SUCK UK

Stephens wooden ruler 12″ / 30cm

I bought this inexpensive wooden ruler from Ashton Print in Preston, Lancashire for 69p (1.08 US$, € 0.79). Since then I found that some online-shops sell it even cheaper. The ruler itself is 12″ / 30cm long and made in Australia by Stephens [1]The shop had a few Stephens rulers for sale. They were in a cardboard stand marked “Made in Australia. Carded in England.. This would be the perfect spot in this post to tell you a bit more about Stephens, but unfortunately I was not able to find any useful information about who they are or what products they offer, so let’s skip this part and go straight to the ruler.

The weight is about 12 grams

With about 12g the wood is quite light. So light in fact, that it feels fragile. It has less than half the weight of the wooden rulers I have used previously. Looking at the wood grain and taking the mass into account (12g for about 25 cm3 = 480 kg / m3) I would say the ruler is made from Aspen wood, but this is only a guess.

Eighths and Twelfths

The ruler has centimetres and millimetres printed on one side and inches printed on the other side. The four corners of the inch side are further divided into eighths and sixteenths on the right and tenths and twelfths on the left. Additonally the middle of the inch side has 30°, 45°, 60°, 72° and 90° angles printed on them. This is obviously not a replacement for a set square, but a nice addition that could be of use. The printing on the ruler must have been created using some kind of stamping mechanism and is a bit irregular, which gives this ruler an “old-fashioned” touch.

Angles

The wood is untreated, which means that nearly all pens or pencils you will use with this ruler could leave a mark on the side. Using such a soft wood has also another potential for problems. If there is a dent you will not be able any more to draw a perfectly straight line. Some wooden rulers have a metal bar on the side to guarantee a straight line, but the Stephens does not and I would not have expected this from a fairly inexpensive ruler either. There is not really much more to say about this ruler, but I am sure I will enjoy using my Australian ruler.

Advantages:

  • Good value for money
  • Has centimetres, inches and angles

Disadvantages:

  • Fairly soft wood, easy to dent

Centimetres

Tenths and Sixteenths

PS: If like rulers have a look at SUCK UK’s musical ruler.

Price and exchange rates: February 2010

References

References
1 The shop had a few Stephens rulers for sale. They were in a cardboard stand marked “Made in Australia. Carded in England.

Pencil stands

Faber-Castell Design pencil stand, closed
Faber-Castell Design pencil stand, closed

Pencil pots, pencil stands, whatever you call them, you will find them on most desks. These days most pencil stand are made from plastic, but you can also find some made from wood, glass, metal, ceramic or other materials. Unfortunately the big manufacturers of pens and pencils do not offer many pencil stands in their catalogues, resulting in a situation where there are many cheap pencil stands available from supermarkets, office supply stores and other retailers, but only few mid-priced ones (e.g. from Faber-Castell) and expensive ones (e.g. from El Casco).

In this post I will look at two plastic pencil stands. One is the Two-part Design pencil stand from Faber-Castell, the other one is the Pencil pot from Tesco.

Let’s start with the pencil stand from Faber-Castell and some numbers. I bought mine from Cult Pens for £ 14.95 (~ € 16.60), but you can get the same pencil stand from blah! for under £ 11 (~ under € 12) and on the Continent you can get it for under € 11 (~ under £ 10). I could not find a shop selling the pencil stand in the USA, so I am not sure how much it is in the States.

Faber-Castell Design pencil stand, open
Faber-Castell Design pencil stand, open

The pencil stand is black, made of plastic and produced in China. When both halves are closed it is a black cuboid, when you separate both halves you have two identical pencil stand with a wave profile. The outside is matt, while the plastic of the wavy surface is glossy.  It looks really nice on the desk, but when it is closed it is a bit too high on most desks. Another problem is that you can see dust quite easily on the surface. Altogether a great pencil stand, with a modern look that will fit on most desks. Compared to other pencil stands it is maybe a bit expensive. The same money could have bought you a pencil stand from SUCK UK: very different, but probably one that friends of stationery might prefer.

Tesco Pencil pot, black without and white with sticker.
Tesco Pencil pot, black without and white with sticker.

Tesco, a UK supermarket chain, is selling a pencil pot that is also made in China. It is available in black and white. The label suggests that is is sold in the UK, Ireland, Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Turkey. In the UK the pencil pot sells for £ 1 (~ € 1.10). The shape is simple, but nice and because the plastic is fairly thick the pot looks quite good in my opinion. The material even looks a bit like bakelite, which is why I bought this pencil pot in the first place.

Tesco Pencil pot and a Bakelite blotting roller
Tesco Pencil pot and a Bakelite blotting roller

Both are great pencil stands. The one from Tesco is very good value for £ 1 and especially the black one looks really good and has a charming simplicity. The stand from Faber-Castell is also very nice, maybe a bit expensive, but you actually get two solidly built pencil stands for your money (with more than 350 grams each). If you are a big fan of stationery you might however want to spend your £ 15 on the pencil stand from SUCK UK instead.

Prices and exchange rate: December 2009