May 9, 2011 13 Comments
Even a “great” pencil isn’t always the best one for the job at hand. Most of the time when I read or discuss the pros and cons of a pencil with someone, there’s rarely any mention of the paper being used—a necessary part of any mechanism to evaluate a pencil’s performance. The way a pencil writes and wears is necessarily dependent upon the stock that receives the writing and causes the wearing.
Perhaps that is one of the reasons why most don’t pay too much attention to, or have a preference for, any particular pencil: the experience of using a pencil is lost in the manifold, generic contexts for which it’s used. Most are as unlikely to say “this is a really nice pencil” as I am unlikely to say “that is one hell of a toaster”, or “that is the most exquisite ‘ping’ I’ve ever heard come from an egg-timer”, or even “damn, this hammer can really hammer!”
Presumably, if someone has made the effort to seek-out a particular writing instrument, it’s with a particular purpose (or set of purposes) in mind. The vast majority of my pencil-related work involves writing upon staff paper, and ironically, the brands of staff paper that I prefer the most are often bad matches for the Blackwing. Either they are a little too rough vis-à-vis the Blackwing’s particular rate-of-wear, or they are a little too smooth and don’t ‘take’ the lead very well. Instead, there are some other pencils that are better-suited.
It’s O.K. though, because the desk I use “really keeps the paper parallel to the floor better than any other desk I’ve used.”