’s an even more exciting explanation: maybe the recycled notes had to be mixed with another material to make it impossible to use this pencil to forge money. Lots of speculation, but in the end it doesn’t matter why: this pencil is much more similar to a Staedtler Wopex or to a BIC ecolutions evolution than to a pencil made from rolled paper, like the ones shown in the battle of the eco pencils.

The pencil itself is round. I mention this because there is an older, hexagonal version – the one made from $7.33 of recycled Dollars.

Factory sharpened
Factory sharpened

The lead

The lead behaves and feels similar to the BIC ecolutions evolution, it’s just a bit less waxy. It’s definitely worse than a Staedtler Wopex, it’s not as dark and more plasticy, but much better than the catastrophic pencils made from recycled CD cases, which are widely used as promotional pencils. I’m not even looking for the CD case pencils on purpose, but have already come across four different ones. Two of them were left by students in different rooms in our university. I can’t blame them for not wanting to write with these pencils.

Sharpened using a Dux 9207-N
Sharpened using a DUX 9207-N


The Dux 9207-N
The Dux 9207-N

In a good sharpener, in this case the DUX 9207-N, sharpening the recycled money pencil is effortless. Despite being made from a material that seems quite a bit harder than wood the sharpener didn’t struggle at all. When sharpening the recycled money pencil in a ‘not so good’ sharpener or one where use has resulted in a blunt blade sharpening needs more effort than your average wood cased pencil.

Since we’re just talking about the sharpener anyway, the DUX 9207-N is a very nice sharpener, made from black Bakelite. As far as I know this sharpener has been first produced in the 1940s. You can sometimes see people on eBay trying to sell new versions of this sharpener as antiques. The DUX sharpens with an angle of ~20°. Please take the time to click on the picture of the sharpener to see the delicate, sophisticated pattern on the lid of the sharpener in higher resolution.



Some pencils made from recycled materials are truly awful. This pencil isn’t one of them. The fact that it’s made from recycled money makes it an interesting novelty. The lead is usable, even though it’S not as good as the best pencils made from recycled materials.


Tested on Banditapple 3G paper
Tested on Banditapple 3G paper


I’d like to thank Lexikaliker for getting me the Dux 9207-N sharpener. I couldn’t find it in any local shops.

I’d like to thank Dr. Mitchell Larson for the recycled money pencil.

A recycled money pencil has been recently mentioned in the Erasable podcast, probably in Episode 5.

BIC ecolutions evolution BLACK


SBIC ecolutions evolution BLACK

BIC ecolutions evolution BLACK packagingToday: another pencil from France. This time it’s an eco pencil, the BIC ecolutions evolution BLACK. It’s a really good looking eco pencil with gold lettering on a dark grey, slightly metallic looking body. I paid £1.49 (~$2.35; €1.80) for a set with four pencils from a local supermarket.

When I first saw the packaging I was sceptical – it looks good, but does it write well? Most eco pencils don’t write very well, with the Wopex and paper-rolled pencil being the only exceptions I find usable.


Similar pencils

“Relatives” of this pencil have been reviewed at pencil talk and Lexikaliker. Unsurprisingly the BIC ecolutions evolution BLACK seems to be very similar to these pencils. The box indicates that it’s made form 55% recycled material and looking closer this seems to be an extruded pencil with an aerated casing. The pencils seem to have more air bubbles in the centre of the body, near the lead.

...with the Dux Bio sharpener, a Wopex and a Silvine notebook
…with the Dux Bio sharpener, a Wopex and a Silvine notebook


The sharpener used

I thought an eco pencils deserved a suitable sharpener, so I tried out the Dux Bio, a sharpener being advertised as 100% compostable and made from 80% renewable resources – even though I think it might be biodegradable rather than compostable, i.e. it the sharpener probably doesn’t turn into humus .

BIC ecolutions evolution BLACK

A quick word about the Dux Bio, also known as the DX5907. It’s a great sharpener that produces an even point with an angle of ~24°, even on difficult to sharpen pencils. I actually tried to get my hands on one for a while, but wasn’t able to find it anywhere. In the end (about 18 months ago) Dux was kind enough to send me one.


Using this pencil

Sharpening this pencil is fairly easy for a pencil with a body made from recycled material other than paper. The graphite core looks similar to that of a traditional pencil, but when looking at a sharpened point the graphite seems to be more reflective. BIC ecolutions evolution BLACK

The BIC ecolutions evolution BLACK produced a fairly light line – so light that it is tempting to press harder, especially if the point has been used for a while and the line is wider. Unlike a more traditional pencil pressing harder doesn’t however result in a darker line – or should I say the causal relation between pressing harder and producing a darker line is not as obvious as it is with a normal pencil.BIC ecolutions evolution BLACK



Overall it’s not bad for a recycled pencil. It’s certainly much better than the recycled pencils made by Remarkable, but even though it’s easy to sharpen it doesn’t produce a line as good as the Wopex.

BIC ecolutions evolution BLACK

Price and exchanges rates: September 2013