I was quite underwhelmed this week when using the Staedtler Norica: point breakage, quick wear, and crappy eraser. I suppose I expected more out of this German-made pencil (note: this pencil is made in Thailand, I stand corrected), but-- then again-- how much could I expect from a common school pencil? The Norica looks pretty; it has a nice, sharp hexagonal barrel and a bright white eraser held in by a silver ferrule.
This pencil had a busy week between stats notes and test-taking that I began to wonder if it could keep up. Since obtaining Kum's Masterpiece sharpener, I have not had the excessive amounts of point breakage as I did the with Long Point sharpener. I chalk that up to less flexibility since the Masterpiece is (I think) magnesium. This was the first pencil that proved me wrong. I deduced that it was probably a break in the graphite core within the pencil since it was such a clean break, but nonetheless this happened about three or four times during the week.
Another gripe was the fact that I had to sharpen the Norica so damn much while note-taking. Usually, I sharpen once per side of paper I write on (I use B5 size paper). The Norica sometimes barely made it through two-thirds of the page before I had to sharpen her which left me frustrated and my hand cramped from sharpening so much. I really thought that this pencil would not make it to the end of the school week, but it did-- barely.
The picture above shows how quick the pencil wore down (this was taken on Thursday of a week that runs until Saturday). What the above picture also shows is the next thing I am going to gripe about: the ferrule. I usually try to use the eraser if the pencil comes with one to see how it does and whether or not it is useful. I wore down the eraser a lot since it had a hard time erasing and I had to follow up with my Boxy. About halfway through the Norica, I noticed that the ferrule was loose. Like it was separating from the barrel of the pencil. It wobbled quite a bit while erasing or while I was using the pencil in general and I noticed that it was only attached via four little punches in the aluminum (?) that adhered it to the pencil. The smaller the pencil got, the more I noticed the loose ferrule.
This week was a crap week with lots of school work and a bad pencil. I do realize that since I am working my way through my entire collection of pencils I am bound to work with some bad ones, but please pencil gods: let my next random pick be a Swiss Wood! Overall: 4/10