Silvine


Plots and samples 2

A quick follow up to the blog post comparing different types of paper.

Since there has been some interest in this topic, here the diagram with the samples above the plots.

A sample with not much variation results in a condensed violin plot, which is easy to see here.

violin6plusgrey

It doesn’t seem to matter if a paper as lots of areas the lead can’t reach, i.e. parts that stay white. As long as the dark areas are properly dark the mark left by the paper feels dark.

 


Comparing different types of paper 6

For quite a while I’ve been planning on having a closer look at how different paper performs for pencil use.

I think it started because I loved the County Fair Field Notes I got from Koralatov, but when I tried the Original Field Notes (FN-01 to FN-04) I didn’t like the paper at all. (According to the text in the back the County Fair edition is using Boise Offset Smooth 50#T paper, while the Original version is using Finch Paper Opaque Smooth 60#T.)

Well, I thought I better have a closer look. Long term, i.e. if this is of interest to readers, I plan on also measuring how abrasive the paper is, but I haven’t found an easily reproducible way of doing that yet that can be measured accurately, so I am focussing on how dark a line the different papers will produce with the same lead.

Following Kent’s post about the Lumograph being a good standard pencil, because it is good, not expensive and available world wide, I wanted to use the Lumograph, but for several reasons (I don’t want to bore you with them) I went with the next best alternative: Staedtler’s mechanical pencil lead.

Violin plot 6 papers

Violin plots showing the distribution of darkness of the marks left by the lead on different papers

Methodology

I try keep it short, but more details are available if there is interest.

Force used: 1.5 Newton (roughly equivalent to 150g)

Lead used: Staedtler lead, 0.7mm, the one that came with the Mars micro. I assume it is HB, but I have added a Staedtler 0.7mm HB lead to a recent order from The Pen Company, so that I can use those leads for future comparisons.

Pressure used: 4.17 MegaPascals

As seen in this blog post a 0.7mm lead has a diameter of 0.68mm, that’s a surface area of 0.36mm2. With a pressure of just over 4 MegaPascals the equivalent force used on an 0.5mm lead to produce this pressure would be 1 Newton.

I found these parameters to be a suitable trade off between force and diameter size. More force means more problems with me providing consistent, reproducible results. The obvious way out would be to reduce the lead size (= more pressure per square mm), but a smaller diameter means measuring the lead’s darkness becomes more difficult and less representative.

Notebooks used for the comparison

Notebooks used for the comparison

Paper

Some quick comments on the paper.

Atoma

Great and extremely dark for pencils. So unusually dark that you can easily switch to a harder pencil grade and get a similar darkness compared to other paper. My wife started using an H lead for writing in Atoma notebooks.

I did a control sample to confirm that the plot shown in the diagram is correct.

Banditapple

As always great paper! This is the latest generation of Banditapple paper: 4G, just released.

Silvine

Very common in the UK. Most Post Offices will sell Silvine products, but unfortunately the red Memo Books have become a rare sight. Silvine is planning to revive their red notebooks.

Boise

Used in County Fair Field Notes. Great paper.

Tomoe River

Very light and smooth paper. I expected a smaller standard deviation. The notebook used is a handmade notebook from Shangching, previously seen in this video.

Finch

Used in the Original Field Notes. I don’t like it for pencils. I should probably switch to using softer pencils in this notebook, then this paper might be alright. Also not good for fountain pens.

Box plots including two control samples on the right

Box plots including two control samples on the right

The diagrams

The diagrams show the distribution of dark and light marks left by the lead on he paper.

I first planned on using box plots. I have heard that they even teach box plots in school these days, but I went with violin plots instead. violin plots are basically box plots with a rotated kernel density plot on each side. I thought this provides more information, compared to box plots, in the same space.

I have taken samples of exactly the same size from the mark left by the pencil on all these papers. In the diagram 3.0 represents white, 0.0 represents black, so you can see the distribution of dark and white in the mark left by the lead on the paper. A darker mark, like the one on Atoma paper, will show as a plot further down (closer to 0.0) in the diagram.

Smoother, finer paper should produce less variation, i.e. a more even colour, so the plot should be more condensed. Rougher paper should have more ‘peaks and troughs’ on the surface, so the darkest areas should be darker and the lightest areas should be lighter, resulting in a stretched plot.

There are two control samples, only visible in the box plots. They are taken from the cover of Field Notes Byline edition. They are just used to see whether using different samples in different scans will produce close enough results in the plots.

 

Where to go from here

If this is of interest I could look at the different types of paper used in different Field Notes. I could put the R code used to produce this on GitHub. I also have a great paper sample pack from Scribble I could have a look at. Long term the darkness could be plotted against the abrasiveness of the paper.

If there is at least one comment on this blog post I will continue exploring paper, if not I will write blog posts about topics other than paper that might be more interesting, e.g. pencils.


Pentel Orenz 0.5 9

Another Orenz post.

I bought this Orenz from eBay seller Morgan’s Direct for £4.99 (~$7.30; €6.50).

