.... to sign my prints
....to sketch out a painting
....to lay out the images on my pottery
So when I was in New York I met some folks that are producing Blackwing pencils. I will have to say I have never heard of them but this is what I was told.....
Some of the world’s most legendary Grammy, Emmy, Pulitzer and Academy Award winners have created with Blackwing pencils. The list of known users includes John Steinbeck, Stephen Sondheim, Leonard Bernstein and Chuck Jones, who proudly used Blackwings to create Bugs Bunny and countless other Looney Tunes characters.
Its roots go back to the 1930’s when it was first introduced by Eberhard Faber. In 1998, after several corporate acquisitions, it was discontinued, but not forgotten. In fact, fans began paying as much as $40 on eBay for a single Blackwing pencil.
Artists from across the world soon noticed that Palomino’s range of premium pencils provided a comparable performance to the Blackwing and asked them to consider reviving the iconic brand.
Palomino founder and CEO Charles Berolzheimer, whose family’s roots in the pencil industry date back to the mid 19th century, used his unique supply relationships to re-introduce the Blackwing pencil, both in its original form (the “602”) for devotees, writers and everyday users, as well as a modified version with a slightly softer lead for artists.
They even make an interesting pencil sharpener, that sharpens in a two part system, one side takes away the wood and the other sharpens the lead so you don't waste so much lead.
I ordered these for Carolina Creations but am sure I'll be one of the first customers to buy them!
You can purchase them on our website, a box of pencils (12 in a box) soft or firm, the pencil sharpener, and the journal with pencil.
Ever wondered how pencils are made? We have reprinted the description written by our pencil makers -
Our story of how cedar pencils are made is a celebration of time-honored traditions married to modern manufacturing facilities. The journey begins at a sawmill, where Incense-cedar logs are cut into lumber called “Pencil Stock” or “Pencil Squares”. This lumber product is then dried in a dry kiln to reach a uniform moisture content before being shipped to the Slat factory.
- At the Slat factory, pencil stock is cut into “Pencil Blocks” a bit longer than the normal length of a pencil. The small amount of extra length is called “trim allowance” that bears importance later on in the process.
- Pencil Blocks are cut into “Pencil Slats” using specially designed circular saws. These saws are very thin in order to reduce the amount of “waste” in the form of “sawdust”. Due to the natural grain and defect characteristics of the wood, slats are sorted by width and grade for further processing. Slats without defects are called “full ply”. Some slats are cut to smaller widths (called “narrow ply”) or shorter lengths (called “memos”) in order to eliminate the defects and to produce a variety of usable grades and plies of pencil slats.
- Pencil Slats are treated with wax and stain to obtain uniform color and improve the machining and sharpening characteristics of the wood for future processing. The slats pass through a final inspection process and then are packaged and shipped to “Pencil Factories”.
- At the Pencil Factory a “Groover machine” cuts grooves into the slats to accept the writing core (or “lead”).
- Writing cores – made from a mixture of graphite and clay – are placed into the grooves. Coloring pencils may use wax-based cores while many other formulations are used in cosmetic pencils.
- A second grooved slat is glued onto the first – making a “sandwich” – by a machine called a “lead layer”. The sandwiches are then “clamped” and held together tightly while the glue dries.
- Once the glue dries, the sandwiches are transferred to a “Shaper” and are first “trimmed” to assure that the sandwich is square and that all the pencils will be the proper length. Then the sandwich is machined into pencil shapes such as hexagonal, round or triangular.
- Individual pencils cut from the sandwich are ready for further processing. Any pencils with defects, such as uncentered leads or chipped wood, are discarded at this point.
- Next, each pencil is painted in a machine receiving from 4-10 coats of lacquer, depending on the desired quality of the finish and the color depth. A recess is cut to accept the ferrule. (After painting, some pencils are wrapped in decorative film or foils with fancy designs; although, most pencils are imprinted with the brand name by stamping the foil into the surface of the pencil.)
- On a “tipping” machine, an eraser and a ferrule (the metal ring that holds the eraser to the pencil) are crimped into place on each pencil.