Made in Malaysia


Faber-Castell’s Goldfaber pencil set 2

Helping Hands

A few weeks ago David from Helping Hands Craft contacted me. He asked me if I want to review any of their products. I wasn’t aware of their shop before he contact me but was quite impressed by their selection of Faber-Castell products. As a review item I picked the Goldfaber pencil set for £4.50. Looking through their Faber-Castell items I was positively surprised to see other unusual items, for example

The Goldfaber pencil set

Back to the less exotic Faber-Castell item I want to write about today: The Goldfaber set contains

  • 4 Goldfaber HB pencils,
  • a sharpener (presumably from Eisen [1]an underrated sharpener brand I have been occasionally mentioning over the last twelve years),
  • and the big version of my favourite eraser [2]find out more in this 2010 blog post.

The Goldfaber pencils are made in Indonesia, just like the Columbus, its Irish cousin, and the Bonanza, its Arabic [3]The Bonanza used to be more widely available, but seems to be difficult to get outside the Middle East cousin. The pencil set is marked as being Made in Germany, so I was initially surprised and thought Goldfaber production has moved back to Germany, but when I checked with Faber-Castell they confirmed that this is a mistake and that they will fix this in the future. They have also confirmed that the Goldfaber is made in Indonesia. Unfortunately that’s as far as I got. My further request to get my suspicion regarding the wood being used confirmed was not successful.

Goldfaber 1221

The Goldfaber 1221 pencil is a nice writer. It is HB but writes darker than a Castell 9000 in B. I am not surprised though – I always found the 9000 to be lighter than similar grades in other pencils. Pearson’s Graphite 2015 confirms this, the Goldfaber HB is listed with a darkness of 12, the Castell 9000 B with a darkness of 8 [4]higher value = darker. The wood being used in the Goldfaber is also very good. For the price you pay the quality is excellent, but it can’t compete with high-end pencils from Faber-Castell or other brands. Out of the four pencils from the set one is slightly bent, two could have a better centred lead and all four don’t have a perfect paintjob. These small shortcomings don’t detract from the positive impression left by the dark graphite and the nice wood, especially not at this price [5]Eraser and sharpener are approximately half the value of the £4.50. There was also a faint smell of paint when the Goldfabers were fresh out of the box, something Faber-Castell’s Castell 9000 with its water-based varnish doesn’t suffer from, but the smell disappeared after a while.

Sharpener and eraser

The German-made sharpener, presumably an Eisen 040, does an excellent job, as does my favourite eraser, the Malaysian-made 187120, a dust free / no dust eraser.

A video with an overview

Conclusion

Overall, this is a very nice pencil set, especially if you want a nice eraser and want a small sharpener and don’t need it to be a container sharpener.


Just to spell it out, I have not been paid for this blog post or for any other blog posts.

References

References
1an underrated sharpener brand I have been occasionally mentioning over the last twelve years
2find out more in this 2010 blog post
3The Bonanza used to be more widely available, but seems to be difficult to get outside the Middle East
4higher value = darker
5Eraser and sharpener are approximately half the value of the £4.50

Legend 1

It’s easy to be suspicious about a product when its name feels a bit overconfident. In the case of the Stabilo legend 1198 eraser, I can report good news, though.

Happy colours

This Malaysian-made eraser is available in five bright colours and is surprisingly cheap: you can sometimes find it for under 50p (~50c; ~50¢) – or rather that’s the price per eraser if you buy a multi-pack. Stabilo’s international and German web sites don’t mention the legend, so it is probably not a very important product for them, but the packaging of my box of twenty is labelled in many languages [1]GB. MY, DE, FR, IT, ES, Pt, RU, GR, SA, TR, HR, which suggests that it is officially available in most European countries.

