Wandering the aisles of my local Staples looking for deals I found the Bic for Kids mechanical pencil. At $4.29 it’s not a deal but it was interesting. The package includes the pencil itself, a pack of 6 leads, and an eraser. The pencil is designed to be a finger fitter to help little kids learn how to write. They were available in 2 gendered colors of blue and pink. Sigh.*
I picked it up in the hope that the lead inside is the same as the Bic disposable mechanical but thicker. I wasn’t disappointed. It was dark and smooth for an HB. I quite like the lead. The pencil includes 3 leads inside and the little double ended tube holds 6 more. The bad thing about this pencil is that leads are not sold separately, so you can not refill them once you finish your 9 included leads. So that’s a bummer.
The pencil is tiny, one of the other reason I purchased it, thinking it would make an excellent pocket mechanical. And it is. It fits perfectly into a pocket. For people with large or even medium sized hand, this is going to be much too small to be usable. It is also very lightweight. That said the finger fitting fin is a pain in thumb. With a pencil you need to rotate it to keep it pointed. the fin prevents you from doing so.
So I cut it off. Sow and carefully I used a knife to shave off the fin. This allows me to rotate the pencil to keep the point, pointy. Without the fin the pencil is very comfortable and even enjoyable to use.
The included eraser is color coordinated to look good with the pencil. The blue eraser is a nice dark blue, while the pink eraser looks like bubblegum. The eraser is dust gathering so all the crumbs clump together and make it easy to clean your page. The Eraser also works really well and cleans the graphite entirely off the page. It is very soft and will be quickly used up.
Overall this is a fun little mechanical pencil that is limited by the finger fitting fin and its diminutive size.
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I backed the SSC kickstarter campaign, and you should too. They are fully backed and are in the stage of scoring extras, so go back it and score! Also if you don’t want to read the rest of my review, I really dig these pencils. Nutshell review: Dark, decent point retention, great for class notes.I had hoped to get this review out a little sooner than I have but due to a new internship, classes, and a ridiculous number of papers due in the first weeks of class, I haven’t had time to write up a proper review. However all of that means I’m able to really put this pencil through it’s paces. I’ve used a good chunk of it for class notes, reading notes and underlining, as well as general writing. Thus far I’m impressed.
First off let me tell you more about the how nice this pencil looks. It’s a naturally colored pencil with nice navy blue printing, a golden ferrule, and a snappy blue eraser. It all works together to look really nice. It’s a sharp looking pencils. It is billed as raw, but it is not. After sharpening, there is clearly a finish that can be seen. Maybe a water-based varnish? I’m not sure, but it is not raw. (This could also be due to the fact that I have a reviewer sample and the final version might be different.) Regardless, it is a good looking pencil.The pencil is made by Musgrave*, right here in the USA. It is not made of cedar instead pine or basswood. It smells appropriately woody, though not as good as cedar. It sharpens well in every sharpener I’ve tested it with- the Carl A5 (aka the Classroom Friendly), the KUM stenographer, the KUM Automatic, and knife. The core sharpens up well too. It doesn’t chip or flake, even in my slightly dull KUM Stenographer. It has decent point retention for as dark as it is. With HB pencils I never know how many pages I’ll get out of them HB pencils seem to be all over the map in terms of darkness and point retention. I favor darker pencils, and don’t mind sharpening pretty often. I found myself getting about 2 composition book pages before I’d need to touch up the point. That’s pretty darn good if you ask me.
I’d compare this favorably to a General’s Cedar Pointe #2, but being better in terms of darkness and smoothness, but not quite as smooth as the CP#1. Overall, this is a great pencil. It looks good and performs well. What more can you ask for?
The only thing I wish is that the blue of the printing matched the blue of the eraser. That is a tiny little thing. Read more about SSC and what they do here. Back their kickstarter while you are there. It’s a great cause and you can score some great rewards.
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Another recent purchase via Pencils.com the Stabilo GreenGraph is yet another good looking pencil. We can talk about my love of olive drab green and how it might skew my review of this pencil’s good looks. Or not.
This pencil features a flat olive green paint and cream colored pin stripes and imprint. The pairing of colors is very nice, and as I’ve stated previously easy on the eyes. The reverse side has a bar code printed in white. It’s not obtrusive. The ferrule is brass colored and tightly fixed to the body of the pencil. It holds a super firm white eraser. The flat paint of this pencil feels strange at first but through use it isn’t slippery even when moist. (I tested this out by picking up my iced coffee, getting my hand wet with condensation then continuing my writing.) The wood is soft and fragrant but I don’t think it’s cedar. The pencil is FSC certified. The average sized core is well centered. It sharpens with ease in any of my sharpeners. It holds a point nicely. In terms of darkness Iid rate this more as a B or 2B grade than HB. In use this pencil is very dark, smooth with feedback from the graphite. Some pencils, like the Staedtler Rally and this are smooth but have what I call feedback in the graphite. this means that rather than feeling like skating across paper like a Blackwing it’s more like driving a dirt bike through sand. The feeling isn’t drag per se but more subtle. With a fountain pen this would be called feedback. This is a pencil that if you like feedback from your pen and paper combination you’ll get it. This is a pencil for people who don’t like the feeling of the Blackwings.
I digress, the pencil is nicely dark both in writing and in sketching. It layers up to dark nicely it is hard enough that lighter shades are possible as well. It was really fantastic for sketching. I also really enjoyed it while writing. I used it for a brainstorming session for internship group art therapy ideas and really enjoyed the writing experience. I also used it while reading a textbook for underlining the pulpy paperback. It worked well. The super firm white eraser worked really well. It is one of the best erasers I’ve gotten on a pencil in a long time. I was able to use it while sketching and for cleaning the written word off composition book paper. Though I’ve used it repeatedly the ferrule and eraser are still fixed firmly to the pencil. In terms of value, this pencil when purchased in a 3-pack via pencils.com is around $1 per pencil. When purchased in a 12-pack the value is better at 83 cents per pencil. This puts them into the affordable but not cheap category for me. I like them enough that I wish I’d bought he 12-pack rather than the 2-pack. Pencils.com is the only place to get the at a reasonable price. I cannot find them on ebay and the price on Amazon was about $30 for 12!!!