One of my “quirks” as my wife likes to call it is my enjoyment of fine writing implements. I have some really nice pens in my collection at home but my day to day life is lived with pencils. Over the years, I’ve added a few mechanical pencils to my writing collection and while they are nice to look at, I’ve never been satisfied with them compared to the wood variety. As communication technology continues to improve and most writing is done with pen and ink, finding good quality pencil and pencil related materials is getting more and more difficult. Even a trip to the office supply stores (any of them) yields at best, mediocre quality because of the cheaper price.
Recently, I again tried some new mechanical pencils to see if any measured up. My biggest beef with mechanical pencils is the durability of the lead. It seems that it’s constantly breaking and that leaves marks on my work not to mention a scratchy feeling when I begin to write again after clicking out some new lead. I purchased two nicer quality daily use pencils and gave them a whirl. Boy was I disappointed once again. Nice to look at but again, poor performance and below average writing. Fine wood pencils have a harder, better crafted lead and this produces solid, smooth, smudge free lines. Erasing is clean with a quality eraser (the “pink pearl” being a good choice). My wife calls it my “geek” factor when I use them. I’ll admit I AM particular because much of my note taking is being done in my bible and I underline, annotate, and use my own little “glyph” system to track thoughts, notes, and even small outlines I use for potential sermons. It’s imperative my writing choice produces quality marks the first time.
I didn’t even begin to use these mechanicals in my bible. Instead, I used them on daily writing and teaching where it didn’t matter as much to me about the markings they left. After a few weeks, I’ve decided that I will go the way of Ernest Hemingway and stay with my cedar wood pencils, quality metal hand sharpener (of which I have two), and my pink pearl erasers. Since I was running low on wood pencils, I stopped by my favorite web site for all things pencil, “Pencil Things”, and I ordered some British made Oxford pencils like those you see at right. A box of 12 costs 32-cents a pencil (plus s&h) but I ordered a few others things while I was there to make it worth my while. I’ve ordered my sharpeners, pencil extenders, and quality pencils from this site and have always been pleased. You pay a little more but it’s worth it for the quality and variety of items you can get no where else. Besides, owner Don Bell always throws in some extra goodies as a thank you so I always get to try new things.
So now I wait. My son has already claimed my mechanical pencils for his school bag after my new ones arrive. Perhaps I’ll try again when someone comes up with a reasonable, high-quality, pencil where the lead doesn’t break off at every other line! Until that time, I break out my trusty sharpener and look forward to many more pages of profitable writing!