Blackwing Pencil Review – The Smoothest Pencil
The “$40” Pencil
In this lesson and pencil review, we’ll take a look at Blackwing pencils. I had heard of these pencils and wondered what the hype was all about. They are clearly expensive, but is this added expense over other pencil options worth it?
I decided to order a few pencils and give them a chance. In this post, I’ll share what I learned. But before I get into the review, I’d like to share a little back story regarding these pencils.
Blackwing pencils have been around for a while – well one pencil in particular – the 602 pencil.
When this pencil was temporarily discontinued in 1998, it was rumored to be sold on Ebay for upwards of $40 – for one pencil. (This is according to the Blackwing website. ) Now, that’s a lot of money for one pencil. And if someone is willing to pay this much, there must be something to it.
Blackwing also reports on their site that famed illustrator, Shamus Culhane loved this pencil so much that he requested to be buried with it. Now, this must be one amazing pencil – right?
Pearl, Matte, and 602
I ordered a three pencil set which included a “Pearl” pencil, a “Matte” pencil, and the famed “602” pencil. This pencil set wasn’t cheap at nearly $28, and I wouldn’t recommend spending this much for just 3 pencils.
Each pencil features a hexagonal body of standard length with a flat eraser at the end. The wood inside of each pencil is sturdy and hard, making sharpening with a blade or standard pencil sharpener easy.
The eraser is flat, which makes erasing a bit more precise. The amount of eraser material is generous, but what makes the eraser even more unique is its ability to be replaced. The eraser can be removed and replaced with a new one when it is used up. While this is nice, you would need to do quite a bit of erasing to take advantage of this feature. I would venture to say that most people would use up the pencil before needing to replace the eraser.
A drawback to this eraser shape is that pencil extenders cannot be used with Blackwing pencils. Because the eraser is flat, the end of the pencil simply won’t fit into a pencil extender. If you’re accustomed to using pencil extenders to prolong the life of your pencils, you’re out of luck with these pencils.
I tested each pencil on soft drawing paper and noticed some differences in each one. We’ll start by looking at the Pearl pencil.
The Pearl Pencil
The body of the Pearl pencil is white and the marks I was able to produce were similar to those that you would expect to see with an “HB” graphite pencil. Of the three pencils I tested, this pencil was the hardest. It kept a sharp tip for a longer period of time compared to the other pencils, but its range of tone was limited.
I could produce darker tones, but a bit more effort was required. Lighter marks were easier to produce, although I’d probably stick with an “H” or “2H” pencil for preliminary drawings over using the Pearl pencil.
See also: Artist Graphite Pencils Explained
The Matte Pencil
Of the three pencils, the Matte pencil was the softest. The Matte pencil features a black body and since the graphite is the softest, the marks were the darkest. This pencil is most similar to a “5B” graphite pencil. With heavier pressure, you can push the dark tones, but with lighter pressure, you can still achieve lighter marks.
Since this pencil is the softest of the three, it dulls the fastest. However, compared to other 4B-6B pencils, the tip stayed a little sharper for a longer period of time. This suggests that the graphite is slightly harder than standard 4B-6B pencils but still capable of producing darker marks.
The 602 Pencil
While the Pearl pencil and the Matte pencil seemed quite ordinary to me, the 602 pencil was clearly different. (Remember, this is the pencil that was rumored to sell for $40.) The body of the pencil is painted gray and its range of value is quite impressive.
This pencil is able to produce fairly light marks with light pressure, but also darker marks as well. While the Matte pencil produced darker tones, the 602 pencil wasn’t far behind. You could easily create a polished drawing using just this one pencil. I would estimate that the range of value you can produce is between a “HB” and “5B”.
The versatility of this pencil is an advantage, but what stood out the most was the feel. Most artist’s graphite pencils have some inconsistencies in the graphite. These inconsistencies are usually noticed when pulling the pencil across the surface. You may feel a bit more friction when making marks when you encounter these inconsistencies.
The 602 pencil felt super smooth. I didn’t notice any inconsistencies and the graphite felt smooth on the surface. I have used countless pencils, but I have never felt a graphite pencil feel so smooth on the drawing paper. The best comparison I can make is to a ball point pen. One of the reasons some artists love using ball point pens is the feel and feedback it provides when making marks. The 602 pencil felt similar to a ball point pen. While not exactly the same, it was fairly close.
See also: All About Drawing Papers
After using the 602 pencil, I could see why it has a devoted fan-base. It is a special pencil – especially if you’re looking for an “all around” great mark maker.
You can purchase the Blackwing 602 pencil through several online retailers. The following link is an affiliate link which means I make a small commission if you purchase at no additional cost to you.
Purchase Blackwing 602 pencils on Amazon
Another “All Around” Drawing Pencil
The 602 drawing pencil is fantastic, but it is expensive. Some will find it hard to rationalize spending approximately $3.75 for each pencil (when purchased as a dozen). But when you compare this to $40, it’s a bargain. All joking aside, you’ll easily spend this much on 4 graphite pencils of various grades. However, one Blackwing 602 pencil may be all you need.
The 602 pencil does remind me of another all around pencil that is much cheaper. This pencil is the General’s Layout pencil. Like the 602 pencil, this pencil is quite versatile. The General’s Layout pencil is capable of making dark marks but also light ones, all while keeping a fairly sharp tip for a longer period of time.
