In my other hobbies (flashlights, ham radios, fountain pens, etc), it would break the bank if I decided to buy the top tier models, but from scouting around jetpens and amazon, it appears that in the case of wooden pencils, the best pencils available (from the brands I looked at, anyways) are available for less than $3 each. That is well below my pain threshold, so I figure there's no point beating around the bush. If I'm going to try out wooden pencils, I might as well experience the best experience that wooden pencils have to offer.
The top tier pencils listed on jetpens (judging from price and reviews) seem to be:
Tombow Mono 100 Uni Mitsubishi Hi-Uni Staedtler Mars Lumograph
Of course, jetpens being primarily a japanese site, this list is clearly missing some major players. So I guess my question is this: "Who are the significant players in the wooden pencil scene and what are their flagship products?"
Post by DerekVerbrugge on Aug 31, 2014 23:19:22 GMT -8
The best all have incredible consistency, and it's not worth taking into account. If it was, it wouldn't be on the list. I'd rank the best based on popular opinion as follows:
Mitsubishi Hi-Uni - smooth Tombow Mono 100 - smooth + some grip Faber-Castell 9000 - grippy Staedtler Mars Lumograph - smooth Koh-I-Noor Toison D'Or 1900 - smooth + some grip Venus Drafting Pencils - grippy + some glide
The easiest pencil of these to acquire is probably the Faber-Castell, which is great if you like to hear your pencil transfer lead to your paper. It is very grippy, but not in an unpleasant way. It easily leaves a mark on paper, and Faber Castell has Van Gogh's approval. Literally. I like top tier pencils to be mostly smooth if I have a choice, so it's not my personal favorite. I'd still highly recommend trying one if you happen to see one or are a fan of grippy lead.
The hardest one to find is probably the Venus, but the original pencil was consistent enough to make it on the list. The Venus pencil also happens to be American made. It's the only American made pencil I believe I've ever liked. It happened to be used to draft the Golden Gate Bridge. It writes with more grip than glide, but it's pretty close to 50/50 which makes writing with it a very average and almost boring experience. It is much more consistent than the average writing pencil. It could be the most average writing drafting/drawing pencil on this list. It has a green crackled finish that is utterly disgusting looking so it will really stand out in a collection.
At the top of the list is the Mitsubishi Hi-Uni. Popular opinion dictates that this super smooth pencil must reside at the top of my list, but I prefer the little bit of control that the Tombow Mono 100 offers me to the Mitsubishi Hi-Uni's buttery goodness. The Uni has a thick finish that makes me feel guilty and wasteful every time I sharpen one. If smudging and a limited range of degrees (Only 4B and 6B) isn't a problem, take a look at the cheaper Mitsubishi Uni Writing pencils. They make artists on a budget like me super happy.
The Staedtler Mars Lumograph is a smooth, consistent, German pencil. It's finish is shinier than the Castell 9000's, and it's blue. Need I say more?
Tombow Mono 100s and Koh-I-Noor Toison D'Ors are my all time favorites. Both of them have a neat black finish, have buttery smooth lead with a touch of grip allowing control, and fantastic quality. The Mono 100 is shinier, though. It's also longer, has a thicker lead core, and better detail in the finish.. I'd be curious to see rr4u's view on the topic considering he is as much an artist as I am and has a more extensive collection of pencils.
-Cretacolor Fine Art Graphite *160* (CLEOS) These are soft, soft, soft pencils, with a brilliantly balanced range of shades. They provide a wonderful drawing/writing experience and they release a wonderful intense cedar aroma when sharpened. Among the best I ever tried! Did I said they were soft?
- Koh-I-Noor 1500 A true classic, the original yellow pencils! That's a story for another day.
-Caran d'Ache Graphwood The most expensive art pencils out there, awesome stuff!
You cannot go wrong with Staedtler Mars Lumographs and Faber-Castell 9000's. I guess the same will apply to Mitsubishi Hi-Unis and Tombow Mono 100's though I don't have that much experience with them! I also agree with Derek on what he said, though I have never tried K-I-N Toison D'Or pencils or the Venus. Will have to fix that, K-I-N's will be easy to find around here!