Notice the rolled up eraser dust on the left

Even though there is no mention of it being dust-free it behaves very much like a dust-free eraser, i.e. the erasing ‘dust’ rolls into strands which makes erasing a pleasant and mess-free task. The ‘dust-free-ness’, together with the nice bright colours, make it a good choice for my taste. The legend is not that common, which is a shame, but if you ever see it in a shop, maybe give it a try…


Price: April 2021

References

References
1GB. MY, DE, FR, IT, ES, Pt, RU, GR, SA, TR, HR

Faber-Castell dust-free eraser 18 71 70 17

Dust free - my favourite kind of eraser

Dust free – my favourite kind of eraser

Previously I have mentioned that I came across a new, nice eraser. Well, this eraser is new to me – and Faber-Castell have confirmed that this eraser, the blue, dust-free eraser ’18 71 70′, is available in Malaysia, but is not officially available in Europe. It seems to be for sale in Canada, though. I paid 4元 (~ 65¢; 55c; 45p) for this eraser.

Faber-Castell's 18 71 70 eraser

Faber-Castell’s 18 71 70 eraser

Performance is similar to the 18 71 20 (which is the bigger version of the 18 71 30). The blue 18 71 70 seemed to be a little bit softer and required a little bit less effort than the white 18 71 20, which is already very soft and effortless to use. This could however be because the white 18 71 20 is a few years old. The dust of the blue 18 71 70 did not roll up as neatly into strands as that of the white 18 71 20.

There is also a black version of the 18 71 70, the 18 71 71. According to Faber-Castell both versions are identical except the colour. According to Faber-Castell the white dust-free erasers 18 71 20 and 18 71 30 are phthalate free. There are no similar claims regarding the blue or black dust-free eraser.

 

Comparison 18 71 20 and 18 71 70

Comparison 18 71 20 and 18 71 70, Fili Perfetto pencil, Deli Report Pad paper

In case you wonder why my 18 71 20 looks so funny on the picture, it took on the colour of my Berit case after being stores in the Berit case for a while. Eraser easily take on the colour of items they touch, or even ‘dissolve’ other items.


Price: December 2014

Exchange rates: January 2015

 


Staedtler Noris 120 11

Top to bottom: Malaysia, Great Britain, Germany

In a previous blog post I compared three Staedtler tradition 110 pencils, made in three different factories – the one in Wales, the one in Australia and the one in Germany. Today I want to look at three different Staedtler Noris 120 pencils – made in Malaysia, Wales and Germany. I bought a dozen of the Malaysian Noris in March 2010 for £2.24 (~ $3.40; €2.78) from a Malaysian seller on eBay.

Noris presharpened, top to bottom: Malaysia, Great Britain, Germany

The only pencil from this comparison that is still in production is the Nuremberg-made Noris. The factory in Malaysia closed down two years ago and the factory in Wales closed down four years ago. You can still find Welsh-made pencils in the UK, but there are very few shops left that still have stock. I am not sure about the situation in Malaysia, but I assume most of the Malaysian Noris are also sold by now. In a previous blog post I mentioned that 2B is the most common pencil grade in Malaysia. It is so popular in Malaysia that the Malaysian Noris is only available in 2B, therefore I’ll compare it with the Welsh and German Noris in 2B.

Different caps – Top to bottom: Malaysian 2B, Welsh 2B, Welsh B, German 2B

The colour of the Noris cap normally indicates the pencil grade. The HB Noris has a red cap. Strangely enough the cap colour is not consistent. The older Welsh and Malaysian 2B Noris have black caps, while the newer German Noris, bought in April 2012 at Müller in Volkach, Germany for €0.59 (~ $0.73; £0.47), has an orange cap, similar, but a slightly lighter in colour than the orange cap of a Welsh Noris B.

Noris sharpener (511 004) and two wedge sharpeners (510 10 and 510 50)

Which eraser could be most suitable to sharpen a Noris? None other than the Staedtler Noris sharpener, of course. Bought at Currys / PC World in Preston, when they tried to get rid of their stationery in December 2011 this sharpener was part of a ‘study set’ that came with 2 Noris HB, one Staedtler Mars plastic eraser and the Staedtler Noris sharpener for £1.17 (~ $1.79; €1.45). The blister pack says “Made in Germany”, but the wedge sharpener in the Noris sharpener is made in China, or at least the the metal body of the sharpener inside is. I wonder why Staedtler put a metal sharpener in there. Most people probably wouldn’t notice and Staedtler sells plastic sharpeners with the same form factor that could have been used in the Noris sharpener to keep the price down…

The W wedge sharpener in the Noris sharpener

The bottom of the metal sharpener 510 10 in the Noris sharpener features a ‘W’, which indicates that this sharpener is one of Staedtler’s newer sharpeners, optimised for use with the Wopex. It has a sharpening angle of 23°. The thickness of the shavings produced by the Wopex-optimised sharpener is the same as the one by the older model, usually just under 0.3 mm. I assume the difference is in the way the blade has been sharpened.

