I write the bones of my review with the item in whatever journal I’m using at the time. It felt a little weird to write with this review in the Baron Fig Clear Plus journal. It’s a 5 cent pencil being reviewed in a nearly $30 journal. But this pencil performs more like a 50 cent pencil than a 5 cent pencil.
The Pen + Gear (P+G from here) pencil arrives in a hard plastic box, honestly, I’d prefer cardboard with a window, but this is a decent box. There is a bit of flex in the packaging which can contribute to cracked cores. I chose the package of black pencils, but there are now many colors and decorative features available. It is important to note where the pencils are made while making your selection. Those made in India are the pencils you want. The rest are not good. The made in India are made by Hindustan and are great pencils.
The paint on these pencils is glossy but thin. Some grain is evident through the paint. The wood it covers appears to be bass, linden, ash, or one of the many other pale-colored kinds of wood available for pencils. From the smell, it is likely to be bass/linden. It sharpens perfectly in every sharpener I’ve used, from the Classroom Friendly to the KUM Masterpiece to the M+R Pollux. The graphite takes a lovely point.
The graphite inside is smooth and dark. Much like most of the HB or dark pencils made by Hindustan. These are not super soft. In fact, their point retention is on par with many HB pencils. I used my several test pencils on several different types of paper- from the smooth paper in my work bullet journal, rough pulpy index cards, kraft paper, rosin paper, and in the Baron Fig Confidant Plus. It was silky smooth on all paper, but also the point survived longer than expected on all the papers. I filled an entire page in the Confidant Plus before feeling like I needed to touch up the point.
The eraser… Generally speaking, erasers made by Hindustan are pink chicklets of disappointment. They rub the graphite around the page but not off, they melt into a sticky puddle atop the pencil. Not these. These black erasers are dust-gathering or sticky, and they actually work relatively well for erasers on pencils. I’m pleasantly surprised.
During the review period, which usually lasts about a week, I found myself reaching for this pencil over and over again. At the end of the week, I kept reaching for this pencil. It simply works and works well. I wasn’t sharpening it every 2 seconds, or pulling shattered cores from the wood. I didn’t fight with the sharpeners. Most importantly, I was able to use the same pencil throughout staff meeting at work without sharpening.
At $1.97 a 12-pack, these weren’t the cheapest Walmart pencils, but they are solidly good.