Made in Japan


Fake! 6

This is a public service announcement. <Muzak playing in the background>

Many of our citizens have already been affected by a new type of fraud. The shameless fraudster don’t stop their relentless efforts to cheat us out of our well deserved stationery, working on schemes to exploit our deep desires for luxurious writing instruments.

The latest victim of the fraudsters is one of the staple pencils found in the office supply cabinet of bankers and dictators of small countries, the Graf von Faber-Castell Eine Cassette * hochfeiner Taschenbleistifte * Nr. II, versilbert.

Luckily, the forger behind this fake pencil that offers incredible resemblance to the original Graf von Faber-Castell made a tiny, but important mistake. This means that the fake pencil can be spotted without the need for carbon dating:
Unlike the real pencil, which is inscribed “Graf von Faber-Castell” the forger must have been a bit too much of a Tom Selleck fan and inscribed the cap ‘Magnum’. Open the picture in a new tab to compare the details. They also seem to have used a TiTi Kyung In T-Prime which had repeated appearances in this blog since 2009.

If you have any tips that could lead to the arrest of the forger please contact the Posh Stationery department of your local anti fraud organisation.


Just to spell it out to avoid misunderstandings: I can’t say this is a popular pencil (it’s not a popular Montblanc model) so I doubt anyone (other than myself for the photos in this blog post) would create a fake version.


A Look at Pentel’s orenznero PP3002 2

In a recent blog post I introduced the new Pentel orenznero, also called PP3002, its model number (for the 0.2mm version).

As you probably know nero means black in Latin and Italian – and, surprise surprise, the orenznero is black. Nero is also oren, as in oren(z), spelt backwards. Pentel seems to try to emphasise this fact by not using capital letters and the o on both ends of orenznero is stylised as, what looks to me like, a lead in a pencil sleeve viewed from the top.

Thanks to Yumiko I got one just after it was released in Japan. Altogether I paid just over £30 (~$36;35).
Here are my observations regarding this pencil after a week of use.

 

Transporting this pencil

First off: transporting this pen.

You can’t make this pencil pocket safe very easily. It is possible to retract the sleeve, but you have to push the sleeve/pipe really hard into the body of the pen, for example with your fingernail.

It’s also not a great pen to transport in pen sleeves/pockets/slots1. If you try to put this pencil in a pocket where the pencil’s sleeve or pipe will touch the material of the pen slot (think of something like the Nock Co Hightower)  the lead will forward and possibly break in your pen slot.

Materials used

The Orenznero looks beautiful. Especially on photos where you think it has something of the allure of the Rotring 800.

The Orenznero next to a Rotring 800

In reality, the Orenznero feels much cheaper. The body is made from plastic, but it is nice to touch plastic with a little bit of a texture.

The surface has a bit of a texture (enlarge picture to see)

Handling

The original Orenz is a great pencil. It felt as if Pentel revived an old friend of mine, the Staedtler Microfix.

Top to bottom: Staedtler Microfix, Pentel Orenz and Orenznero

In my previous blog post about the Orenznero, I talked about the history of the sliding sleeve pencil and about alternatives, including very cheap alternatives from Faber-Castell that cost less than a tenth of what I paid for the Orenznero.

Grip section to the left

Well, I have to say that the Orenznero feels, of course, better and is better made, but because the original or classic Orenz was so good I somehow expected that the Orenznero represents a quantum leap for auto advance pencils. This is not the case! It is, however, a nice pencil.

The Orenznero will work great is you hold it vertically, but if you write at an angle the sleeve will not glide back properly as it does with the classic Orenz, so if you don’t use light pressure when writing your graphite lines on the paper will get very thin or will even disappear as the sleeve will cover them. The force needed to slide the sleeve starts very low, like a classic Orenz, but the more the sleeve is pushed into the body the more pressure you need, in the end up to 0.3N.

A picture from an old blog post to illustrate this

Advancing the lead with a click and using the Orenznero like a normal pencil is not an option as it will advance too much of the 0.2mm lead – it would break. One thing to add, the Orenznero is very comfortable to write with hand has a nice centre of gravity in the front half.

You can see the centre of gravity where the pencil is balanced

Conclusion

It’s a nice pencil, but it requires a bit more pressure to write with. This is off putting in my case, as I am not so keen on pens that subconsciously make me change my writing habit (in this case to make me press harder when writing), something that might turn into the behaviour I use with other pens, too.

Just because it is such a nicely designed pencil I will use it a bit longer though, at least for now.

Mass-carved & Microfabbication??

  1. I am trying to clarify here as very different things are called a sleeve. []

Pentel’s new orenznero 3

Auto advancing pencils, from the 1970s to now

Auto-advancing mechanical pencils have been around for a while now. The Faber-Castell alpha-matic was released in the 1970s and was, as far as I know, the first of this type1.

These pencils usually work by forwarding the lead a bit when the sleeve or cone near the tip is depressed while writing. This will forward the lead a bit. As forwarding the lead is done automatically every time the sleeve is pressed during writing there is no need to push the pencil’s button anymore.

Pilot has a pencil similar to the Faber-Castell alpha-matic, but Pilot’s version is still made today. It’s called the Automac and looking at the grip section I think that the mechanism isn’t the only thing this pencil has borrowed from the alpha-matic. I think the Automac pays homage to the original auto-advancing pencil with its similar grip section.

