Made in Thailand


Staedtler’s Kakikata Pencils 3

 

If you’ve been reading pencil blogs for a while you’ve probably come across Kakikata pencils before. Gunther showed some beautiful ones on his blog, nearly ten years ago, and Stephen had some nice ones, too.

According to one JetPens product page Kakikata means ‘way of writing’. I can’t really comment, it’s now 20 years that I learned Japanese and I forgot virtually everything except the odd katakana ..but other sources seem to indicate that Kakikata means ‘how to write’, which seems to be a better translation, at least for the Staedtler Kakikata pencils I want to show today1.

 

They were released in December 2016 and are aimed at school children. An automatic translation of the text on the box also seems to confirm that they are for children (There are warnings like ‘don’t use for anything other than writing’, ‘please be careful when handling’ plus there are also instructions for parents.), as do some of the designs used, but the from what I have seen from the Staedtler Japan page they say adults can use them, too ;^)

Staedler’s Kakikata pencils are made from FSC certified wood in their factory in Thailand, where Staedtler’s Norica and other pencils are made, too. I found out that they are officially being sold in Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, China and Taiwan, but am not sure whether they will have a different packaging outside Japan, i.e. whether the box will be translated into the local language.

Boys’ toys

Girly

I love how the look of the wood has been integrated into the designs of these pencils, as a background to the motifs used. There are three different packs, all available in HB, B and 2B, with three different pencil designs in each pack. The blue pack (Aorimo あおいも) is boy-themed, the red one (Akaimo あかいも) is girl-themed and the green one (Midori みどり) seems fairly gender neutral.

 

As is common in Japan the pencils are unsharpened and since these are for children there’s also space to write the child’s name on.


Near the end the body is silver or gold stamped with the lead degree (HB, B or 2B) and unlike the Noris or the Mars Lumograph that have lacquer caps the end of this Kakikata pencil is not capped.

..with the 501 180 sharpener

Depending on where you buy it you pay somewhere between ¥700 and ¥900 (~$7, £6; €7) for a dozen.


You can find the original press release at this address, including the product numbers for they various colour and lead grade combinations. 
I would like to thank Claudia Förster for these pencils and for finding out in which countries they’re being sold.

Pencil Talk has even more Kakikata pencils than the ones linked to at the beginning of this blog post, and Jinnie has some, too.

If you want to have a look at a Kakikata felt tip pen have a look at Brad’s post.

The Staedtler sharpener form the last picture has been mentioned before and I’ve made a video review, but the blog post is still waiting to be finished.

There are also other unsharpened Staedtler pencils for the Japanese market. I have mentioned the Lumograph many times, so I’ll spare you the links to those videos and to Gunther’s blog post this time.

  1. I assume depending on context it can mean either. []

More Staedtler at Insights X 2016 9

As mentioned in the previous blog post about the updated Mars technico 780C I want to show a few of the other new Staedtler products. This is the second of two blog posts about Staedtler at Insights X 2016.

Metal sharpeners

The well-known metal sharpeners 510 10 and 510 20 (double hole) are now also available in a range of metallic colours. You can read about the golden anniversary edition in this blog post and about the change to the Wopex friendly version in this blog post.

Some of the new metallic colours

Some of the new metallic colours

I think these sharpeners should be available any day now. I am not sure about the price but assume it won’t be very different to the existing 510 sharpeners.

 

Mess free pencil case sharpeners

staedtler-insightsx-3

Zipped pencil cases, like the leather one shown here or the very affordable one shown here, are very common in continental Europe. The problem though is that the sharpeners that fit in these cases tend to make a mess as they don’t have a container.

staedtler-insightsx-4

You obviously don’t sharpen over your pencil case, but a bit of graphite will still stick to the sharpener and ‘pollute’ the pencil case over time.

staedtler-insightsx-2

The new plastic sharpeners aim at solving this problem by also closing the holes of the sharpeners while trying to keep the size to a minimum so that it still fits into these pencil cases.

...in my Eberhard Faber pencil case

…in my Eberhard Faber pencil case

This new sharpener, 512 60C, should be available from January 2017 for €1.80 (~$1.95; £1.60).

 

‘Geometric compasses’

I previously mentioned there is also new set of compasses that

  • convey the idea of geometry through basic geometric forms and that
  • convey the idea of colour through a special paint.

Well, unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo of these compasses when I was at the Staedtler stand. Sorry.

