Made in Japan


Masuwa’s pencil knife 3

Masuwa “Pensil sharpner”

One of the latest additions to my assortment of pencil sharpeners is the rather beautiful pencil knife from Masuwa.

The pencil knife is available in different versions. This is the version that comes in a beautiful case in either cherry or walnut wood. I picked cherry wood as the walnut version, even though it is also very beautiful, looked a bit too serious for my current taste.

The set comes with a bit of ‘paper work’ (see image above), some little feet you can put on the bottom of your wooden case and it comes, of course, with the star of the set: the pencil knife (wrapped in paper in the image above and unwrapped in the image below) as well as the sandpaper-like surface at the bottom of the case (visible in the image below) that can be used to shape the graphite point.

I hope you agree that this set is stunningly handsome.

The blade comes with a notch similar to the one you can find on the blade of an electrician’s knife. It is also extremely sharp as you can see in the video I link to in this blog post [1]I actually linked to the video in the Reddit pencil group, but unfortunately the moderators removed it without any explanation..

The end of the handle shows the manufacturer’s mark.

The design of the box means that the knife disappears in a slot at the bottom of the case. There is an equivalent slot in the lid to enable the lid to sit perfectly on top. There is however nothing to securely hold the lid in places. If you want to take this case with you you will need to secure it with a rubber band or maybe with a more elegant solution I didn’t come up with yet.

The end of the case near the ‘sandpaper’ (more about that in my video) is lowered to create a nice angle when you use the ‘sandpaper’ and to hold pencil shavings if necessary.

The box is well made, not only on the inside, but also from the outside – and the lid fits exactly.

Be aware though, the look will change very soon. Any graphite dust will seep into and saturate the porous wooden surface and will be more or less impossible to get out. I tried to clean the wood using different (non-destructive) means and was unsuccessful. You probably best try to convince yourself that this is an example of 用美 [2]Lexikaliker wrote a blog post about Yo no bi. – beauty through use, like for example a nicely aged product made from leather that changes over time and shows signs of use.

You can also get a cheaper version of this knife with a much simpler rest instead of a case.

Thanks to Stephen who made me aware of this pencil knife.

To finish off: a video from the manufacturer:

References

References
1I actually linked to the video in the Reddit pencil group, but unfortunately the moderators removed it without any explanation.
2Lexikaliker wrote a blog post about Yo no bi.

More about Staedtler’s 925 15 2

Today: a closer look at Staetdler’s handsome 925 15 mechanical pencil. You might remember it from a previous blog post from 2017.

It’s quite affordable and surprisingly light, maybe even too light for some users’ liking. In this video we’ll have a closer look at the 925 15.


Open in YouTube to watch in high resolution.

I bought the 0.3 mm version, so the video is about only covering this version, but this pencil is also available in 0.5mm, 0.7mm and 0.9mm.

All parts of the pencil have been designed beautifully.

The official price is ¥500 (~$4.40; £3.30; €3.75), but by the time you add shipping from Japan (when you buy from eBay) the price is a bit higher – still not expensive though.


Price and exchange rates: December 2017


Staedtler’s new 925 15 mechanical pencil 11

 

Today: a quick look at Staedtler’s new 925 15 mechanical pencil. Another pencil I got to know from Gunther.

The 925 15 came out in November 2017, has an official price of ¥500 (~$4.40; £3.30; €3.75) and is available in 0.3mm, 0.5mm, 0.7mm and 0.9mm.

In my opinion, it looks absolutely stunning. The grip section is made from Elastomer. One thing to note: as it is rather rubbery little bits of fibre or dust will easily stick to the grip section.

The push button looks quite different to the push button found on other members of Staedtler’s 925 family. By the way, I have no idea how the numbers after 925, in this case, 15, are assigned. They don’t seem to be in chronological order, but they also don’t seem to indicate how cheap or expensive the pen is. The 925 15 has a much smaller push button than its relatives and comes with a hole. I couldn’t think of any practical use for the hole (checking whether the eraser is used up?) – the only reason I could think of was the same reason why pen caps have holes, so that air can flow in case anyone (most likely children) swallow the cap and it is stuck in the windpipe. ジムキング confirmed that this is the most likely reason for the hole in the push button.

Here’s a family photo with some other 925s.

Top to bottom: 900 25, 925 15, 925 25, 925 35, 925 65, 925 85

The 925 15 is so nice, it deserves a centrefold picture. If it was a bit heavier and had a sliding sleeve it would probably become my daily mechanical pencil.


Price and exchange rates: December 2017


Pencils for score keeping

My ‘baseball pencil’ choice

Last month Josha from the Netherlands sent me an email. He is using pencils for the purpose of keeping score during baseball games. He wrote:

For baseball score keeping addicts, like myself and many others out there, there are three important things to a pencil:
1. lead must not smear
2. a good sharpener so you can use the pencil without sharpening too often during a match (which can take up to three and a half hours)
3. a good eraser.
(4th optional: a good red pencil!!)

Pencil (graphite) and no sharpener

Keeping all the requirements in mind my first idea for a graphite pencil is a Mars Lumograph in F. It doesn’t smear and will keep the point for a long time. I have written many pages of text in meetings with the Lumograph in F, without sharpening, so I think it should be able to survive 3½h of writing of score keeping.

Eraser

There is no eraser tipped version of the Lumograph, so I would take a dust free eraser with me. My favourite type of eraser. You can get them from Faber-Castell (in big and small), Staedtler, Tombow and many other brands.

Red pencil

Josha explains:

The red pencils are commonly used for tho things: number the strike-outs and underline red handed players. So they’re mostly used for writing numbers.

As a good red pencil that keeps the point for while I would go for the Staedtler Noris colour, made from Wopex material, or the Mitsubishi 7700. Both pencils have been covered in this previous blog post. Mitsubishi’s 7700 line was stopped, but luckily the red 7700 is still available.

As described in that blog post the Mitsubishi creates a darker shade of red on the paper (…at least when used with 1.8 N and an angle of 90° while moving along the paper with 25 mm/s. The pencils will behave differently under different conditions).

Mitsubishi 7700 #15 RedNoris colour, a similar shade of red
Sample:m15Histogram:
hbm15
Sample:ncredHistogram:hbncred

The comments from Josha’s Instagram account imply that he is selling notebooks he made for baseball score keeping. I don’t have further information and didn’t try to explore this further. I just liked matching the pencil requirements to real world pencils.


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.