I have ordered a load of new pencils.
- Mitsubishi Hi-Uni HB
- Faber-Castell 9000 HB & B
- Staedtler Mars Lumograph HB & B
- Caran d’Ache Technograph HB (these are surprisingly pricey)
and a few literally old-school pencils for comparison – these were the pencils I used at school:
- Staedtler Noris Pencil HB
- Staedtler Tradition Pencil HB
I will post about them when I receive them.
My general observation so far is that “standard” pencils leave a lighter line than “posh” ones at the same hardness, but still erode at the same rate. I tried some Staedtler WOPEX HB pencils which were inexpensive but pretty much unusable as HB, unless you just wanted to leave a faint ghost impression on the page, or you pressed really absurdly hard on the paper. They’re not available as anything apart from HB, either. I don’t recommend WOPEX pencils. They don’t smell nice either, not being made of wood.
Out of the posh pencils that I have, the Tombow Mono 100 is proving to be the best so far. I have given up on the standard Blackwing – while I do appreciate being able to just drift a writing implement over paper to produce a line, it quite literally goes blunt before I have finished writing a word. The Blackwing 602 with the silver barrel is slightly harder, but it still seems to need more sharpening than the Mono 100, whilst producing a very similar sort of line in darkness/pressure terms.
The Mono 100 is pretty expensive here though, being a Japanese import, so I would be interested in finding a more local equivalent – that’s why I ordered a few of the Staedtler Mars and the Faber-Castell 9000, which are half the price. I’m interested to see whether there’s any practical difference between those and the consumer-grade Staedtlers, though, at HB, which is the grade that school pencils are designed for.
Random additions: I ordered a Mitsubishi Hi-Uni because I saw it on the Cult Pens website while I was looking at pencils. The same goes for the Caran D’Ache Technograph. I have no idea why the latter are so pricey – they’re £2.60 each including VAT.