This year I received a second “little black box” of pencils. This year it’s the Palomino Blackwing 16.2. The Palomino Blackwing 16.2 is part of the limited edition “Volumes” collection of these amazing pencils. I’ve reviewed the classic Blackwings – which hasn’t changed. What has changed is color and a bit of design to make them special. The classic Blackwings are black with gold accents. These are white with silver wording and black eraser holders with white erasers.
The Palomino Blackwings are a dark, soft lead like I like. There’s nothing on the white 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 white body and the silver and black 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.
What makes this design special – besides the white body – is that the 16.2 “Volume” is dedicated to Ada Lovelace – mathematician, writer, and visionary. There’s a biographical insert to the box talking about Lovelace’s accomplishments including this quote: The number 16.2 is a nod to the Analytical Engine’s storage capacity of 16.2 kB (0.00005% the storage of the average smartphone) and the backside of each pencil bears a binary pattern stamp of the initials she used to sign her work, AAL.
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 $25 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. But it’s a gorgeous one.