Office Hero


Graphite transfer and the Wopex 5

Today: another blog post about one of the items I have received from Office Hero, the Staedtler Wopex. You might remember my previous two blog posts about the Wopex, one was looking at the Wopex 2B and 2H and one was comparing different eco pencils. Office Hero sent me a pack of twelve Wopex as a free sample. Their normal price is £4.01 (~ $6.35; €4.60) plus VAT.

Why another blog post about the Wopex? The Wopex has one property I really like, even though there are actually also a few things wrong with the Wopex. Back to the characteristic I like, which is why I pick this pencil more and more often when making entries in my diary. The reason is simple and has been mentioned by Koralatov in a recent comment: there’s hardly any graphite transfer between different pages when writing on the reverse. I use my diary to keep track of appointments and to record things that need doing. Graphite from soft pencils will transfer easily after something has been written on the reverse or on the next page, which will in then look very unsightly. Even though you can get graphite from the Wopex to transfer to another page if you want to, as seen on the photos, this transfer is usually not happing under normal circumstance and is therefore not a problem.

Graphite comparison in a Castelli Academic Diary

 

I think the Wopex has great potential, but it also has a few flaws which I want to mention.

  • The “fibre Wopex material” is too hard, so I use dedicated sharpeners in my office and at home, just for the Wopex. The “fibre Wopex material” is also too hard for rotary blade sharpeners.
  • If you sharpen the Wopex to a very fine point the point will break easily.
  • Small bits of the “fibre Wopex material”, close to the lead, can crumble off when sharpening.
  • There doesn’t seem to be a difference between the Wopex 2B, HB and 2H.

There are quite a few other issues, but mentioning them all would distract from the main issue I want to address here: Wopex‘s great lead that is a very good choice for diaries.

Top-bottom: Mars Lumograph HB, F, Castell 9000 HB, 2B, Technograph B, Wopex HB, Mono HB, Ticonderoga HB

Let’s look at the results from my (unrepresentative) graphite transfer test, conducted by writing on one page, putting the next page on top and applying pressure to the reverse of the next page1. Harder and lighter leads do better than softer and darker leads – no surprise here. The best pencil in my comparison was the Staedtler Wopex HB, followed by the Caran d’Ache Technograph 777 B, which has previously been reviewed by penciltalk. The worst pencils in this test were the Tombow Mono 100 HB and the Amos Dixon Ticonderoga HB. This was obviously due to their softness which does however bring other advantages, e.g. better pressure/darkness ratio – I do however prefer a tidy diary and do tend to use the Tombow and Dixon only when smearing, smudging and graphite transfer don’t matter.

 


Price and exchange rates: October 2011.

I would like to thank

The comparison has been conducted in a Castelli Academic Diary my wife got from her employer. I use a no name  academic diary from my employer, which has very different paper. My initial impressions are that graphite-transer-wise good pencils behave better in my diary, but bad pencils behave worse.

  1. The effects can be stronger when applying pressure directly to the reverse of the page you wrote on. []

White Box Manuscript Book A4 Ruled Feint 4

 

A few days ago Office Hero, a new and independent stationery and office supplies company, sent me their catalogue together with free samples of four of their products for review. These products include a really nice ruler from Denmark, two different kinds of pencils and a notebook. After having had a look at their web site I was impressed by the fact that they stock many of the nice, specialist items that are not easy to get, like Linex products or, my favourite, the Velos Eyeletter. One thing to note is, however, that the prices displayed don’t include VAT, which is useful if you are buying commercially, but private customers from the EU have to pay 20% VAT for most items1.

I was most impressed by the aluminium ruler I received and planned to review it first, but it is a ruler that can be used for pens and for cutting and unfortunately I wasn’t able to find my craft knife yet, so I’ll start with the notebook and hope I’ll find my craft knife to test cutting with this ruler before writing about the ruler.

 

The White Box Manuscript Book has a very nice, red surface and about 80 pages. It is a ruled notebook, but the strength of the lines varies quite a bit on different pages. The paper is very good. It copes well with many inks and I only noticed bleeding through with some inks and only when being used in combination with very wet nibs. The paper’s attributes are, with one exception, great for graphite, too. First the positive bits: the graphite doesn’t transfer easily to the next page, even after pressure has been applied from the back (e.g. after writing on the back). It also copes well with erasers. The only problem I noticed is that some of the softer leads smear more than on many other papers, in the example on the photo you can see this with the General’s Semi-Hex pencil. The most impressive thing about these  is however their price. They are currently on offer and a pack of five notebooks is only £4.07, that’s £4.88 incl. VAT (~$7.65; €5.55) – less than £1 for one A4 notebook.

Conclusion:

Great value for money, at least while they are on offer, and very nice paper that feels good and that copes well with ink and graphite.

(slight) bleeding through


Price and exchange rates: October 2011.

I would like to thank

  • David from Office Hero and Oliver Carding from Sagittarius Digital for the free samples.
  • Sean for the Eberhard Faber Blackwing 602 tested on the paper

I am very embarrassed, but I am not sure who gave me the General’s Semi-Hex pencils tested on the paper – even more so because I use one in the office very often. Whoever gave it to me, thank you!

Office Hero also included a leaflet with the samples: if you enter the code “BROCH1” when you order you get a brochure and 5% off with your order.

  1. Saying this reminds me that I once saw a camera very cheap at an online shop, I already put it in my basket and only noticed in the end that the price was without VAT and that the camera was actually quite expensive at this specific supplier of photographic equipment. []