Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Pencil Review: General's Kimberly

The General Pencil Company is an American company that makes their pencils in the United States, and they have been doing so since 1889 - relatively rare in a day when most pencils are being made overseas.  I had never even heard of General's pencils until I started reading pencil blogs, so I was delighted to come across this Kimberly drawing pencil in B at the thrift store.

I loved it right away because it has a green body with gold lettering - one of my favourite colour combinations.  I also love the metal cap on the end, which to me gives the pencil a vintage feel, although according to this informative post at pencil talk, the cap is actually a later addition.  Regardless, it sets the Kimberly apart from nearly all commonly encountered pencils.  The Kimberly comes in a range of grades, from 9H to 9XXB.  Mine is a B, which puts it roughly in the middle, slightly softer than an HB.  It sharpens very cleanly and I love the cedar smell of the wood.

Metal cap.  Also tooth marks.  They're not mine.  I told you this came from the thrift store.  Just ignore them.  That's what I'm trying to do.

I really like this pencil - although it's not fancy, I have no complaints about it.  It just performs well.  For writing, it is reasonably dark, not as smooth as the Rhodia Pencil I last reviewed, but with an enjoyably scratchy sound on the page.  For sketching, I feel that the B is not quite as dark as I would prefer; in the future, I think I would select a slightly softer grade.  I am much happier with my sketches for this review than I was with my sketch for my review of the Staedtler Mars Lumograph, so maybe the Kimberly has improved my pencil sketching ability?  Maybe, but I think it's more likely that I'm just happier sketching seashells than I am lamps!

I actually think that I might enjoy sketching with this pencil more than I did with the Lumograph.  I can't quite identify what it is, but there is something about the Kimberly that I really like... more feedback with the paper or... something.  I'll need more experience with wooden pencils to say for sure which one I prefer, but I think the Kimberly could possibly become my new favourite pencil.

Overall, if you're looking for a quality, American-made pencil, look no further than General's Kimberly.  The more I use it, the more I like it.  I highly recommend it, and I'll be looking for more products from the General Pencil Company in the future.

Related review: pencil talk.


  1. Nice review! The Kimberly in B is one of my current favorite pencils (I have an HB on the table next to me right now in fact). Looks like the one you have is a number of years old (from the cap) --excellent!

    ====>Please don't publish this part<====
    If you have trouble finding them in Canada and would like to try more grades, I would be happy to send you some from the US. :)

    1. I'm not surprised that it's an older pencil, since is from the thrift store. That just makes me love it any more.

      (Sorry, I can't unpublish part of your comment unless I delete the entire thing :)

  2. These are available at Michael's art supply stores, which are common in BC. You'll want a forty per cent coupon however, as Michael's is often quite expensive. Coupons come in their online newsletter.

    1. Thanks for that tip, Wesley! I don't get to Michael's stores very often (none close to where I live, sadly), but when I am next in one I will be sure to take a look at their pencil offerings.

  3. OMG this is the cutest review and Blog I have come across!
    Following you. I hope you follow back and return the support too :D
    Red Alice


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