Made in Japan


Silver 5

When I bought the Chinese New Year pens from BIC I also put a few more items in the basket to get free shipping. One of them was the BIC Silver Set: Seven silver-ish pens and a silver-ish notebook. The official UK price is £16.99 (~$22.70; €20.50). I saw which pens will be included, but didn’t know what to expect in terms of material. Will some of them have a metal body?

In case you wonder: all of the pens are plastic-y, none have a metal body. The 2mm Criterium lead holder would have been amazing with a metal body – a bit like the Caran d’Ache Fixpencil 884. The American made marking pencil is quite interesting. You can use it to mark any(?) surface with nice, opaque silver-grey paint – good to label black plastic or metal.

I really like that the packaging shows where the different pens are from.


Price and exchange rates: March 2022


ippo! x MONO 3

Thanks to Shangching from East…West…Everywhere my family got a parcel with some nice stationery surprises and our son, and by extension I, were able to try out Tombow’s ippo! pencils for school children as well as the corresponding eraser.

My understanding is that the pencils from this set aim at being easily erasable, so they have soft leads that produced nice, dark lines and the special eraser makes it easy for kids to erase any mistakes cleanly and nice, making the page ready for the next attempt.

Like many other Tombow pencils, the ippo! pencils, this set came with two in red, two in blue, two in yellow, are all made in Vietnam. The eraser was manufactured in Japan.

Hats off to Tombow, this set definitely achieves what (I think) it set out to do.

The eraser performs very similar to other dust free erasers, but feels softer, so makes for pleasant erasing. The pencils, being (Japanese) 2B, are very soft. The softness of the lead will probably help in making the user press less hard, so the writing is more likely to be on top of the paper whereas a harder lead might have made the user press down more, resulting in compressed paper where the line was. No compressed paper -> no deep lines, which will still be visible after erasing as a sort of crevice on the page -> the erased area looks very clean.

I also like the fact that the eraser sleeve is perforated, so you can easily shorten it when the eraser gets used up.

Compared to another dust free eraser on paper from the Monocle by Leuchtturm notebook

Overall a very nice pencil and eraser set. Similar to other Kakikata pencils the pencils have an area for labelling with your name and are uncapped.


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