The General’s Layout pencil is not quite as dark as the 602 pencil and more gray. The 602 pencil is blacker which leads to more realistic darks in drawings. The General’s Layout pencil also has inconsistencies which are clearly noticed when making marks. There is considerable friction felt when making marks with this pencil.
I feel that the General’s Layout pencil is a fair alternative to the 602 pencil, but the 602 is clearly in another “class”. Pricing reflects this as General’s Layout pencils can be purchased at approximately $1. 11 each, when purchased by the dozen.
You can purchase the General’s Layout pencil online or at many of the big box art stores. The following link is an affiliate link which means I make a small commission if you purchase at no additional cost to you.
Purchase General’s Layout pencils on Amazon
General’s Layout pencils are usually easily found at art stores, while Blackwing pencils may have to be ordered online. I have not seen the Blackwing pencils sold at any of the big box art stores.
A Drawing with Blackwing Pencils
After making a few marks with the pencils, I decided to create a proper drawing to evaluate them fully. This drawing was created as part of the course “Realistic Pencil Drawing”, which is available to members. In the series of lessons for this module of the course, I created a smaller drawing of a falcon on Canson Heritage Hot Press Watercolor Paper (140 lb.).
This soft paper worked exceptionally well with the Blackwing pencils. While all three pencils were used to create the drawing, I found myself favoring the 602 pencil. However, I was impressed with the Pearl pencil for dark marks that required precision.
Blackwing Pencils Review – Conclusion
Of the Blackwing pencils, I would consider the 602 to be worth the price. The Pearl and the Matte pencils were nice, but not worth the price in my opinion. I tend to use graphite in my drawings in different forms. Sometimes I prefer the traditional feel of a wooden pencil. Other times, I prefer to work with a lead holder with different grades of graphite. My choice depends on the subject, the surface, and my mood. For sketching, I prefer to use an “all around” pencil. For years, I have used the General’s Layout pencil for this. But moving forward, the 602 pencil by Blackwing will be my weapon of choice.
More Lessons You’ll Love…
Hi-Uni in B Comparison : pencils
I said that I would eventually make a review of the Hi-Uni in B to really see if it was like the vintage Blackwing 602, and after months of waiting, I finally got one. Now, let me tell you: there is no modern pencil that matches the vintage 602 perfectly. That is just a sad fact of life. You know what isn’t sad, though? Being able to confirm that the Hi-Uni in B writes almost exactly like the Blackwing 602, and even perfects minor things that make it the best alternative and modern version of the original Blackwing 602. Let’s get into details:
First, a tester’s note: I made direct side-by-side comparisons on many papers with the vintage 602 and the Hi-Uni in B. All of these observations are freshly observed and measured.
First, I will talk about the core, because that is the most important part of a pencil. After all, the looks mean nothing if it is impossible to use. I am pleased to report that the Hi-Uni pencils in any grade can be used very easily. So what do I mean when I say that the B grade is basically the 602 incarnate? There are a few aspects of the graphite of the 602 that really make it stand out: the sound, and level of softness, smoothness, and darkness. Here’s what I’ve found:
The sound — the pencils sound the same. I tried them on many different papers of varying tooth and quality, and the sound they make — being the light sound soft pencils generally make on paper — is not noticeably different.
Softness — the 602 is well known for being soft in a certain way. It wasn’t your average soft, but it had a “feathery smoothness” that almost felt like powder on certain paper. The Hi-Uni pencils all have this feeling to some degree, which is more or less noticeable depending on what grade is used. The B in particular has an almost identical level of that “feathery” feeling when writing.
The smoothness — at first, you may think that more smoothness would make the Hi-Uni feel too different than the 602 for it to be a comparison. If you do think this, I can confidently tell you that you are wrong. The Hi-Uni has slightly more smoothness without sacrificing the “feathery” feeling it has, which makes it like an even better version of the 602. That’s right, you heard me: the Hi-Uni is a better Blackwing than the Blackwing. Am I allowed to say things like that? Please don’t SWAT me until you try it.
The darkness — the darkness of the pencils is almost exactly the same. Because they share the feathery graphite trait, they both have the ability to make very dark and very light marks depending on the pressure applied. When casually writing, though, I could not see a difference in tonal values, so fro what I can tell they are about the same grade. (As a side note, I got the hi-Uni in 10B, and it can make marks as light as a 4H. Now that tonal range.)
What does this all mean? One very simple thing: there is a real alternative to the vintage 602. At first, this may not have much of an effect, but once you think about the fact that a dozen 602s can go for at least $600, and that’s a starting bid. The Hi-Uni, on the other hand, can be as much as $30, and while that isn’t cheap, it looks like nothing compared to the alternative.
If you still want the ferrule of the 602, you can. If you have the modern Palomino Blackwings, take the ferrules off of your stubs and attach it to the Hi-Uni. Hackwinging, as it is called in the business, can be effectively done to just about any pencil. This doesn’t give the Hi-Uni the same font, imprint, color of the pencil, or the street cred and dozens hoes that a real vintage 602 gets you, but it sure is more economically feasible, and Mitsubishi does an outstanding job with their pencil production, from the paint and lacquer, to the neat imprinting and design choices. It is beautiful in a completely different way.
