Made in Malaysia


Faber-Castell dust-free eraser 18 71 70 15

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 Brunnen1 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 Mangan2 ) 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
  1. bought 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


Faber-Castell Grip 2001 Eraser Cap 12

One of the products of the Faber-Castell Grip 2001 series is the Faber-Castell Grip 2001 Eraser Cap. As far as I know it is available in grey, red, and blue …but I have to admit that I have never seen the blue one in real life. Shops in the UK usually only stock the grey version. The red one (and probably the blue one as well) is however available as part of the Faber-Castell Grip 2011 Office Set, but if you buy this set (or, more likely, get it as part of another purchase) you never know which colour you will get. The pack of two grey eraser caps has the Art No 18 70 00, the mixed colour pack has the Art No 18 70 01. I bought mine, i.e. the pack of two, from Cultpens for 90 pence (~ € 1.00). Another place to get them is WH Smith. They sell various Grip 2001 sets for what seems like a reasonable price. Most of them come with one or two Grip 2001 Eraser Caps.

... on a Faber-Castell Grip 2001

... on a Faber-Castell Grip 2001

So what is the Faber-Castell Grip 2001 Eraser Cap? First of all, it is an eraser. It can be put over the top of a pencil, obviously useful for pencils without an eraser tip. You could argue that it can also be used as a pencil extender, but because of its small size it would not be a very good extender. The cap can also be used to protect the point as there is an indentation inside to prevent the point from breaking when you insert the pencil. This ingenuity seems to be typical for Faber-Castell and reminds me of the Perfect Pencil. The point protection even works with long point pencils.

The eraser cap weights about 4 grams

The eraser cap weighs about 4 grams

The eraser is made in Malaysia, like other Faber-Castell erasers, but the rubber seems to be much harder than other erasers like the dust-free 18 71 20 or 18 71 30C. Usually I prefer soft erasers, like the Sanford Artgum Eraser, and try to avoid “hard” erasers as they usually do not work so well for me, but the Grip 2001 Eraser Cap works amazingly well and is nice to use. It seems to erase as well as other good hard eraser and performs much better than average, harder erasers (e.g. an Impega eraser). Even though I describe it as hard it is still soft enough to adjust to the shape of the pencil being used on. It fits the triangular Grip 2001 pencils as well as hexagonal or round pencils.

1 = Grip 2001 Eraser Cap, 2 = Staedtler Mars plastic

1 = Grip 2001 Eraser Cap, 2 = Staedtler Mars plastic

With a weight of about 4 grams it is roughly 2 grams lighter than the Faber-Castell 9000 Perfect Pencil. When put on a long pencil I find the Eraser Cap slightly too unbalanced, but on a shorter pencil it is not really distracting.

The eraser cap and a perfect pencil

The Eraser Cap and a Faber-Castell 9000 Perfect Pencil

Altogether the Faber-Castell Grip 2001 Eraser Cap is a fantastic eraser. I still prefer eraser tipped pencils, but not all pencils have ersaer tipped versions available. It is also fantastic to protect the point of pencils you carry with you.

The eraser cap on different pencils

The Eraser Cap on different pencils

If you want to read more about Faber-Castell Grip Erasers  read this article in Dave’s Mechanical Pencils blog. Lexikaliker has an article in German about an eraser cap from Läufer and Pencil Talk has a review of the KUM Blue Ocean pencil set that comes with a huge eraser cap.