Thursday, June 20, 2013

Rhodia Pencil

When I started getting interested in wooden pencils, the Rhodia Pencil was one of the pencils that I knew I would have to try out.  I love Rhodia's notebooks and paper pads, so surely their wooden pencil would also be great.  Just like the notebooks, this pencil comes in Rhodia's classic orange and black.  The body of the pencil is bright Rhodia orange (it seems even more fluorescent than the colours of their notebooks, and I love it), while the ferrule, eraser, and the wood are black.  This is the first pencil I have used with the wood dyed black, and it's an effect I really like.  The colour of the lead blends into the colour of the wood and gives this pencil a sleek look.

Rhodia Pencil posing with Rhodia dotPad.  The orange is even brighter in real life.

The Rhodia Pencil is triangular, rather than round or hexagonal.  I find it a comfortable shape, once I get it aligned just right in my hand.  The matte finish has a very smooth, almost slippery feel to it.  Sadly, the finish itself is not that good.  I can see several dark streaks in the orange paint, and the Rhodia logo (stamped on all three sides of the pencil) is not as crisp as it could be.  Although these details are not going to affect the performance of the pencil, they still disappoint me a bit, because I do expect quality products from Rhodia.  The pencil is also not marked with its grade.  These pencils only come in HB, but I might forget that.  Or someone else who doesn't know anything about Rhodia might find this pencil and want to know what it is.

The photo doesn't show it very well, but there's a rather obvious dark line running right through the middle of the Rhodia logo.  It starts at the ferrule and runs the length of the pencil.  The logo itself is not as crisp as it could be: the right leg of the "H" has no black in it.

The Rhodia Pencil seems a touch softer than the other HB pencils I have used (although I haven't used that many), or maybe it's just the smoothness of the lead that makes me think that the the lead is softer.  The lead is also relatively dark, which I like.  It also doesn't seem to hold a point as well as the other pencils that I have reviewed, but, again, maybe it's just the smoother lead that is giving me that impression.  I like the way it feels on the page, but I'm not sure that I'd want to use it for a lot of writing.  I think I'd be more comfortable using this as a sketching pencil.  Or maybe I just need more time to get used to writing with it.


The eraser and ferrule are fairly basic, except that they are, of course, black.  The eraser is... okay, I guess, for minor erasing.  I don't like the feel it has on the page, but since I almost always carry a separate eraser with me, I won't need to use it very often.  The edge of the ferrule where it meets the pencil is a bit rough (it looks almost like the black paint is flaking off the edge), but this is such a tiny detail that it would probably be unnoticeable to anyone but an obsessive stationery nerd like myself.  The best part: both eraser and ferrule feel very secure and in no danger in coming off of the pencil.

Love that black wood and the way it blends into the lead of the pencil.

Overall, I would say that the Rhodia Pencil is a good, but not great pencil.  I love the colours and design, but some of the small details could be improved.  It writes well, but I'm not sure that it is the pencil for me.  You, however, might love it.  It is definitely worth a try if you want to expand your wooden pencil collection.

Related reviews: pencil talk, Pencil Revolution, All My Hues, The Leaky Pen, Penpal from Southern Colorado, Granny Kass, Lung Sketching Scrolls.

18 comments:

  1. Thanks for the review. Glad to know I was not the only one less than enamored with it. Good not great. I have sensed ventured out with some other major branded pencils and found the Palomino Blackwings more impressive. Overall though I'm sticking to nibs and ink on my fingers for now

    Bob
    www.mypenneedsink.com

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    1. I really want to try the Blackwings one day, but I'm not sure whether I'd want to buy an entire box of 12. If I could find them individually I'd definitely grab one to try out.

      I'm probably still a pen person more than a pencil person, but it has been fun trying out different wooden pencils over the last year.

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    2. Plant City Bob, I've been pretty happy with Mitsubishi Hi-Uni, Staedtler Lumograph, Koh-i-noor, and California Republic Palominos. The American-made General's seems to me underrated, although I can't seem to find how you order a box of them in a single grade.