Thank you all so much for reading. Here are some links to buy the Hi-Uni in B:
— Jetpens: https://www.jetpens.com/Uni-Mitsubishi-Hi-Uni-Pencil-B/pd/10965
— Dozen (Amazon): https://www.amazon.com/Uni-Hi-Uni-Wooden-Pencil-Box/dp/B001B8P6W2
— Pencils.com: https://pencils.com/products/mitsubishi-hi-uni-pencils/
— CW Pencils: https://cwpencils. com/products/hi-uni-pencil-grades-b-through-10b?_pos=2&_sid=3dfe460da&_ss=r
That’s all, folks. Make sure to share your thoughts, and let me know about how you feel about the new Palomino Blackwing pencils and their business decisions in reviving the product. Bye for now; more reviews are on the way.
Why is this pencil so special? – Milligram
The legendary Blackwing is not just any pencil; it’s an experience. Loved the world over for its quality, iconic shape, quality of graphite and replaceable eraser, it has inspired the creative work of many throughout the ages. In this article we share the history of the Blackwing, some of the special Volumes Limited Editions and a quide to the lead and shade variations in the classic Blackwing range.
So why is the Blackwing so special?
Introduced in the 1930’s, some of the world’s legendary Grammy, Emmy, Pulitzer and Academy Award winners were users of the original Blackwing 602 pencils. The list of known fans includes John Steinbeck, Stephen Sondheim, Leonard Bernstein, Truman Capote, Quincy Jones, Vladimir Nabokov and Chuck ‘What’s Up Doc’ Jones, who used his Blackwing pencils to create Bugs Bunny and countless other Looney Tunes characters.
Image Credit: Chuck Redux.
In 1998, after several corporate acquisitions, the Blackwing was discontinued…but not forgotten. In fact, fans began paying as much $40 on eBay for a single Blackwing pencil!
Artists from across the world soon began to notice that Palomino’s range of premium pencils provided a comparable performance to the Blackwing and asked them to consider reviving the iconic brand.
Palomino Blackwing Reborn
In 2010, President and CEO of California Cedar Products Company and Palomino brand, Charles Berolzheimer II, whose family’s roots in the pencil industry date back to the mid 19th century, used his unique supply relationships to re-introduce the Blackwing pencil, both in its original form: 602 Blackwing for devotees, writers and everyday users, as well as a modified version with a slightly softer and smoother lead for artists: Palomino Blackwing.
Charles Berolzheimer is also responsible for creating ForestChoice, the world’s first FSC certified brands of pencils, and is the founder of Pencils. com.
“What’s the allure? Well, just look at it! It’s the DeLorean Gullwing Coupe of the pencil world. And not only beautiful, but adept.” Alex Beam, Boston Globe
Blackwing pencils are made in Japan with genuine incense cedar, which comes from the forests of California and Oregon. It is amazingly smooth and beautiful, a performance you won’t find anywhere else. Every Blackwing pencil is hand shaved to fit their unique eraser/ferrule design.
The shaved pencils are then sent to the headquarters in California where the eraser assembly is attached and the pencils are carefully packed by hand.
Blackwing Volumes: Limited Editions
Building upon the popularity of Blackwing pencils, Palomino recently released a Volumes series: four limited edition pencils per year where the model number and design of each pencil honours and celebrates cultural icons and events.
Blackwing: For illustrators
The Blackwing is ideal for illustrators and musicians who prefer a soft, dark line. It boasts a sophisticated matte black finish with pearl white erasers.
If you love to draw and sketch this is your go-to due to the range you get from light to hard strokes. You also get a similar ‘charcoal’ effect from the pencil. The one downside is if you apply too much pressure, it can get blunt quickly.
Blackwing 602: For writers
Praised in the New Yorker, The Boston Globe, and Boing Boing among others, the Palomino Blackwing 602 features a firm and smooth graphite core that helps it deliver on its promise of “Half the Pressure, Twice the Speed.”
The 602 is faultless. You don’t have to press too hard to achieve readable handwriting. It’s super comfortable too, most suitable for writing, but would also still work nicely for drawing too.
Blackwing Pearl: For writing & drawing
The Blackwing Pearl features a pearl white finish, black imprint and eraser, and a balanced and smooth graphite core that is softer than the graphite found in the Palomino Blackwing 602, but firmer than the graphite found in the Palomino Blackwing.
The Pearl is great for writing while still being great for drawing as well. There is a certain fluidity you get from having smooth strokes, which would look really nice for any type of drawing. It is a lot more smoother to write with than the original Blacking, as the ‘charcoal’ texture does not translate as much. The blackness you get from high pressure stokes is toned down a notch in this pencil.
Comparing the classic Palomino Blackwings: Lead and shade variations
Here’s a comparison of the three classic Blackwing pencils. The lined images illustrate how fluid the pencils are and the gradient from high to low pressure.
And, of course, we couldn’t let up the opportunity to try out the latest limited editions.
Previous Limited Editions
Blackwing Volume 725
The first in the “Volumes” series of limited edition Blackwing pencils, the Blackwing 725 pays tribute to the Newport Folk Festival and their impact on the landscape of folk, rock and roots music. The pencil features a sunburst finish, white imprint, black eraser and balanced graphite. The unique lacquer is inspired by the sunburst finish on the Fender Stratocaster that fuelled what Rolling Stone Magazine called one of “50 Moments that Changed Rock n’ Roll”: Bob Dylan’s first plugged-in performance. The model number is taken from the 25th day of the 7th month, which marks the date of Dylan’s memorable set.