My experience with auto-advancing pencils

If you want to try out a pencil like this: Faber-Castell still has you covered: For under £3 (~<$3.50; <€3.50) you can get a plasticky one with a cone that does the job. Ten years ago I used these a lot, just because of the novelty (at least for me it was new at that time). It was the only auto-forwarding pencil I have ever used. It worked well for me, but anytime I’d hand it over to a colleague to write with, especially if the pencil is filled with coloured leads, the user was almost guaranteed to break the lead and clog up the mechanism as it didn’t work well with soft leads, like coloured leads, at all.

Umeda (Osaka) Loft (image © Yumiko)

Enter Pentel’s orenznero

When Pentel’s fibonacci mountain video came out last week I was immediately intrigued. In this video the new orenznero is used in a plotter. I never owned a plotter, but having spent most of my pocket money in the 1980s on computer magazines the video was more than fascinating as a normal plotter wouldn’t work with a pencil for long periods of time without some extra mechanism. Pencils tend to get shorter when you write, unlike ballpoint pens or fountain pens, so the plotter would either have to lower the pencil again and again (for wood-cased and mechanical pencils) or it would have to press the button to forward the lead (for mechanical pencils).

The plotter in Pentel’s video doesn’t do either, so the orenznero must have some sort of auto-forwarding mechanism. Just like when writing with a normal Orenz, you can write for a long time with the new orenznero without having to push the button to forward the lead, but this time it’s not the sleeve retracting, it’s the lead forwarding that makes this possible.

Some of the diagrams from Pentel make me think that their mechanism works even if the sleeve doesn’t touch the paper at all, but I am not sure about that and the Japanese I learned at university in the 1990s is just enough for me to decipher some Katakanas, not enought to figure out how the orenznero works, so I’ll have to wait and see.

The good news is that Yumiko, I mentioned her before on this blog, has bought me one already, from Umeda (Osaka) Loft, so I will be able to try it out soon.

Mine 8^D (image © Yumiko)

There is a 0.2mm and a 0.3mm version. Even though 0.3mm would enable me to use Stadtler Mars micro and Pilot neox graphite leads I asked for the 0.2mm version as that is closer to a freshly sharpened wood-cased pencil and fits my small writing better. Well, it turned out that the 0.3mm version was sold out anyway and there were only two or three 0.2mm pencils left. Lucky me!


I would like to thank Yumiko for helping me to get this pencil.

If you want to find outmore about the (old) Orenz, here is my blog post about the 0.2mm version0.3mm version,  0.5mm version, and sliding sleeve pencils in general. There is also a page comparing different sliding sleeve pencils.

Reviews of the (old) Orenz can be found at Lexikaliker (german), The Pen Addict, I Liek Pencils, One Lone Man’s Pens and Pencils, and Rhonda Eudaly.

 

 

  1. You can’t this model them for quite a while now and used prices for the alpha-matic can easily reach £200 (~$250; €235) or more. []

Pencil Pot Of The Month – December 2016 2

ppotm-december1

Description: A pencil pot made from fabric and leather. Made in Japan by Horishima based United Bees.

Price: Unknown, it was a gift

Material: Leather (handle) and a fabric similar to what you find on backpacks

Further information: I got this pencil pot as a gift from Yumiko from Japan (Thanks). It comes with a cross type divider you often get with pencil pots – when you look from the top a cross divides the pencil pot space into four equal sections. I saw on the label that it is made in Japan, but didn’t want to check the manufacturer’s web site for more info as I thought that would bring me to the price and it didn’t feel right to  look up the price of a gift.

ppotm-december2


Nail-gun-sharpening discontinued glow-in-the-dark pencils 1

What an odd blog post title, but it’s just about a few things worth mentioning that didn’t make it into their own blog posts. You might have already seen some on Bleistift’s Facebook page.

 

Pilot 78G

It’s quite sad to read that the Pilot 78G has been discontinued. I have been using one for a while and really like it. There were rumours about it being discontinued for a while, but it now seems to have come true. You can still get them cheap on eBay, especially the ones with M or B nibs.

Image from ebay seller currycurrysing

Image from ebay seller currycurrysing

I just bought a blue one with a fine nib. More expensive than many other 78Gs, but still not more expensive than a Lamy Safari.

 

Roald Dahl

Bruce send me this link to a video where Roald Dahl, probably most famous for his books for children, talks about sharpening pencils.

Nail Gun

A very different way of sharpening pencils: a nail gun with a built-in pencil sharpener on Reddit.

 

Glow-in-the-dark pencil

I wish our city had a store like that (Image © Karrot Entertainment)

I wish our city had a store like that (Image © Karrot Entertainment)

When our little one was watching CeeBeebies I noticed that the episode of Sarah & Duck he was watching also had some content for stationery fans. It was about a glow-in-the-dark pencil.

Glow-in-the-dark pencils (Image © Karrot Entertainment)

Glow-in-the-dark pencils (Image © Karrot Entertainment)


I believe that the use of the eBay image and the images shown in this blog post, taken from the third episode pf the third season of Sarah & Duck, falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.