Pimp my pen

I haven’t had a good idea (yet?)…

…but there’s still time to enter The Pen Company’s  Pimp My Pen competition, where you can win a £100 (~$155; €135) voucher to spend on pens.

Today is also the last day of JetPens’ 10 days of giveaways.

Exchange rates: February 2015.

The Pen Company’s competition is open to the entire world. JetPens’ competition is open to U.S. residents.

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Happy Birthday…

Happy Birthday Mars plastic eraser!

Mars plastic

You’ve helped us out of our misery for 50 years.

To celebrate this occasion there’s an anniversary edition

  • of the eraser (Art. no. 526 50BK3A)
  • of the single hole sharpener (Art. no. 510 10 PR1)
  • and of the double hole sharpener (Art. no. 510 20 PR1) …among others.

To the next 50 years!

I’d like to thank Mr Schindler from Staedtler for sending me the free samples that can be seen in the picture.

You can read more about the wedge sharpener in this blog post and more about the the stick version of the Mars plastic in this blog post.


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Pilot S20, 0.3mm, dark brown


s20-bodyHow could I resist… I never had much of a chance, did I?

…not with Gunther touting his readers with his beautiful S20, again and again and again.

I gave in…


If you click to enlarge you will notice tiny dents that must have occurred during manufacturing

…and bought the S20 in dark brown and in 0.3mm from WAKU1(Japan Store) for £13.52 (~$20.80; €18.20), including postage. I got it twelve days later. A great price, especially when keeping in mind that it costs more than twice as much in the UK (because it is imported) and you will have problems finding the 0.3mm version. I bought from WAKU1 in the past, but more about that in a future blog post.

The wood of the pen is beautiful and reminds me of the ONLINE All Wood Marone.


Pilot is a bit optimistic though, offering an F in their lead grade indicator. Is there an 0.3mm lead in F? When I see F it’s usually for 0.5mm.

Please let me know if you know of a 0.3mm lead in F – I do prefer harder leads, so F would be great, even though I have to say the 0.3mm leads you get with many Faber-Castell pencils are a bit too hard and too light for my taste.


Price and exchange rates: February 2015

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Is this it?

This is not a Noris and a Tradition.

This is not a Noris and not a Tradition.

I’ve started my search for good coloured pencils, i.e. coloured pencils that are suitable for writing, many years before I started this blog. Eventually, my dissatisfaction with coloured pencils led me to coloured leads for mechanical pencils – though marginally better than coloured pencils coloured leads aren’t great either and the only hard ones I found so far are so poor you can’t enjoy writing with them either.


…but then Lexikaliker gave me new hope with his article about the Paperworld 2015 and his confirmation that you can use the new Wopex coloured pencil, the Noris colour, for writing. An extruded lead might have very different properties – maybe….

…maybe this is it. Maybe this is the holy grail of colour pencils!

...camouflages right into the desk environment

…camouflages right into the desk environment

Two days ago, on Tuesday, I ordered a pack of six Noris colour from eBay and they have arrived this morning, two days later. It really has been a great stationery week for me. Earlier this week I got a package from California and this morning I got one from Canada as well as the Noris colour mentioned earlier. So many things to try out.

I hope my journey of many years to find a nice coloured pencil, suitable for writing has come to an end. I will report soon.


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Viking Skjoldungen 400

The Danes have it good. They can already enjoy the second season of The Legacy / Arvingerne while here in the UK the first season only just finished.


Pencil spotting

There were of course pencils to be spotted in the first season. While previous pencils spotted in Danish TV series were either German or unidentified we hit the jackpot this time: a Danish pencil!

Arvingerne: Signe writing a note for her lawyer (Image © DR)

Arvingerne: Signe writing a note for her lawyer (Image © DR)


The Viking Skjoldungen 400

As mentioned in a previous blog post I’m quite lucky to have some Danish stationery, most from Henrik and some from Rad and Hungry. This meant that I was able to spot that the Viking pencil in question is the older, pre-2012 version of the Viking Skjoldungen 400. At that time the Skjoldungen was still offered in B, HB, H and 2H – labelled using the Thoreaus’ system, i.e. using numbers 1-4. Now the Skjoldungen 400 is only available in HB – and labelled as HB, not as #21.

The pre-2012 and the current Skjoldungen 400

The pre-2012 and the current Skjoldungen 400


Pencil grades

The Skjoldungen 400 is a really nice pencil. My main issue is that the HB/#2 is a too soft for my taste, it is softer than most European HB pencils and  doesn’t keep the point long enough to be convenient for writing lots of text – at least not if you are writing using rather small letters like I do (That’s why I love the Deli 0635 and mechanical pencils with 0.2 or 0.3/0.35 mm leads). The #3 pencil on the other hand is in my opinion already a bit on the hard side for everyday writing. It is however not really harder than other H pencils2. It would be great if Viking’s HB was a bit harder or if there was an F pencil …but since they even stopped making this pencil in B, H and 2H there’s not much chance of an F pencil being made, I guess.

Skjoldungen - old and new



Even though the HB pencil is too soft for me when it comes to everyday writing, it might be suitable for many or most other pencil users – many other pencils that are too soft for me, like some Japanese HB or Palomino pencils, seem to be used and preferred by lots of people, so don’t let me put you off if you have a chance to try this pencil for yourself.

I believe that the use of the the screen shot of the Viking pencil, taken from the seventh episode of the first season of Arvingerne falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.

  1. Viking still has some old stock left though (February 2015) which can be bought on their website. []
  2. So the HB is quite a bit softer than other European HB pencils, while the H is in the same league as other H pencils. []
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