Blackwing Volume 1138
The Blackwing Volume 1138 honours 20th-century filmmaker Georges Méliès, who is credited with making the first sci-fi film. image The number ‘1138’ pays tribute to the science fiction genre. Using a process known as movie barcoding, Palomino condensed the entirety of Georges Méliès’s film ‘A Trip to the Moon’ into individual bands of colour and applied it to the barrel of the Blackwing pencil.
The manufacturing process utilises an intricate and unique high-quality printing method called roll-on printing, and this is the first Blackwing pencil with a silver ferrule and silver imprint.
A new generation of fans
Blackwing pencils have been used by some of the most influential creatives in the world, who do everything they can to inspire a new generation of innovators. The ‘new’ Blackwing has a new generation of fans, including creatives like jazz musician and composer Christian Tamburr, Ren & Stimpy animator and creator Bob Camp and comic writer and penciler Sal Abinnanti have already become members of this new generation.
Check out this interesting talk from technology writer and Blacking Pencil enthusiast, Clive Thompson who explores the topic of ‘writing vs typing’.
Did you know?: In addition to their pencils, Blackwing has also introduced a unique line of luxury notebooks, sketchbooks and folios that help inspire your ideas from pencil to paper, from cultivation to culmination.
Shop the full range of Blackwing at Milligram.com.
The Best Pencils for Writing and Schoolwork in 2021
This pencil is made of premium incense-cedar wood, and it’s one of the smoothest-writing pencils we tested. It’s comfortable to hold (as long as you don’t mind an unpainted barrel), and its eraser removes marks cleanly.
The Palomino ForestChoice is made of incense cedar, so it emits a faintly woodsy smell when sharpened, and its standard hexagonal shape has slightly more-rounded corners than most pencils we tested. It contains a No. 2/HB core that makes smooth, dark marks. Aside from the Palomino Blackwing 602, the ForestChoice was the only pencil that made it into all of our testers’ top-five rankings of writing ability, and it has a good eraser. Although it got mixed reviews on comfort (some testers said they would prefer a painted barrel over its raw-wood finish) and sharpening, we think it’s the best overall performer of the pencils we tested—the much pricier Blackwing aside. It’s also a solid value, especially if you buy in bulk.
Dixon Ticonderoga (Yellow)
Quality control for this iconic pencil seems to have gone downhill over the years, but it’s still the best cheap pencil you can buy. It has a decent eraser, it writes and sharpens smoothly, and it’s comfortable to grasp and write with for long periods of time.
The classic Dixon Ticonderoga (Yellow) is not made of the same high-quality wood as our other picks—and we have reason to think it’s more prone to breaking or having an off-center core—but it is the best pencil we’ve seen in the budget price range (typically less than 20¢ per pencil). It scored third-best in writing ability, surpassed only by the Blackwing 602 (which is much more expensive) and the Arteza (which has the worst eraser we tested). The yellow Ticonderoga’s eraser is just okay, but the pencil scored well in comfort and sharpening ability.
Palomino Blackwing 602
This pencil has a buttery-soft exterior, a replaceable eraser, an incense-cedar barrel, and a smooth, dark core. But it costs more than twice as much as most writing pencils, and you can’t use it on standardized tests.
The Palomino Blackwing 602 is the most expensive pencil we tested, but it’s pretty much unsurpassed in quality. It’s made of incense cedar, like the ForestChoice, and it’s the only pencil we tested with a replaceable eraser (which, unlike most pencil erasers, has a rectangular shape that enables more detailed erasing). It has the same rounded hexagonal shape of the ForestChoice, but it’s glazed in a soft, dark-gray paint. As with the ForestChoice, some of our testers had trouble sharpening the Blackwing 602 (especially the first time after they unboxed it), but otherwise its biggest flaw is its price tag—more than $2 per pencil at this writing. It is also likely to be rejected by standardized-test proctors because it doesn’t list a lead grade on the side (though its core is similar to that of a No. 2/HB pencil).
PALOMINO BLACKWING 602 PENCIL REVIEW | The Pencilcase Blog
I have to confess something… For the past three weeks, I’ve been using woodcased pencils almost exclusively! My fountain pens just sat where they were. And that has everything to do with the arrival of these beauties: The Palomino Blackwings!
I’d like to thank the people over at Firehose Amsterdam, a shop dedicated to luxury design items. They sent me a couple of different Palomino Blackwing pencils to try out! I will be reviewing all three standard issue Blackwing pencils individually. First up in this mini series, is this Blackwing 602. it’s marketed as having the ‘hardest’ lead of the three, and it’s supposed to be a direct copy of the Iconic Eberhard-Faber Blackwing 602.
Eberhard-Faber Blackwings were produced during the past century, but the production ended about 20 years ago. Nowadays, the remaining original Eberhard-Faber Blackwings often sell for more than 50 bucks a piece, which is well over the price I’m willing to pay for a woodcased pencil (at least for now…). So a direct comparison between this and the original product is something I unfortunately cannot provide.
|‘Half the pressure, twice the speed’, quite a catchy slogan!|
All three different Blackwing styles that are currently available (not including the limited edition ‘Volumes’ edition) each feature a different finish. The 602 looks almost identical to the original, with a pearlescent blue-ish silver paintjob and gold lettering. The brass-coloured eraser ferrule is the same on all three styles, but in this case it fits the overall design of the pencil quite well. Since the original model had a pink eraser, I’m ever so slightly dissapoined that they didn’t go for the same looks with this one. Especially because pink replacement erasers are actually available from Palomino.
