Star Wars pencils

Even though I prefer Star Trek I like Star Wars, as you can see from the Stormtrooper fountain pen post, but at the moment there is so much Star Wars merchandise everywhere here in the UK, it already seems to be getting a bit too much – maybe not so much because of the quantity, but because a lot of it is just same old, same old.

Star Wars stationery

Star Wars stationery

Saying that: it was nice to see that there are quite a few pencils and pencil related items part of the Star Wars stationery range.

Star Wars stationery

Star Wars stationery

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Pencil Pot Of The Month – November 2015 1

Mars Tiegel (crucible) from Aug. Gundlach / Graphit Kropfmühl

Description: A pencil pot made from graphite

Price: €11.90 (in 2011) (~$12.70; £8.40)

Material: Graphite1

Further information: Lexikaliker bought this “Mars Tiegel” from the museum of the Graphit Kropfmühl PLC, now part of AMG Mining PLC. Now it’s mine and ever since I got it it is my most treasured pencil pot, storing my ready to be used pencils2. It is made by Aug. Gundlach, who describe their company as one of the world’s leading manufacturers of crucibles3. Apparently clay-graphite crucibles, like this one, are a thing, which means that a clay graphite4 mix is also used for manufacturing items other than pencils.

Price: 2011

Exchange rate: November 2015

Lexikaliker wrote about this black gold crucible in 2011. (Bing translation, Google translation)

There is also a great looking Graphit Kropfmühl pencil, previously shown in this blog post.

  1. Plus silicon carbide, aluminium oxide and silicon dioxide (according to Lexikaliker). []
  2. You can see this pencil pot in the background of the previous pencil pot of the month. []
  3. According to Wikipedia a crucible can withstand very high temperatures and is used for metal, glass, and pigment production as well as a number of modern laboratory processes. []
  4. Graphite has actually been used for thousands of years, i.e. before the famous deposit in Cumbria was discovered in the 16th century. []
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Labelling notebooks 1

Just a quick blog post about the label roll, mentioned previously. Like Post-Its the label roll is very easy to remove, but sticks well, because the whole back is ‘glued’. I’m using it to label all sort of items, but have now started using it to label Field Notes. I think it’s another great purpose for it.

3M Label Roll, Field Notes and Rustico

I only have three types of Field Notes, but out of those three two, the County Fair edition and the Cherry Wood edition, are difficult to label, so the label roll comes in quite handy.

3M Label Roll, Field Notes and Rustico

3M Label Roll, Field Notes and Rustico

Other notebooks are often easier to label. For Banditapple carnets I use a white pencil1.

Banditapple carnet, labelled with a white pencil

Banditapple carnet, labelled with a white pencil

For Atoma I just use ink.

Labelled Atoma notebooks

Labelled Atoma notebooks


You can read more Atoma related posts here.

You can read more Banditapple related posts here.

You can read more about the Rustico Leather Notebook here.

  1. The stamp was done using my block printing kit. []
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Lee Valley’s Little Shaver 5


I recently bought Lee Valley’s Little Shaver. According to their website the sharpner this replica is based on

was patented by Edward L. McDivitt of Belvidere, Illinois, in 1904. Sold until 1910 under various names including “The Handy Sharpener” and “Little Shaver”, it was offered for a price of $1.00 U.S. ($1.25 for a nickel-plated version); replacement blades were available for 25 cents. (Lee Valley web site)

If you have come across this sharpener before it was most likely in How to Sharpen Pencils by David Rees (p. 103), but it also mentioned very briefly in episode six of the Erasable podcast. My interest in this sharpener got reignited when Sola mentioned it recently. My wife was kind enough to buy me this sharpener for my birthday.


The official price is just under 50 Canadian Dollars, but unfortunately we chose the UPS delivery and I have to tell you, UPS is not exactly modest when it comes to fees. UPS shipping was about half the price of the sharpener, which is fine, but they made a really nice profit when they charged for handling customs clearance, plus they only take cash and don’t provide a receipt(!). It all felt quite dodgy (with no receipt), but otherwise they would have kept the parcel with the sharpener, which got really expensive by now. In the end, including all other costs, I paid quite a bit more than £70 (~$100; €100).

Lee Valley's Little Shaver

Build Quality

The sharpener feels built like a tank. It is quite heavy and as far as I can judge it is very well made. Lee Valley described it as “cast steel with a black gloss powder-coated finish”. Lee Valley started offering the Little Shaver Pencil Sharpener in 2011

Lee Valley's Little Shaver

How to sharpen

To sharpen a pencil you place your pencil in the support notch and move the hinged lever arm, similar to sharpening with a knife, to shave wood off. The lever arm is constructed in such a way that the blade cannot cut into the cast steel by mistake, as it will slide along what I can only describe as a sledge, the sledge will ensure you always keep the minimum distance from the cast steel. You then rotate the pencil, I think the official recommendation is you rotate it by 1/8 and repeat this step.

