Alright folks... after nearly a year of Clicky Posting, I have yet to review a wood cased pencil mostly due to the fact that I don't use them and don't really know much about them. What makes them good? What makes them poor? All of this is still a mystery to me, so for my inaugural wood cased post you'll just have to bear (golden?) with my ignorance as I am way out of my league here.
First and foremost I'd like to give a big thanks to my friend Tim from The Writing Arsenal for setting me up not only with this pencil, but nearly a dozen of what I would consider "fancy" pencils like the Palomino Blackwing 602, Pearl, and many others. I think he is trying to convert me... I've been sitting on this stash of pencils for a little while now waiting for the right time to dig in.
What has prompted my desire to break out these pencils is listening to the Erasable Podcast put on by Tim, Johnny, and Andy (all of whom are pencil addicts) that is centered around the wood cased pencil scene. Pretty legit, and these guys definitely know their stuff. The podcast is still in its infancy, but is gaining traction so make sure to give them a listen if you want to be "schooled". Tim is a teacher too, so he knows what he is doing in that arena...
Honestly, this review may not be entirely technical when it comes to what is good or bad about the pencil (because I don't really know...yet), but may more so be about how I felt while using a pencil again.
Why did I choose the Palomino Golden Bear for starters? Well it has an orange eraser which I thought was pretty slick, and it is a Palomino so it has to be good, right? You see? Ignorant, but learning.
I'm not used to erasing what I write since using ink is a bit more permanent, but I did give the Golden Bear's eraser a whirl and it seemed to do alright. It still left a pretty good outline of the words on the page, but it could be that the Doane Paper Idea Journal paper is a bit porous and traps more of the graphite.
One thing I really enjoyed about the using a wood cased pencil was the smell while sharpening and while writing. Really, what I think is a lot of the draw to wood cased pencils is the way we feel when we use them. Although pens are tactile, a wood cased pencil feels more raw and more organic; they are simpler it seems. They are light weight, but still sturdy to hold and everything we do with them seems more temporary. Personal perhaps? There is definitely some nostalgia to the experience as it takes me back to days in grade school when using these was a daily occurrence. With pens things seem a bit more "business".
The Golden Bear is a #2 style which is usually the equivalent of an HB on the lead hardness scale. I generally prefer leads that run a bit softer in the 2B range because they put down a darker line. I'm excited to do some comparisons as I move through the set that Tim gave me.
I have perhaps an embarrassing confession to make... as I hadn't used wood cased pencils for literally over a decade, I did not have a decent sharpener about. Not sure if I picked up a good one, but I decided to buy one that looked to be of quality so that I would give the pencils the best experience possible. I'll have to peruse JetPens to see if they have other sharpeners that people like. Any suggestions?