Recognising a blackwing pencil isn’t that hard, just look for the funky-looking flat eraser and ferrule and you’ve found it! The flat eraser is both a unique design aspect and a functional feature. Whereas I’m usually not a big fan of erasers on top of a pencil, this one often finds some good use. I like the way the shape of the eraser breaks the straight, bland lines of a regular pencil. It’s ‘out of the box’, and I love it! Overall, I think they did a very good job on designing these pencils. The attention for detail seems to be much higher than with most other pencils. It also seems as if Palomino succeeded quite well at mimicking the old version.
On to the performance… Of course the blackwing didn’t just get famous for its good looks and cool eraser. It’s the lead that really made this pencil stand out from the typical #2 (HB). The super-smooth, soft graphite core has been a favourite amongst everyone, from writers, musicians, to cartoonists. The Palomino reincarnation succeeds at providing a similarly awesome lead as they did fifty years ago. As I said, I can’t directly compare old versus new, but the moment you’ve used one of these, you just know Palomino did a fantastic job creating their own Blackwings!
I often find it quite annoying/ difficult to describe how a pencil performs, so I did a few tests that should -hopefully- give you some idea of what it’s all about. I included a scan of the full test sheet underneath the written review, so be sure to scroll all the way down!
First off, I compared point retention. As you can see, I just coloured in a bunch of squares while trying to keep the pressure as even as possible. The results were kind of the way I expected them: as the 602 has the hardest lead of the three blackwings available, it also has the best point retention. The difference between the classic and 602 is pretty noticeable, but the pearl actually performed almost similarly. The two other test pencils (Faber-Castell Design -same as the well-known 2001 pencils-, and staedtler Noris), both HB, performed noticeably better than the blackwings, especially the faber-castell did an excellent job.
The darkness test (see below) clearly shows that all three blackwings excell in darkness, with the classic up front. The 602 is the lightest of the three blackwings, but still remains much darker than the ‘other two’. The next two test shows that, for the excellent darkness, you do give up some erasability and smear-resistance (please note that the erasing test was done with a single stroke, in reality, a few rubs with a good eraser will easily get rid of most pencil strokes)
The on-board flat eraser, while not yet as good as a full-sized eraser like a staedtler Mars, actually does quite a decent job at erasing pencil marks. The flat shape helps to get rid of larger areas, and it seems to do a slightly better job than most other pencils’ erasers.
The 602 is a great pencil. It’s somewhere in between the very soft blackwing classic and a regular HB pencil, with the best properties of both. If you want an allround pencil with good point retention (something I find rather important), that is still a lot darker and smoother than a ‘traditional’ pencil, then the Palomino Blackwing 602 is the right choice for you.
Note: these pencils were sent to me by Firehose, so I could write this review. I was in no way influenced in the making of this review, the opinions shared in this review are completely my own!
The Best Pencil for Writing is the Palomino Blackwing
The rest of the editors around here know about the pencils I use. They are black, with oddly shaped metal fittings holding their white erasers in place, and I carry three or four of them into meetings to take notes, switching off as I write. They’re called Palomino Blackwings, and they are the best writing pencils on earth. This is not an opinion I alone hold. John Steinbeck and Chuck Jones were fans; Stephen Sondheim writes everything he writes with Blackwings. The difference between these and those off-brand yellow … things in your office’s supply closet is the difference between drugstore house-label instant coffee and single-estate Venezuelan Maracaibo.
We almost lost them. Eberhard Faber, the company that introduced the Blackwing in the 1930s, discontinued it in 1998, and people started hoarding boxes of Blackwings. (Sondheim said he bought enough to last for the rest of his life.) After a decade in which people were getting $30 per pencil on eBay, a small company called Palomino figured out how to reproduce the texture of the Blackwing graphite pretty closely, and brought it back in 2010 (though there was carping from the cult about small differences from the original).
What makes the Blackwing a life-changer is a little hard to explain, at least until you try one. The lead is extremely soft — that’s why I switch among four of them, because they get dull after half a page. That softness comes with an upside: smoothness. You get nice black marks while barely touching the paper, which means you can write faster. (The old Faber Blackwings came in a box that displayed the slogan Half the pressure, twice the speed.) The Palomino version improves on the original in one particular respect, because the pink rubber eraser has been upgraded to the newer plastic type, in white or black, that is much kinder to paper and better at removing marks. (The eraser can be pulled out and replaced, too, if it wears out before the pencil does.) You can even write thick-and-thin with them, making calligraphic strokes, if you are so inclined. They are “expensive,” which is to say a little more than two bucks apiece, or $25 for a box of 12. Two boxes will probably last you a solid year, unless you are a demon scribbler.
Most of all, they are a source of tiny pleasure every single time you put one to a sheet of paper. In a high-tension work environment, the pleasure of writing with them can, if only occasionally, take the edge off a headlong day. Half the pressure, twice the speed. Words to live by.
