I was not alone in receiving a pretty black box for Christmas – though mine did not contain jewelry, but a dozen Palomino Blackwing pencils. I’ve held off reviewing them because 1) there was a glut of reviews on them right after Christmas; and 2) I have a habit of randomly plucking thing out of my “to be reviewed” cup. So, today… the Palomino Blackwing wooden pencil.
I tell people I go in cycles with my writing instruments. There are days/weeks all I want to write with are fountain pens, others pencils – and anything in between. And even with the pencils I go in cycles between wooden and mechanical. I have some weird “productive” feeling about working through an entire wooden pencil. The drawbacks I have with wooden pencils is that I like (really, really like) sharp points on my pencils, so I sharpen a lot. I also really like dark, soft leads. I’m a 2B kind of girl. Herein lies my dilemma – soft, dark leads require more sharpening. Another issue I can have with wooden pencils are using up erasers long before the pencil, requiring the need for extra erasers.
The Palomino Blackwing somewhat addresses all of these problems. They are a dark, soft lead like I like. There’s nothing on the black lacquer body to tell you what the lead actually is, but it feels like a good B to me. Which means it’s NOT A #2 PENCIL for standardized tests/scantron sheets, but really, why would you? These are too pretty for that. The black body and the gold trim just makes it a pretty, pretty thing to look at. It’s also a sturdy pencil of solid wood, not that plastic pseudo-wood that bends and doesn’t sharpen well.
The Blackwing also caters to those of us who like to erase. Instead of the standard eraser on the end of the pencil, the Blackwing was a flattened, rectangular eraser that resembles a paintbrush in shape. The white eraser rubs the graphite out cleanly without crumbling. Over time it remains flexible instead of going hard like cheaper erasers. It’s also held into the end of the pencil with a spring clip so it can be adjusted to length – and makes it an oversized eraser so you don’t run out of eraser before you run out of pencil. And if you’re using a LOT of eraser, JetPens sells replacement erasers in black, white, and pink, so you can choose your look.
Now to the numbers.
1. How does it work? – 1 – I really like these pencils. They’re a good, solid wood. When I fidget with them, I have no worries that I’m going to snap them in half or bend them out of shape, like with really cheap pencils. It is a soft lead, so if you like a hard, sharp point, you might be a little disappointed, but I like a solid, dark line, so this is my happy place pencil.
2. Grip and feel – 1 – It’s a standard, hexagonal pencil. But like with the above comment, it’s a good sturdy pencil that feels good in the hand.
3. Material – 1 – One of the best built pencils I’ve had in a while. Solid wood, nice accents. The eraser mechanism is well-built and solidly attached.
4. Overall Design – 1 – I don’t know what else to say about this pencil’s design. It just rocks – for me.
5. Price Point – 0 – It’s an expensive wooden pencil. A box of 12 will run about $20. They may be worth it if you really like wooden pencils and/or replaceable erasers, but this is not going to be your “back to school” pencil. You are paying for the fact it’s a darned good wooden pencil – and if you go for the pretty gift box? You’re paying more. That’s the only real drawback to this pencil. If you’re used to getting a dozen for a $1…this will be sticker shock.