      Heather, the only premium pencils I've seen sold locally in my area as open stock are UK-made Derwents, which I also like. A dozen premium pencils at maybe US $25 may be costly, but they last a good while for me. I use pencil extenders, too, for economy. Jack/Ohio

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    3. I have a General's Kimberly pencil in the line-up now. I haven't had a chance to try it out yet, but I will do so and review it at some point in the coming months.

      I really don't think I would ever buy a set of a dozen pencils, especially if I had never used that kind of pencil before. I just don't use my pencils enough to make it worth it for me.

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    4. LOL:) I write, oh, quite a bit I'd guess. I'll reach for a sharpener two or three time during a writing session. Still, I've several packs of pencils that I've yet to open. So I understand about not wanting to buy a dozen at a time. Jack/Ohio

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  2. I used to like pencils, then I fell away from using them. In the most recent five years, I've been picking them up and USING them, as well as sharpening them.

    Three days ago, I noticed that Collected Works, my locally owned Santa Fe bookseller has an impressive collection of Rhodia products. When I pick up my special ordered book tomorrow, I'll make certain to try the Rhodia pencils.

    Have you ever covered pencil sharpeners?

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    1. I haven't covered pencil sharpeners on this blog yet. My only pencil sharpener is rather... pathetic, so I really need to invest in a new pencil sharpener at some point. When I have some time I want to do some research into different sharpeners and find out what one would be best to try first. I'll let readers know about it when that happens!

      And good luck with your Rhodia pencils!

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  3. Very nice review. I've been enjoying your pencil pieces. :)

    I have to second the shout-out to General's Pencil Co. They are superb and usually a little less expensive than the German and Japanese premium pencils. :)

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    1. Thanks, Johnny! As I mentioned in a comment above, I do have a General's Kimberly pencil that I'll be trying out and reviewing soon, so stay tuned for that!

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    2. Looking forward to THAT! :)

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  4. Johnny, thanks. Dick Blick carries some open-stock General's, and boxes of 12 also. I recall not having anything else to "bundle" my purchase, and didn't want to spend $12 shipping and taxes for a $12-$15 purchase. Don't know if DB has a presence in Canada. Jack/Ohio

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  5. For one well versed in making mistakes and correcting them, I have to go with a good pencil and eraser.

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  6. jo Baldwin and Heather: you're right that you have to talk about erasers and sharpeners, too. I think Kiwi Dave at Dave's Mechanical Pencils has a lot of good to say about the Tombow Mono eraser. I like KUM and M + E sharpeners. Jack/Ohio

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    1. I have tried out a few erasers, but the Tombow Mono is one that I'll have to try as well. And as for sharpeners... it will probably be a while before I get around to those, because I have a limited amount of time and there is other stuff I want to get to first!

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  7. Nice review. For the greatest pencils in the land (regarding smoothness, darkness, and uniform quality of their B grades to HB range) I would look towards either the Mitsubishi Hi-Uni or the Tombow Mono 100 or Caran D'Ache Grafwood and Technalo. For good pencils I would consider Staedtler Mars Lumograph, Faber Castel 9000, and Derwent.

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    1. Wow, I have so many pencils yet to try out. The only one I've used on that list is the Staedtler Mars Lumograph. It's probably my favourite pencil so far, so I can't even imagine what an even better pencil would be like. Thanks for the recommendations!

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    2. B2-kun, your Web site was pretty helpful when I was looking for alternatives to the Lumograph. FWIW-for about USD $2.50, or thereabouts, you can buy and use a top-of-the-line product (i. e., a premium wood-cased pencil). You can't get much else that's a superior product for so little expense. Jack/Ohio

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    3. ...and once you've tested those, there's interesting stuff like Conté's "Black Stone" pencils, sanguine pencils & sepia pencils, of course :)

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