Palomino Blackwing Pencil Review – edjelley.com – Fountain Pen, Ink, and Stationery Reviews
What is it? Well, it’s probably one of the most famous pencils out there. They’re made of genuine incense cedar, feature a matte black body, and a large golden ferrule with a replaceable eraser. You can pick them up on Amazon for around 2 bucks per pencil. Yes, pencils can be famous…this is one of them. It’s been cited by John Steinbeck as his favorite pencil, bringing a lot of attention to the brand. Read on to see how it’s held up in the hands of a fountain pen fan…
Notes: You hear a lot about this pencil, people love the brand, they release special limited editions, and there’s an “aura” around it that people are drawn to. The only reason I bought one was to see what the big deal was. The classic Blackwing is a nice looking pencil featuring a matte black body and a large, golden ferrule that you can even replace the eraser in. Initially, I found the pencil to be quite long and slightly off-balance. After some use (and sharpening) the pencil became easier and more comfortable to write with. The Blackwing pencil even has its own motto – “twice the speed, half the pressure” – which for the most part, I agree with. It’s very smooth, produces a nice dark line, and I can see how other pencils are “slower”. Rougher leads just lead to a less smooth experience overall, which does give the impression of writing slower.
There’s one glaring issue for me, and that’s the point retention / lead hardness. Since the lead is so soft (what makes it so smooth and dark), you need to constantly rotate the pencil to keep a crisp line. You can see a huge difference in the writing sample between the beginning and even the middle of the page. A harder lead will solve this problem, but those tend to produce a lighter line. To me, finding the right pencil is all about finding the right balance of hardness and darkness of the line. When the pencil is sharp, it’s great, but unfortunately that isn’t for a very long time.
Overall, the Palomino Blackwing is an okay pencil. It does write nice and dark, and super smooth. Unfortunately for me, that writing experience is a fleeting moment, as the line produced quickly becomes wider and significantly less crisp. There is light at the end of the tunnel, as Palomino makes a Blackwing Pearl. I’ve recently picked up one of these , so expect a review shortly! If you’ve been looking to add a premium pencil to your collection, and prefer a soft lead, definitely consider picking up some Palomino Blackwings!
Disclaimer: This review contains Amazon Affiliate links. They provide me with a bit of revenue to keep the site functioning and help buy new products to review.
90,000 Pencil Battle: Blackwing Volumes 24 vs Palomino Blackwing 602
Since June 2015, once a season, Palomino Blackwing has been releasing a limited edition of pencils with a unique design, unique history and different characteristics. Once a season, three different people rejoice in me: I’m a collector (+1 more), I’m a Palomino Blackwing fan (it’s akin to an eplanan), and I’m a marketer (a great case for monetizing a low-cost product).
In addition to these incarnations, an entrepreneur woke up in me 2 times: it seemed to me that some limits would arouse the interest of buyers in Ukraine.Therefore, in my store you can find Blackwing Volumes 725 and Blackwing Volumes 24.
But let me tell you about other episodes, right?
About all limited editions. Almost all
The first sign of the limit was the already mentioned Palomino Blackwing Volumes 725. Its design was inspired by rock music, in particular the electric Fender Stratocaster, played by Bob Dylan at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965.
Palomino Blackwing Volumes 211 was released in September 2015.All wood and natural, it is dedicated to the “green” idea, and produced as a tribute to John Muir – the most famous naturalist in America.
Blackwing Volumes 1138 was released in December 2015. This pencil – whose design resembles the ripples of a flickering screen – commemorates the release of the breakthrough (at least in length) sci-fi movie Voyage to the Moon in 1902.
And now about Palomino Blackwing Volumes 24
And Palomino Blackwing Volumes 24 was released in March of this year.Completely black, it is dedicated to Pulitzer Prize winner John Steinbeck.
John Steinbeck’s son told Blackwing that the writer hated blunt pencils and approached sharpening quite methodically. He regularly performed the same ritual: before sitting down to the manuscript, he sharpened 24 pencils and put them in one box. As he copied each one (one was enough for 5-6 lines), he put the pencil in another box. As soon as all the pencils were in another box, he started sharpening again.And so the required number of times.
Actually, Palomino Blackwing Volumes 24 was conceived to meet 2 main requirements of John Steinbeck: firstly, the lead grinds slower, and secondly, the pencil has a laconic, non-distracting black design.
Well, finally about pencil battle
Everything is clear with the design: it is beautiful. But does a pencil lead really last longer and does not require frequent sharpening? Trust but verify – I thought and decided to test the durability of the limited edition Blackwing Volumes 24.So the idea was born to arrange a battle of Palomino Blackwing 24 against its legendary relative Palomino Blackwing 602.
Start of the battle. The Palomino Blackwing 24 and Blackwing 602 are sharpened by the Palomino Blackwing sharpener.
So, we have 2 pencils (Palomino Blackwing 24 and Blackwing 602) with the same degree of sharpening as possible, which I achieved with the Palomino Blackwing sharpener. My task is to write the same number of words with different pencils and check how long each will last and which one will give up first.
Text – quotes by John Steinbeck. I write them in the Blackwing Slate Journal notebook.
Steinbeck’s quotes help determine which pencil lead is intended for longer use.
To be honest, the original idea was to try to write out each pencil to zero and compare which one will write more. But it turned out that Steinbeck’s quotes are not enough for one pencil sharpening, even for half. Therefore, I have reduced testing to bringing pencils to a subjective acceptable-comfortable sharpening for writing.I have 7 pages of text. Yes, as many as 7 pages of text in Blackwing pencil.
I will make one more frank confession: I expected a striking difference in pencils, but there was no winner on the podium. The pencils were grinded at plus or minus the same speed. The most comfortable sharpening lasted up to the third page inclusive. This means writing smoothly without finding the right angle for the lead. Then the situation had to be corrected. But not critical. Because even on the last page, some words look as subtle and pretentious as on the first.