The older 510 10 wedge sharpener

I used a notepad from Brunnen [1]bought in August 2011 at McPaper in Schweinfurt, Germany for €1.19 (~ $1.46; £0.96) to compare the different leads in terms of smoothness, reflectiveness, darkness, erasability, graphite transfer to another page and how long they keep the point. As far as I can tell the three different Noris perform very similar. The graphite from the Malaysian Noris might transfer a bit easier to another page, e.g. in a diary, but it’s only every so slightly worse than the other two Noris pencils.

No bar code on the Malaysian Noris

In terms of exterior appearance the Welsh and German Noris are nearly on par, with the paint on the Noris from Nuremberg being slightly more even. The paint of the Malaysian Noris is however much worse, but still better than the no name or own brand pencils you usually get in super markets. The Welsh Noris has a diameter of 7mm, which is slightly more than the 6.9mm the Malaysian and German pencils have.

For me the Noris is THE typical pencil. Previous blog posts showed the Noris being featured on TV. Today I want to add two more screen shots. One from Episodes, where Sean Lincoln (played by Stephen Mangan [2]…who recently, as Dirk Gently, used a Faber-Castell Grip 2001 ) is using a Stadtler Noris in the USA, even though it isn’t officially on sale in the USA. The character must have brought it from the UK, the desk is full of Noris pencils ..or, in the real world, this scene might have been filmed in the UK.

Episodes (Image © Hat Trick)

The other screen shot is from episode 705 “Liebeswirren” of German/Austrian/Swiss crime TV series Tatort. One of the actors in this episode from Munich was Christoph Waltz of Inglourious Basterds fame.

Tatort (Image © Bayerischer Rundfunk)


Exchange rates: June 2012.

I believe that the use of the following images falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service:

  • The screen shot of Stephen Mangan and the Staedtler Noris, taken from episode three of the second season of the TV series Episodes
  • The screen shot of Udo Wachtveitl and the Staedtler Nori, taken from the Tatort #705  Liebeswirren

References

References
1bought in August 2011 at McPaper in Schweinfurt, Germany for €1.19 (~ $1.46; £0.96)
2…who recently, as Dirk Gently, used a Faber-Castell Grip 2001

My favourite eraser 16

My favourite eraser is, without a shadow of a doubt, the Faber-Castell 18 71 20 Dust-Free eraser …or its little brother, the 18 71 30. There are many good erasers. I like Sanford’s Artgum eraser, I sometimes use the Staedtler Mars plastic stick eraser and also cannot really complain about some of the high end erasers I use, like the Graf von Faber-Castell Ersatzradiergummi

…but none of them matches the comfort and softness of the 18 71 20 / 18 71 30. It does not smear and it does erase like a dream. It is made in Malaysia, like many of Faber-Castell’s erasers, and is suppossed to be dust-free, which refers to the fact that the eraser waste twists up into strands. There are similar erasers out there, for example Flomo’s Non-Dust eraser from Shanghai, but they are usually not as soft and do not erase as well.

Faber-Castell’s dust-free eraser is relatively new, it has only been introduced in 2004.The retail price in the UK is around the £ 1 ($ 1.62; € 1.14) mark, often a little bit higher.

I would be happy to hear what you think of this eraser. Is it only me or do others also think that this eraser is so much better than any other eraser? If you have a chance to try this eraser out, please give it a go.

Flomo Non-Dust (left), 18 71 30C (middle) and 18 71 20 (right)

In case you wonder about the notebook you can see in the photos. It’s a A4 spiral divider notebook with coloured index tabs, made from FSC paper (70 g/m²). It was sold in the UK through Lidl stores and is, as far as I know, made by Zebra Papierverarbeitungs GmbH. It should be available from ProNa.


Price and exchange rates: November 2010