Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 - It's A Wrap

Well 2013 is almost over, just time for a final quick post.

My recent use of a Montblanc Meisterstück mechanical pencil inspired me to go right back to the beginning and so I have spent the last two months using my Yard-O-Led Deco 34 as my everday mechanical pencil. My original review was very short and basic by later standards, but what would I add now? Actually rather than adding anything I would re-emphaise two points. "The all silver square body and uncommon looks of this mechanical pencil make it stand out from your everyday office pens and pencils" and "...but I would prefer a thinner lead." Yes, 1.18mm really is just bit too thick for me. Still, I actually quite liked having to take a little time out to twist the top to advance the lead, and putting a new lead in is certainly something different. Overall an enjoyable change, and I think I will start 2014 with some other luxury writing instruement.

Anyway, moving on, here's a final post to wrap up 2013.

Pencil Rolls

First off, a very nice present from my pencil buddy in Korea. The Cplay Sevenroll Pencil Case in colourway "rich espresso".

There is a single loop on the outside of the wrap so you can have a 'quick access pencil' always at the ready.
The wrap is made in Korea, from what seems to be very good quality leather and materials... with a price tag to match. There are four pencil slots in the sevenroll wrap. For me personally the storage pocket is a bit on the small side. I would like to get an extra eraser and lead refill tube in there, but hey, beggars can't be choosers.
 My friend commented that normally this Cplay brand stationery is aimed at teenage girls... but he thought it was ok for me!?
Product branding details are embossed into the top flap. This wrap is a class act.

There is of course a much cheaper and in some ways better option to buying a fancy pencil wrap. Make your own! All you need is some material, needle and thread and time. Or, if like me, and the needle and thread bit sounds a bit too daunting you could do what I did, and find someone else to sew it for you. So, I made a mock up of my pencil wrap out of paper, bought some marine canvas, stuck it all in an envelope and posted it to a young relative who knows how to sew. Surprise, surprise, guess what I got for my next birthday? The Dave Design Pencil Wrap!

The various pockets and slots are sized for erasers, sharpeners, lead refill tubes, thin and fat pencils, etc.
Sorry, something about the blue colour caused lots of photographic problems. This was the best I could do.

So there we have it, from one end of the wrap spectrum to the other.

Wishing you all the best for 2014.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Three New Mechanical Pencils

If anyone out there is still holding their breath waiting for a new blog post… well here you are.

Whilst I haven’t been blogging for ages, and haven’t made a lot of additions to the collection, I have still been pencilling away, in one form or another. Three mechanical pencils were recently added to the collection, and here’s a little something about them. All three were a gift from a long time pencil friend. They were from the estate of a relative, and he thought I might get some enjoyment from them, which I certainly have. So here we have them.
Pelikan, Parker and Montblanc

Parker Vacumatic Mechanical Pencil

The one that initially attracted my attention was the oldest of them, the Parker Vacumatic pencil. Definitely old school, from the good old days.

The barrel imprint reads “PARKER VACUMATIC REG” and “MADE IN CANADA T.M.” I am no expert on Parkers but a quick bit of internet searching indicates Vacumatics were made from 1933 – 1948, although I believe that is USA production. Presumably Canadian manufacturing would have been similar dates. The exact details of the arrow clip and the central body band can be used to date it more precisely and it seems mine is post 1942. My pencil-friend has a family photo from 1949 showing this pencil. If anyone can date it more precisely then please yell out. The colour is apparently called Silver Pearl, one of the mainstay colours of this classic. I quite like the colour scheme; the pearl sections reflect light and give the pencil an ever changing appearance depending on the angle of view. Lead diameter is 0.9mm and lead advance is a screw mechanism. All exactly as expected for this period.

Trying out the B&W setting on Picasa photo editor. Note the detailing on the arrow pocket clip and the barrel band.

Pull the barrel apart to reveal the eraser, which has seen better days.
The Vacumatic is a nice pencil to write with, although I would prefer a 0.7mm lead version.

Pelikan Celebry Mechanical Pencil

Next we have the Pelikan Celebry.


This thing weighs a ton! It should be the Pelikan Clubby or Pelikan Basher, not Celebry. Some sort of cross between a mechanical pencil and a length of lead piping... handy in a dark-back alley brawl. Despite the colour, to me the weight makes it a "mans" pencil. (Sorry ladies, please don't take offence). One for the man cave downstairs.

Some more internet searching tells me mine is a Pelikan Celebry D565 Mechanical Pencil, Poppy Red with Black Chrome Trims (PEL 906487). Celebry was produced between 1995 and 2007.


0.7mm lead, twist advance mechanism. The top half of the barrel pulls off to reveal eraser and access to the lead storage magazine. The only wording on the pencil is CELEBRY just above the middle band.

Pelikan logo on end cap
A fine mechanical pencil, classic German quality, built to last.

Montblanc Meisterstück Mechanical Pencil

It's finally happened. Dave has a Montblanc. A Montblanc Meisterstück, the timeless classic.

At a current retail of US $415 (USA Montblanc website) this is not something I would ever buy myself, but I am very happy to have received this near new one as a gift.

For the past week I have been Montblancing it, or perhaps Ich Montblance? My trusty Lamy 2000 has been left in the drawer, and my new Meisterstück has been my daily use mechanical pencil.

To start with I have always considered the price of Montblanc to just be ridiculous. I am no stranger to paying one or even two hundred for a luxury brand mechanical pencil, but four hundred? When you are buying high end writing implements you are really buying jewellery, jewellery that just happens to also write, but even jewellery has price limits. The Meisterstück is just a plain black resin body with gold plated trims. Sure, it's a superior quality body, trims and mechanism, but to me there's just no way the price can be justified. If the body was made of exotic materials or uncommon design features then that's some justification for pricing, but the Meisterstück is not. The price simply cannot be justified. Still, Montblanc have been around a very long time and are still going strong, so clearly a lot of people disagree with me.

Having said all of that, a week of Montblancing has tempered my indignation to a degree. Its plain classic styling really is classic. Using it really did begin to give me delusions of grandeur.



The engraved centre band.
You will have to excuse my photography. I just couldn't get the engraving to show clearly.
The famous snow capped mountain.

My Meisterstück is a 0.5mm lead twist advance ratchet mechanism which my friend believes dates from sometime around the 1980's. The Montblanc website has its current description and code as Meisterstück Classique Mechanical Pencil, Ident. Nr. 12746. There is also a 0.7mm version available.
You pull the cap off to use the eraser or refill the lead chamber.


So, there we have it. Three new pencils. I started out placing them in the order Parker, Pelikan, Montblanc but finished up the reverse - Montblanc, Pelikan, Parker.

Once again, thanks to my friend for this most generous gift.


Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Novelty Stocking Stuffer

Santa usually leaves a few novelty item stocking stuffers for me, and this recent Christmas was no exception. Included this time was a pencil sharpener - Geppetto's Pencil Sharpener - Made in China but the brainchild of Israeli design studio Monkey Business.
Package, pencil + point protector, and Geppetto.

The weighted base keeps Geppetto smily face up, even with a long nose.

The sharpener works well, although the blade does not appear to be replaceable.



Also in the stocking, not pencil related.... but then again, perhaps it's a little something to help contemplation on future pencil acquisitions?