Palomino Blackwing 602. Page 1
Palomino Blackwing 24. Page 1
Palomino Blackwing 24. Page 7
Palomino Blackwing 602. Page 7
Anticipating a life-and-death fight, I was upset by these results.But I quickly redirected my thoughts in a positive direction: but now I know for sure that the Blackwing lead is not only durable (I wrote off more than one pencil, and none of them broke !!!), but also hardy (agree – 7 pages of handwritten text one sharpening is strong). Of course, you shouldn’t underestimate the Blackwing sharpener either – it provides the thinnest and longest lead possible.
Slate after 7 pages covered with writing. Not much difference is visible.
And again about limited pencils
Well, I’ll finish this post with a description of the last two (at the moment) limited edition pencils – Blackwing Volumes 56 and Blackwing Volumes 344.
Blackwing Volumes 56 was born in July 2016. It is about the favorite American sport – baseball – and about one of the most outstanding players in the history of baseball – Joe DiMaggio. It is he who owns the record – he made a “strike to the base” for 56 games in a row.
Blackwing Volumes 344 was released in September 2016. It is designed to honor the most popular photograph in American history – “Mother of Migrants” – the icon of the Great Depression. The pencil is burgundy-brown-red in color. It looks like you are looking at it in a film developing room.
As you can see, each limited edition is a separate story. And personally, I am looking forward to the lineup update. So that my inner collector, Blackwing fan, marketer, and entrepreneur can jump-start the change.
Balanced Drawing Graphite Gift for Stationary Lovers Palomino 602 1 x Blackwing Horse Logo Pencil cedar wood Box Visual Arts Craft Supplies & Tools aloli.com
Add a review
Address: 182302, Pskov region, Pustoshkinsky district, p / o Zarechye, d.Holuny
Phones: 89113834038; +7 (81142) 2-12-49; fax 2-10-68 Reception phone: 2-19-90
Coordinates for the navigator: longitude: 29 ° 10’34 “E (29.17611) latitude: 56 ° 25’22.82 ″ N (56.423006)
How to get there by train from Moscow: from the Rizhsky railway station by train Moscow – Velikie Luki, then by regular bus to the tourist center, or by taxi. Large groups are met at the railway. train station bus tourist center. The bus schedule is here
How to get from Moscow by car: On the M9 Moscow – Riga highway, you need to get to the city.Pustoshka, it is about 550 km, then turn to Pskov and along the M20 Kiev – Petersburg highway drive to the tourist center (18 km). The tourist base will be located in front of the bridge over the Velikaya River, on the right side.
How to get there by car from St. Petersburg: Along the M20 St. Petersburg – Kiev highway, you need to drive about 435 km to the village of Kholyuny, then along the highway a kilometer from the village, the road will cross the Velikaya River, passing the bridge, on the left side in the direction of travel there will be an entrance to the camp site.
Scheme of the recreation center “Alol”
(click here to enlarge)
“Alol” recreation and rehabilitation institution
Jur. Address: 182302 Pskov region, Pustoshkinsky district, village Kholyuny
97 KPP 601
Tel. (81142) 2-19-90,2-10-68
Email: [email protected]
Director of UO and O “Alol”
The ideal letter illustrations and correspondence type s available today that will help companies reach out to prospective clients from around the world.With the current technological innovation, all these correspondence writing companies are able to make a letter for nearly every business requirement. Here Are a Few of the best and most Common letter college essay editing services examples that you Ought to Look for Whenever You’re in the process of Pick the Best letter
I wanted to tell you all about my favorite pencils Palomino Blackwing and an excellent sharpener for artists. But first, you need a little history. The
Palomino Blackwing is the reincarnation of the iconic Blackwing 602 pencils. Eberhard Faber has been producing these pencils since the thirties of the last century. Eberhard Faber is not at all like the famous Faber-Castell company, but they are related.
The Faber family in Germany has been producing pencils since 1761, when the master Faber decided to make not only furniture, but also pencils – why should the tree disappear. Things went so well that he ditched the furniture and switched entirely to making pencils.In the nineteenth century, the fourth pencil Faber sent his sons Lothar and Johann to the best factories in Europe to be at the very forefront of technology. Returning to Nuremberg, Lothar modernized production, came up with many new products, bought a graphite deposit in Siberia and became the leader in the pencil business. And Johann got to America, opened a stationery shop there, arranged the supply of cedar for pencil shirts for his brother, and then he himself began to produce pencils on the spot. The connection between the industries was interrupted and the American company became known as Eberhard Faber (the first name was “John” Johann Faber dropped).
This is how a German factory looked like in 1837 – clean, light. The Fabers were the foremost manufacturers. The men at the tables glue the leads into the halves of their shirts, and the large boards are, apparently, the halves of a pencil glued together under pressure.
Image from Faber-Castell website.
The German company flourished, the Fabers received the nobility for their wealth and enterprise, and at the end of the nineteenth century, another heiress, Ottilia Faber, married a real prince – from one of the German princely families.The enterprising Lothar was her grandfather. But it so happened that Lothar’s son was an artistic and not very businesslike person, he died early, at 42, both his sons died in early childhood and only girls remained. After Lothar’s death, his widow managed the production. And then Prince Castell fell in love with Ottilia. Their marriage had to be morganatic, and special permission had to be obtained for it. But after such a marriage, no one in the family had the right to be entrepreneurs. And Ottilia is the only heiress of a wonderful company.Then Prince Alexander decided to give up his title, inheritance and status, instead became just a count, with great pleasure he took up a candle factory, pencil production, and after the death of his mother-in-law he headed the company. According to Lothar’s will, the surname was not supposed to leave the company, so Ottilia did not lose hers, and the spouses received permission to take the double surname Faber-Castell.
