• Matthew Cobb

A Review of a Pencil I Bought

THE SETUP

A few weeks ago, I purchased an eight-pack of No.2 Wexford brand pencils from a local convenience store. The box claimed: “Perfect for home, office or school”, “Real wood”, and “Easy to sharpen", all bold, eye-catching claims.

Excuse the streaks on the table.

I picked one pencil from the package, at random. It was seven-and-a-half inches long after being sharpened. This pencil is the subject of this review, and my hope is that after reading this, any readers will know if the pencil that is in my room is the right pencil for them.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

According to the Pencil Buying Guide on pencils.com, when purchasing a pencil, one should consider the material, the graphite, the shape, the origin, the lacquer or imprint, the ferrule, and its impact on environmental safety.


The best pencils are made from Genuine Incense-cedar, and are generally made in Japan, Switzerland, the UK, or Germany. Common graphite is #2 HB, and hexagonal shapes are popular for everyday use, though triangular pencils are more ergonomic. Ferrules are the piece of metal connecting the eraser to the pencil, and are commonly crimped on, and the quality of the lacquer and imprint usually relates directly to the quality of the pencil itself. Finally, the pencil makers should follow environmental standards to make sure their pencils are safely made with minimal environmental impact.


This pencil is made of wood, in fact, according to the box, it's made of "real wood", though likely not Genuine Incense-cedar It is #2 HB, with a crimped ferrule, and is in a hexagonal shape, all good signs. Instead of being from the above areas, it was made in China and information about the environmental safety in creating it was unable to be located. Though the shape and number are exciting, the questions about origin and material are definitely concerning, and require a more careful eye in the pencil's performance.

THE PENCIL

The pencil feels firm in the hand. The eraser and ferrule don’t wiggle. It sharpens easily and to a nice point. It is thin, and would easily be stored into backpacks, pencil caddies, hollowed-out cassette tapes, gun holsters, empty cereal boxes, shampoo bottles, partially empty cereal boxes, or even desk drawers.


ERASER

The eraser on this pencil elicits no complaints. It erases words with very little residue, and continues to hold its shape with no visible marks, though beingsubjected to more intensive erasing of a larger area took out notable chunks of the eraser and left more obvious streaks on the page.

DRAWING

A number of images were drawn with the pencil. First was a train, drawn in free hand without a guide. The pencil provides a nice, sketchy quality, and easily fills in shadows and reflections on windows. However, many of the lines are not as straight as they could be, and dimensions such as the placement of the wheels on the tracks and the buffer on the front are off.

Next was a free-handed drawing of the pencil itself. This one was even worse, with many extra scratches, a lack of shading, and overall messy quality. Perhaps the pencil, when faced with its own image is unable to fully represent itself, like an actor that can’t watch themselves in a movie.

Some may blame user error, but please note that drawing skills are not the subject of this review..

The third picture fared better. This features a short-haired dachshund, drawn by following a online guide on YouTube. This picture utilizes the sketchy quality well, and provides many dimensions to the dog, with smooth curves and different degrees of shading. When it comes to the pairing of this pencil and YouTube instructional videos, it is a perfect match.

WRITING

To gauge the quality of writing, the pencil was subject to a lengthy session of note taking, to see how long it could maintain quality and write without sharpening. These notes were in a notebook with a writing space that was seven inches tall, and five and one-eighth inches wide. Each line was five-sixteenths of an inch tall. Before the notes were started, the pencil was seven inches and seven-sixteenths.

The notes are good and extremely legible. Lines are clean and the point provides an easy time for handwriting. The point started to dull on the fourth page of notes, though it did not run out of writing power. The notes continued with high legibility for much longer, without any noticeable detraction in quality until page twenty-nine. At this point, the words were lighter, and the less-fine point resulted in a messier writing style that was more difficult to read. Finally, upon reaching page sixty-five, the writing was practically unreadable, and hand-cramps were in full attendance.

STRENGTH

The final test was in the tensile strength of the pencil. Though it held out with writing and drawing, the pencil was no match for human hands, and ended up breaking in half after attempting to break it in half. No pictures were included due to being deemed too graphic.


THE VERDICT

I enjoyed the little time I had with this pencil. Its dedication to drawing and writing were fantastic, and despite not totally matching the guidelines set by a site I found on the internet, it managed to deliver some great content. Unfortunately, due to being broken in half and now lost somewhere in my room, I cannot in good conscious recommend it to anyone, since it is likely far out the way and has majorly met a decline in its overall build and quality.


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