 

Rulers and set squares for right and left handed use

I was only able to take a photo of the 30cm rulers for right and left handed use, article number 562 300 PB, but there is also a set of two 15cm rulers and a geometry set (set square, ..) for right and left handed use. The rulers will sell for €1 (~$1.10; 90p), the geometry set for €2 (~$2.20; £1.80).

Ruler 562 300 PB

Ruler 562 300 PB

The Noris eco in 2H, H, HB, B and 2B

Well, of course, I saved the best till last. We’re finally getting some pencils made from Wopex material in different grades!

You might remember that, despite being a fan of the Wopex, for example, because it doesn’t exhibit graphite transfer issues like other pencils, I was quite disappointed with the previous 2B and 2H Wopex – just because there was virtually no difference between the different grades.

The Noris eco in five grades

The Noris eco in five grades

The good news is that the new version of the Noris eco, available in five grades, seems to have solved this issue. I believe that they are still working on improving the ‘lead recipe’ even further, but the new grades will be available early next year.


La La Land Popcult pencils 6

La La Land envelopeToday: TV series and pop culture themed pencils. You might have previously seen them at BoingBoing.

lala-pencils

 

Scotland and England

These are actually Chambers pencils that are hand stamped in Glasgow using hot foil stamping. The pencils I have received had the quotes written in gold coloured, upper case characters. I assume all Popcult pencils are like that, with the colour of the body and the quote itself being the main difference between different sets.

Chambers is an English company that started in 1913 and then, 99 years ago, became F.Chambers & Co Ltd. As far as I know they now belong to Italy’s Fila and have stopped producing pencils in the UK. The Chambers pencils used by La La Land, the people behind the Popcult pencils, are made in Thailand.

lala-end

Pop culture

Many of the eraser tipped pencils have themes from TV series or movies. The level of accuracy varies. While Star Wars gets proper quotes, including “No, I am your father” instead of “Luke, I am your father”, Star Trek has to suffer the ‘fake’ quote “Beam me up Scotty” – but that doesn’t really matter, I guess.

lala-point

Price and colours

In March I bought the “Star Trek pack of 3 blue stamped pencils” and the “Breaking Bad pack of 3 green stamped pencils” for £3.50 each plus £2 shipping, so £9 (~$15.20; €11) in total for six pencils. Unfortunately I didn’t realise that the colour in the article description is not linked to the colour of the actual product. I ended up getting the same colour for both, Breaking Bad and Star Trek pencils (meth blue / TOS Science blue), instead of the expected colours as seen on their web site. I was told that  there is a disclaimer on the etsy shop page that states that colour may vary as they sometimes run out of certain colours, but I didn’t notice the disclaimer when ordering and my personal opinion is that it might be better to remove the colour from the product description and to make the disclaimer more obvious.

jlewis-realmongol

 Performance

The pencils do perform surprisingly well. For my taste point retention could be better, but reading other blogs I get the impression that generally point retention is not a big issue for most pencil users. If you are happy to use a B or even a 2B pencil you certainly shouldn’t have any issues with these pencils’ point retention.

jlewis-thai

As stated earlier, the pencils are made in Thailand, so I thought I compare them to some other Thai pencils. By coincidence the Thai pencils I want to compare them to also have a Scottish link: they’re from John Lewis. I would describe them as Mongol copies or Mongol type pencils, but as you can see,  in comparison with a real Mongol they exhibit a more aggressive shade of yellow. A dozen of these Mongol type pencils used to cost £1.50. I’m not sure whether the price has changed since I bought these, I should check next time I go to a John Lewis store.

Please click on image to better see the differences. Paper: Banditapple 3G.

Please click on image to better see the differences. Paper: Banditapple 3G.

Paper: Banditapple 3G

Paper: Banditapple 3G

Except point retention, mentioned earlier, these pencils are surprisingly good. The John Lewis pencil feels a bit smoother though, and slightly darker, with slightly worse point retention. The John Lewis eraser is also smoother and cleaner, but I guess that doesn’t really matter. People buy the Popcult pencils because of the quotes, not because of superior performance – and for novelty  pencils they are really good!

 

UPDATE:

Sarah from La La Land let me know that they have updated the shop with new photos showing the exact colour the buyer will receive. I think she might also get a new quote for the Star Trek set1.

___________

 

Price (except John Lewis pencils) and exchange rates: May 2014.

I’d like to thank Sarah from La La Land for the additional information she has provided regarding the Popcult pencils.

You can find more information about Chambers at Palimpsest.

  1. I don’t think any Star Trek fan dislikes “Beam me up Scotty”, it just hasn’t been said in the TV series. []