Tag Archives: made in USA

Review: USA Gold Natural HB pencil

USA Gold is an interesting brand. Virtually ubiquitous, you can find these in Target, Walmart, CVS, and even the local Stop ‘n Slop. You can also order them via Amazon and a variety of other online retailers. Comrade Johnny over on Pencil Revolution might put these into the category of semi-cheap, but I’m comfortable going a step further and calling them cheap. They average around $2 for a 12 pack, putting them at 16 cents or so per pencil. Compared to higher end pencils, that’s cheap. Of course, you could compare them to the average Staples brand pencil which are about 2 cents per pencil and they seem expensive. Those 14 cents make a huge difference in performance.USAGOLD

The USA Gold, in any form (natural, yellow, or one of their fancy paint jobs), features a decent HB core. It is smooth and nicely dark for an HB. Of course it doesn’t compare to the previously reviewed MB9000, but that’s comparing apples to oranges. Comparing it to a General’s Cedar Pointe #2/HB is fair game, and in my book the USA Gold comes out on top. The core of the USA Gold is much more consistent. I haven’t had a bit of grit in any of the USA Gold pencils I’ve chewed up. These cheapies perform. Further, the blue foil imprint on the USA Gold is awesome. The blue stripe on the ferrule is awesome too. The only place where they vary is in the thinly applied lacquer. On some of the pencils I’ve purchased, this coating is so thin that the pencil feels raw, on the most recent pack I picked up it’s thicker and more noticeable. I much prefer the thin coat.USAGOLD

For those of us pencil fanatics, who like their stuff local, one of the great things about the USA Gold is that it is still made in America. I tweeted at WriteDudesUSA, a subsect of RoseArts, to find out a little more about the pencils and to confirm that they were made in the US. They are made in Lewisburg, Tennessee* at a facility owned and operated by RoseArts. ‘MuricaUSAGOLD USAGOLD

If you are looking for a fantastic pencil at a fantastic price, you can’t beat a USA Gold- on price or performance.

Continue reading

Review: Clips for Pens and Pencils

When I was a kid my grandparents had a pen and pencil cup near their phone in the kitchen. This cup held an assortment of pens and pencils they had accumulated over the years. Some had come from their work places and others as freebies from companies they had done business with. Later as they traveled on their vacations to state fairs outside our area and state the cup began to acquire new never-before-seen exotic writing utensils. One of these I remember clearly was a pencil with a clip. I don’t remember anything but the clip. I remember thinking, “Duh, that makes soooo much sense! I’ve got a clip on my pen, why not on a pencil.” Then the pencil with a clip disappeared* and while I often thought it would be cool to have a clip on my pencil, I never gave it much thought after that. Well until I checked out PencilThings.com.pencil clips pencil clipsPencilThings has an assortment of of clips that you can add to pencils. The clips I ordered remind me of old school pen clips. It’s a really simple design where the clip is springy and attaches to a band that wraps around the pencil. I found that all of my clips were a little loose on my pencils but a little gentle coaxing with a pair of pliers made them fit super snug. This squishing of the clip also served to make the actual clip more springy  and have a tighter clip onto whatever I clip the pencil to.pencil clips pencil clipsThe clips are made of spring steel. According to PencilThings they are made in the US. They aren’t exactly the best example of US manufacturing, as they are quite cheaply made. Given that they retail for about 50 cents each, this isn’t surprising.  I’ve only had them for a few weeks at this point and can’t really say anything about their durability, but they seem to clip snugly to the cover of my planner and my notebook. So far I’m very happy with them.pencil clips pencil clipsPriced at $6 for 12 or $3.25 for 6 they aren’t a bad buy. When Shipping is factored into the cost I think they are around 75 cents each. Which isn’t bad and pretty cheap considering they are reusable. Continue reading