Friday, October 5, 2012

Pencil Review: Dixon Tri-conderoga

This Dixon Tri-conderoga is probably my favourite of my found pencils.  I found it below a bench in the school yard next door to my house, and I bet the student who owned it was sorry to lose this pencil!  Most of the pencils I find are fairly boring and run-of-the-mill, but this one is very eye-catching.  It is a large, chunky, triangular-shaped pencil with a smooth, matte black body.  The name of the pencil is printed boldly on the body in shiny red letters, the ferrule is striped in green and red, and it is all finished off with a matching black eraser.


Based on look and feel alone, this pencil is great.  It definitely stands out from the crowd, and it caught my eye because of its chunky size and bold red lettering.  The triangular shape takes a bit of getting used to: if you hold it the wrong way, the edges all dig into your fingers, but if you hold it right way, it's the perfect fit.  The slightly thicker size and smooth, soft surface are also a bit different from your typical pencil.  Although the Tri-conderoga has been marketed as the world's most comfortable pencil, I don't think it's quite that comfortable.  It is a different experience from writing with most pencils, though, so if you don't like the feel of other pencils you may want to give this one a try.


The appearance of this pencil gave me high expectations of how well it would write, but I was quickly disappointed.  The lead seemed faint (and it definitely was not any darker than the Dixon No.2/HB which I reviewed previously), making me feel that I needed to use more pressure to make a mark, and occasionally while writing I would encounter these strange scratchy parts of the lead.  It's hard to describe any better than that, and, while it didn't really seem to have much of an effect on writing quality, it did detract from my overall writing experience.


The eraser is okay for small erasing jobs, but it felt like I needed to make more passes over the page to actually erase something.  Of course, it's not a big issue, because I always do carry a separate eraser with me.  The ferrule is very colourful and generally rather neat-looking.  Both the eraser and ferrule felt very secure and not loose at all (loose erasers really annoy me - even if I don't use them).


Overall, the Dixon Tri-conderoga is not a bad pencil, but I was expecting something more from it.  I was captivated by its flashy exterior and good looks and was expecting it to write better than it did, and I was disappointed.  Maybe I'm being too harsh, or maybe my Tri-conderoga was just the bad one of the batch.  I still think this pencil looks really awesome, and I want to like it more than I did.  Give it a try.  Maybe you'll have a better experience with it than I did.

Related reviews: Pencil Revolution, Pencil Talk

5 comments:

  1. A red one? Excellent! (Mine are all green, the old USA made stock from around 2005.) Dixon's newish Mexican leads are scratchy, faint and terrible. The Chinese are soft and very nice. Does this pencil say from which it comes? :)

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    1. I did notice that many of the ones I saw photos of were green rather than red. My pencil doesn't say where it was made, but judging from your descriptions I would guess that this is a Mexican-made from. "Scratchy and faint" is, sadly, a good description of my experience writing with this pencil.

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  2. Interesting. I've actually heard this is one of the "best" pencils out there (it was someone arguing that the Palomino Blackwing 602 isn't the best pencil). I'll have to see if I can find it again. Ever since then though, I've been looking for them whenever I get near a stationery aisle! It's a very nice looking pencil but I'm still trying to figure out what makes a pencil great. I'm not very well-versed in pencils!

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    1. According to John's comment above, how well this pencil may qualify as the "best" pencil may depend upon where it was made. So that would be something to check on if you were buying some. It certainly does look good though. I'm still not very well-versed in pencils either, but I'm trying to learn more by writing these reviews!

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    2. Azizah, Heather has some good pencil links on her blogroll. Kiwi Dave at Dave's Mechanical Pencils is pretty authoritative on mechanical pencils. Jack/Ohio

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