Not easy to use

To be honest, I’m not the most skilful person on the planet, but I am not exactly dexterously challenged either. I have no problems sharpening a pencil with a knife in a few seconds, producing a fairly nice point, but I really struggled with the Little Shaver. By now, several butchered pencils later, I achieve better results, but I still find sharpening with a good knife easier.


I think my problems stem from three different sources.

  1. The blade either wasn’t anywhere near as sharp as a knife’s blade or this saver’s blade got dull very fast
  2. Pencils don’t stay in place in the support notch. When you try to shave wood off with the blade the pencil will be pushed forward which means the newly created point will be shaved off next time you use the blade. Instead of sharpening the pencil from all sides towards one point every move of the blade will shorten the pencil and create a new point further down
  3. You might very well think that the sledge is there to keep the blade at the correct distance, when you sharpen the pencil, but it is (probably) only there to prevent you from ramming the blade into the cast steel support notch. You have to keep the right distance for optimal sharpening yourself.


The first problem can be fixed by sharpening the blade.

To prevent the pencil from moving forward, which was the second problem I listed, you can grip it very tight near the border of the sharpener. This will help to stop it moving forward. If you have a very sharp blade and don’t take too much wood off in one go it should be possible to hold the pencil in the right place and to prevent it from moving forward1.

I guess dealing with the last problem requires some practice. Somehow I find it not that easy to keep the correct distance with the Little Shaver’s blade, even though I have no problems doing something similar with a knife. Based on other reviews of the Little Shaver I would say it can’t be too difficult, but then, if you think of buying the Little Shaver, keep in mind that these reviews are by people whose hobby is woodworking.


It’s one of the most interesting and unusual sharpeners that is still being produced today. As this is not a mass produced product the price can’t be very cheap, but there are much more expensive sharpeners out there, e.g. from Cara d’Ache, El Casco or Graf von Faber-Castell. I think I’d definitely buy one again if it wasn’T for all the fees associated with importing goods into Europe.

What Lee Valley say in their YouTube video is certainly true: this sharpener has nothing to do with efficiency and more to do with fun and nostalgia. It is fun to use and there’s also the challenge of trying to produce a better and better point using the Little Shaver.

Lee Valley's Little Shaver

If you liked or disliked this blog post, why not leave a comment? I’m always happy to read or reply to comments.

Price: October 2015

Exchange rates: November 2015

As usual, please open images in a new tab to see them in high resolution.

To watch the videos in full resolution please watch them on YouTube.

You can find reviews of this sharpener at Popular Woodworking and Full Chisel.

Since this blog post comes with videos: At Lexikaliker you can enjoy what I think must be the world’s first ever pencil blog post with a video.

  1. as moving forward would result in the next cut of the blade shortening it again instead of shaping the existing point []
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Sean, Sport and Dr. Martens

Another blog post made up of different small bits put together.

Another blow your socks off blog post by Sean

First: a link to Sean’s blog. He has written another amazing and detailed blog post of the imho highest quality you will find in the stationery blogging world.

This blog post was a cooperation of Sean and Lexikaliker. What else did you expect if the greatest minds of pencil blogging get together..

Bleyweißstefftmacher: The Vagaries of Pencil History

A Question of Sport

I’ve never watched A Question of Sport ( am not interested in sports), but when I turned the telly on this weekend I saw this pencil (held by Osi Umenyiora). The pencil looks like the Impega / Lyreco to me. They are extremely common in offices in the UK. It’s the only wood cased pencil my employer provides and in the past Henrik has told me that this pencil is also very common in offices in Denmark. I think Henrik’s employer also provides them for staff (we both work in education). This is not the first appearance of the Impega / Lyreco on a BBC show. Who knows, maybe this sis the pencil you find in the BBC’s stationery cupboard. Contestants on other BBC shows tend to use ballpoint pens – but on QI you can find other cool stationery, like Muji’s notebooks.

An Impega / Lyreco pencil on A Question of Sport (Image © BBC)

An Impega / Lyreco pencil on A Question of Sport (Image © BBC)

There is a similar looking pencil from Lyra, but this one is most likely the Impega / Lyreco pencil.

Dr. Martens kids logo pencilDr. Martens pencil

I am not sure whether Dr. Martens is popular outside Europe, so just a quick explanation: It’s a British company selling WWII German army style boots in all sorts of colours. They also sell other shoes, but with similar soles.

I came across their kids line logo this weekend. It is a pencil, but it’s not any pencil – it’s a Staedtler Noris style pencil.


The screenshot in this blog post has been taken from Episode 13 of Series 45 of A Question of Sport. I believe that the use of the screenshot shown in this blog post falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.

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