Monday, June 28, 2010

Pencils Lost and Found

During the last month or so, I have occupied myself on our evening walks by picking up pencils that I find, usually in one of the three schoolyards that we regularly walk through.  The yard of the local middle school offers the best selection of pencils; I only rarely find pencils in the yards of the high school or elementary school.  I did not find any pens, only pencils.  Here they are:



Altogether, I collected 20 pencils (or pencil fragments).  The majority of the pencils have suffered greatly in their lives: they have been broken, bitten, run over by cars, and lost their erasers.  The most common type of pencil that I found was the Dixon No.2/HB; these pencils seem to be cheap and readily available around here, as I saw a package of them at the local dollar store.  I found one pencil crayon: a light blue one from Crayola.  I love looking at these pencils and wondering about their histories.  I also wonder: how come so many children lose and break their pencils?

Some of the stubs I will sharpen and give to my mother to take to the place where she works; they often need short pencils there.  The better ones I will keep for myself (and perhaps even use them!).

Speaking of pencils, so far we have had a definite pen bias here at A Penchant for Paper.  Part of the reason is that I don't really use pencils that much, and I am rather overwhelmed by all the different pencils available.  I would really appreciate it if you could leave some pencil recommendations for me.  The pencils need to be inexpensive and readily available in places like Staples, Office Depot, and Michaels.  (I live in a small town and there are few good specialty stationery or art stores nearby, and I cannot afford to buy many things online because of the shipping costs.)  The pencils can be writing pencils, drawing pencils, or even mechanical pencils (although I'm mainly thinking of non-mechanical ones here).  You can even recommend pencil leads, erasers, or other pencil accessories.

Hopefully, I will be able to find some of your recommendations at local stores and you will see some pencil and pencil-related reviews here in the future!

15 comments:

  1. My whole family LOVES Tri-Conderoga pencils. I think I got them at Staples and they were *slightly* more than most of the other pencils, but I wouldn't call them expensive. They're triangle-shaped and have a soft coating and are a little fatter than a regular pencil. They're very comfy to write with. They have a nice hard lead that doesn't break easily, wears well, and gives a nice dark line. They are our favorite pencils by far and we use them a lot.

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  2. For drawing pencils that are darker and softer than the traditional No. 2 or HB pencils check out the drafting section (usually found next to the art supplies) of most Office Depot and Staples stores: they often carry Staedtler Mars Lumograph, Sanford Design, and occasionally Faber Castell 9000 pencils in carded pairs and tin sets.

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  3. What a lovely post and what a lovely image to go with it! Poor mutilated pencils. I'm sure they'll find a good home with you. I agree with B2-kun. Staedtler Mars Lumograph and Faber Castell are good choices.

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  4. Staedtler is around at some supply stores, and I love their pencils and erasers.

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  5. Thanks so much for these comments, everyone. I'll see if I can find some of these pencils next time I'm at Staples (hopefully soon!).

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  6. A very nice article! You are a modern archaeologist!

    I think Michael's has more interesting products (in both meanings - more products that are interesting, and products that create more interest) than the other places you mention.

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  7. Thanks, Stephen. Are there any specific products you would recommend that I look for at Michaels?

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  8. The Michael's near me has fairly extensive lines of Prismacolor, General, Conté, and Derwent. They even have some Koh-I-Noor products. What they lack compared to an independent art supply store are "open stock" or singles of pencils - they sell mainly sets.

    The Conté drawing pencils (sepia, sanguine, etc.) are classics, and I think the oversize triangular Koh-I-Noor pencils could be fun to try - but I would go with whatever catches your eye.

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  9. Thanks for the recommendations, Stephen! I'll see if I can check some of those out next time I'm at Michaels.

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  10. I just came across this post and today and really enjoyed reading it. Bob that works with me loves his pencils and uses something called a “Pencil Extender” to get the maximum life out of his pencils, when they are too short to hold comfortably.

    I know that he buys his from an online store greatart.co.uk but they do not deliver overseas.

    They are inexpensive and not worth paying a high shipping cost If you would like one and have trouble finding any drop me a line and I will send one to you.

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  11. I've never heard of a Pencil Extender before, but they sound like a great idea to use a pencil stub that would otherwise be difficult and umcomfortable to write with. Although I'm afraid that some of these pencils need a bit more help than just an extender!

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  12. I must admit I had never heard of a pencil extender until I met Bob. I think it is something that he used as a trainee draughtsman and still does to this day.

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  13. You can get free pencils from other pencil fans at
    Rad and Hungry Pencil Pals. It is like a chain letter only with pencils

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  14. Here is a home made pencil extender made out of paper and rubber bands!

    http://home.comcast.net/~dembart/pencil_ex/

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for that tip, Liz! Those pencil extenders look fun - I may very well have to try one out!

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