Staedtler Norica HB 2

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. 20151026_173615 (1)

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

General's Pacific 365 Final Thoughts

It has been a great week with the Pacific.  I definitely prefer the softer lead grade compared to last week's Mongol.  I also did a lot more writing this week with the Pacific.  Between meetings, crosswords, Sudoku puzzles and journal entries, this pencil really got a work out.  The KUM Long Point sharpener really made a difference this week as well as I prefer the long point on my pencils.  The KUM Brass Wedge has its place, but I think from now on, I will exclusively use the Long Point.  One thing that was noticeable about this pencil was that it seemed more fragrant than the Mongol of last week.  I have a couple of theories on that: the Pacific is a newer pencil so maybe it retained its fragrant cedar smell or it could have been the different sharpener which shaves away more of the pencil when sharpening.  Either way, I enjoyed the rich smell wafting from my pencil shavings as a I enjoyed my favorite maple latte at the local coffee joint. 20150828_114602

I was unable to carve out time this week to work on my cursive writing, so I have no samples to show, but next week's pencil will be all about the cursive (I hope it's a good choice).  I did my normal review as always in my Public Supply pocket notebook I acquired from CW Pencil Enterprise.  Here are my final thoughts:

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Happy penciling everyone!