(After 18 years they divorced, because the war and the count is never at home, Ottilia married another, also a noble person.And Alexander married a person of royal blood and regained the title – which was received by the second wife and their children. His only son from Ottilia remained a count – which is also not bad – and inherited the pencil business. Now the company is run by a representative of the eighth generation of Fabers, Anton-Wolfgang Count von Faber-Castell.)
And the American company Eberhard Faber also flourished. It became the largest writing instrument company in the United States. And it was there that Eberhard Jr. (it seems, number three) in the thirties of the last century came up with a new formula for the lead.Pencil leads are mainly composed of graphite and clay. The more clay, the harder the lead after firing, but the paler the line. Accordingly, if the amount of graphite increases, the pencil draws darker and softer, but the lead breaks more easily and wears out and dulls faster. Faber conjured up a formula with various additives, including wax, and got a lead that painted very black, slipped exceptionally softly, but at the same time was strong and kept a sharpened sharp tip for a long time. The pencil was named Blackwing 602 and was marketed as a pencil for writers.In addition to the name and company, the motto on the pencil was replaced with foil: half the effort. writes twice as fast. A separate noteworthy pencil was the eraser at the end – not round, but flat, like a brush. The pencil ended with a special metal ferrule, like brushes, it went round the pencil, and at the other end it was flat, a washer was inserted into it with a spatula using a special clamp. As it wears down, it can be pulled out.
This pencil has become a cult among people of art.Steinbeck preferred him to all others, Nabokov loved him very much, they were drawn by Disney animators. Composers and editors were also among his fans – everyone who had to draw or write for a long time and a lot. It was quite expensive due to its construction and special lead, but the convenience was worth it. In the pre-computer era, people wrote and drew a lot by hand, and the convenience of this action was of great importance.
64 years old this pencil was a success. And then in the nineties the German tycoon Faber-Castell entered the American market and in one of the steps along this path bought the company Eberhard Faber. (I must say that there were also pencil firms of various descendants of Fabers). Then he resold it to Sanford, I think. But the fact is that the tail parts of the Blackwing were made by hand at the factory, on some kind of single machine. And this machine was broken by the time of sale. And the new owners decided not to repair it – they considered that Blackwing are expensive, they do not buy so many of them, and decided to stop their production. For another four years after that, they had a supply of metal parts and they made pencils from this supply, and then it was all over.Blackwing phantasies fell into longing and sadness, but nothing can be done against the manufacturers.
Those who were closer to the company and found out about it in advance, bought pencils in boxes, in stock. Interestingly, what was bought at that time for use, not for collecting. But now this is already a question of collectors, who bought them do not draw or write, on Ibei some sets of a dozen pieces are sold under a thousand dollars. They write articles about this pencil, devote chapters in books about pencils, there is even a site completely devoted only to this pencil.Many swear that this is the best pencil in the world and that nothing beats it for the smoothness of movement and the lightness and clarity of the lines.
Not so long ago, a Californian firm decided to restore this iconic pencil. I’ll write about this tomorrow and take pictures of mine.
In the meantime, a picture from the 1951 catalog with three pencils from Eberhard Faber:
Photo from an article about Blackwing 602 from blackwingpages.com
Pencil Palomino Blackwing 602. Pencil Palomino Blackwing is beautiful … | by Inna Zaichenko
Pencil Palomino Blackwing is beautiful, pleasant and simply wonderful. And the epithet “legendary” is well deserved for him. A cult of fans has developed around the Blackwing 602 pencils, who created world masterpieces with its help.
It was a stack of such pencils that writer Truman Capote kept in his bedside table.It was with these pencils that Nabokov wrote the script for “Lolita”, and the Nobel laureate in literature John Steinbeck commented on Blackwing: “I have found a new kind of pencil – the best I have ever had!” DreamWorks Animation Artist Jenny Learew started a blog named The Blackwing Diaries. American engineer, scientist and technical historian Henry Petroski (whose book I plan to read soon) referred to this pencil as a “super-premium pencil.»
The peculiarity of this pencil is not so much in quality (although this is certainly important), but in a stylish and ergonomic design with a replaceable eraser, which adds not only practicality, but also personalization.
The history of pencils began in the 30s of the XX century. Then they were produced by the American factory of Ebernard Faber. In 1994, the machine that made the rubber band clips broke down. The owner considered the renovation unprofitable and the company ceased production of these pencils.But despite the production halt, the demand for pencils grew exponentially.
How all supporters of Palomino Blackwing 602 rejoiced when in 2010 Cal Cedar Pencil Company revived Blackwing pencils under the Palomino Blackwing brand (black pencil). True, there were also negative reviews – they say that the pencil is significantly different from the original.
A year later, Cal Cedar and Pencils.com introduced the Palomino Blackwing 602 (gray pencil), which is already much closer to the original and with the promise of “Half the pressure, twice the speed”.
Alex Beam , columnist for the American newspaper The Boston Globe , said Palomino is “better than an iPad,”. The proof is in this video.
Palomino Blackwing Pearl is the latest design in the Palomino Blackwing series, with an even softer lead.