Pentel Orenz 0.5 mm

0.5 mm, 0.7 mm and the Mannish Line

You might have seen my Facebook post about the recently released 0.5 mm and 0.7 mm version of the Orenz and about the Orenz Mannish Line that will be released in June.

The Mannish Line has some interesting colour combinations. Very tempting.

The UK packaging

The UK packaging

The Orenz in 0.5 mm and 0.7 mm doesn’t seem to be available in Japan. The one I bought was the official UK version, but made in Japan, of course.

The UK Orenz on Silvine Memo Books

The UK Orenz on Silvine Memo Books

The sliding sleeve

The 0.3 mm version of the Orenz needed quite a bit more force to slide the sleeve than the 0.2 mm version, see the sliding sleeve table for more information. This made me think that the 0.5 mm version will need even more force to slide the sleeve, but to my surprise that was not the case. While the 0.3 mm version needs more than 0.1 Newton, the 0.5 mm version needs only about 0.1 Newton. That’s still more than the best 0.5 mm pencil, the Staedtler Microfix S, but as far as I know, this is the best value for a pencil currently in production. Using different leads might result in different values, but both the 0.3 mm and the 0.5 mm version of the Orenz were tested with the original leads they came with.

Great centre of gravity

Great centre of gravity

Vitals

Weight: 10.4 grams
Length: 14.5 centimetres
Diameter of the grip section: ~8 millimetres
Force needed to slide the sleeve: ~0.1 newton

This blog post has been brought to you by Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

This blog post has been brought to you by Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

Conclusion

Overall: it’s a fantastic pencil. Pentel’s pencil designs are very polarising for me, I either love or dislike them, but the Orenz has a design I really love, unlike the P20x series liked by many, but not me.

It’s a shame that this pencil is only available in black. Pentel, please release it in other colours, too.

Pentel Orenz


Price and exchange rate: May 2016.

This mechanical pencil has been added to the sliding sleeve table.

More about the Orenz can be found in these Bleistift blog posts: Pentel Orenz 0.3Peanuts Orenz 0.2The sliding sleeve and the Pilot Color EnoWhy did the sliding sleeve disappear?

…or at The Pen Addict, I Liek Pencils, One Lone Man

…and at Lexikaliker, who was probably the first outside Japan to write about this pencil.

You can read more about Georg Christoph Lichtenberg at Wikipedia.

The notebooks in the photos are Silvine Memo Books.


BIC ecolutions evolution BLACK 3

 

SBIC ecolutions evolution BLACK

BIC ecolutions evolution BLACK packagingToday: another pencil from France. This time it’s an eco pencil, the BIC ecolutions evolution BLACK. It’s a really good looking eco pencil with gold lettering on a dark grey, slightly metallic looking body. I paid £1.49 (~$2.35; €1.80) for a set with four pencils from a local supermarket.

When I first saw the packaging I was sceptical – it looks good, but does it write well? Most eco pencils don’t write very well, with the Wopex and paper-rolled pencil being the only exceptions I find usable.

 

Similar pencils

“Relatives” of this pencil have been reviewed at pencil talk and Lexikaliker. Unsurprisingly the BIC ecolutions evolution BLACK seems to be very similar to these pencils. The box indicates that it’s made form 55% recycled material and looking closer this seems to be an extruded pencil with an aerated casing. The pencils seem to have more air bubbles in the centre of the body, near the lead.

...with the Dux Bio sharpener, a Wopex and a Silvine notebook

…with the Dux Bio sharpener, a Wopex and a Silvine notebook

 

The sharpener used

I thought an eco pencils deserved a suitable sharpener, so I tried out the Dux Bio, a sharpener being advertised as 100% compostable and made from 80% renewable resources – even though I think it might be biodegradable rather than compostable, i.e. it the sharpener probably doesn’t turn into humus .

BIC ecolutions evolution BLACK

A quick word about the Dux Bio, also known as the DX5907. It’s a great sharpener that produces an even point with an angle of ~24°, even on difficult to sharpen pencils. I actually tried to get my hands on one for a while, but wasn’t able to find it anywhere. In the end (about 18 months ago) Dux was kind enough to send me one.

 

Using this pencil

Sharpening this pencil is fairly easy for a pencil with a body made from recycled material other than paper. The graphite core looks similar to that of a traditional pencil, but when looking at a sharpened point the graphite seems to be more reflective. BIC ecolutions evolution BLACK

The BIC ecolutions evolution BLACK produced a fairly light line – so light that it is tempting to press harder, especially if the point has been used for a while and the line is wider. Unlike a more traditional pencil pressing harder doesn’t however result in a darker line – or should I say the causal relation between pressing harder and producing a darker line is not as obvious as it is with a normal pencil.BIC ecolutions evolution BLACK

 

Conclusion

Overall it’s not bad for a recycled pencil. It’s certainly much better than the recycled pencils made by Remarkable, but even though it’s easy to sharpen it doesn’t produce a line as good as the Wopex.

BIC ecolutions evolution BLACK


Price and exchanges rates: September 2013