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Noris in the Wild – Cycling Edition

As featured on Sportful’s Instagram feed. This particular Noris (which looks like the Triangular version) is pictured alongside the design for 2015/16 World Road Race champion Peter Sagan’s champion’s jersey.


Tools for Learning


Since being introduced to them by Sola, of Pencils and Other Things, I’ve developed a real fondness for red/blue bicolor pencils. I’ve been using the Mitsubishi 2667, which she kindly sent me, for most of the last fortnight to mark my notes.

Pictured is a new acquisition, from Fred Aldous, the Caran d’Ache “Bicolor”, and an old favourite, the neon Wopex.  They’ll be my companions as I brush up on my Pl/Sql today.

A Blue Sunbeam

General's Cedar Pointe, Eagle Sunbeam, Dux Sharpener

General’s Cedar Pointe, Eagle Sunbeam, Dux Sharpener

A General’s Cedar Pointe (sharpened with a Kum long point) and an Eagle Sunbeam (sharpened with the Dux pictured below).  The Dux sharpens quite unusually, removing the wood around the core to the same degree as a “normal” sharpener, but pointing the graphite like a long point.

General's Cedar Pointe, Eagle Sunbeam, Dux Sharpener

General’s Cedar Pointe, Eagle Sunbeam, Dux Sharpener

A detail shot of the points.
I’ve not written with the Sunbeam yet, so can’t comment too much on it – it’s interesting that this blue, eraserless pencil has the same name as the jauntily yellow Sunbeam school pencil Sola looks at in this post.

Perfect Pencils – 9000 and the Junior

A quick visual comparison of two varieties of Faber-Castell’s “Perfect Pencil”.

(For those of you who don’t know, the perfect pencil combines a cap, extender and sharpener, and is a great way to carry a pencil in a pocket without stabbing yourself with the point).

The 9000 is designed to match with Faber-Castell’s quality art pencil, the 9000 range, and is priced at around £10.

The Junior is a lower priced version, and can be bought for between £3 and £4.

Cap/Sharpener Comparison


The “Junior” is on the left, the 9000 on the right.

As the picture shows, the “Junior” has a somewhat beefier, more modern appearance.  The clip on the Junior is part of the moulding of the main part of the cap, not a separate piece as on the 9000.  The Junior’s lower section reminds me very much of the Faber Castell “Basic” fountain pen’s grip section.

The sharpener units from inside the caps

The sharpener units from inside the caps

The Junior sharpener unit is wider than that in the 9000, and clicks home more positively into the cap.  As you can see, the blades have a different design.  I can’t comment on their function – I regard them as being for emergencies only!  The body of the Junior unit is smooth, whereas the 9000 has some embellishing grooves, and Faber-Castell branding (not visible in the picture).

Faber Castell 9000 Perfect Pencil, and Junior Pencil

Faber Castell 9000 Perfect Pencil, and Junior Pencil

The pencils are, of course, the consumable element of the Perfect Pencil – you could put any similarly sized pencil in the cap, after all.  The pencil supplied with the Junior isn’t one I recognise from Faber-Castell’s range, but I think it has a classy, understated design, black with a light grey imprint, and black ferrule and eraser.

It writes somewhat less smoothly than the 9000, but seems to leave a darker line, and holds a point well.  It’s also round, which I like.

Of the two, and as a complete package, my preference is for the 9000, but the Junior is solidly made, comes with a good quality pencil, and is priced such that two or three can be purchased more cheaply than a single 9000.  It’s also available in Blue, Red and Black (only the cap colour changes, not the pencil).  I think its well worth picking one up if you like the Perfect Pencil idea and don’t want to spend too much, or have a fancier Perfect Pencil that you want to keep for Sunday Best.

Noris au Naturel

Noris Eco Pencils

A skinned Noris Eco next to an intact one.

Inspired by recent WOPEX skinning escapades over at Pencils and Other Things, and less recently at Lexikaller, today’s procrastination came courtesy of this now uncovered Noris Eco (pictured next to an intact pencil of the same type).

Contrary to others’ experiences, I found the coating on the Noris Eco is fairly easy to remove (most of my skinning was accomplished using my fingernails).  The coating came off in a ribbon that’s slightly more than twice the length of the pencil.

The skinned pencil is more textured than I’d expected, but feels oddly cold and slippery.  As much as I like unlacquered pencils like the General’s Cedar Pointe, I don’t think I’ll skin any more WOPEXes or Noris Ecos 🙂

Sketchbook – Lillies

Lillies and Sandwich

Lillies and Sandwich

A rather loose study of a lily vase, and a smoked salmon sandwich, using Derwent Academy Water Colour Pencils, in a Seawhite “Eco” sketchbook

The Derwent Blues

A conversation with Sola, from “Pencils and Other Things” prompted me to dig out some of my older art materials.

Derwent, or Cumberland, or Rexel, will be familiar to art dabblers, artists, and (for the Rexel and Cumberland imprints) people at school during the ’80s.  Manufactured in Britain, they were a staple of our pencil cases, and I still use Derwent pencils now, particularly the Academy range of watercolour pencils, and various sketching pencils.

"Lakeland" Colouring Pencil

“Lakeland” Colouring Pencil

This is the first I can remember using – I think in secondary school.  Branded “Lakeland”.  I remember the imprint being rather fancier than it is here – that could be a still earlier version of the pencil that I’m recalling, but no longer have.

Rexel Cumberland Derwent Watercolour Pencil

Rexel Cumberland Derwent Watercolour Pencil

I remember using watercolour pencils from this set to do my art “O-Level” exam. Although the finish is different, pencils in the equivalent “Academy” range are still hex shaped, with a dip indicating the colour of the core.

Derwent Academy Watercolour Pencil

Derwent Academy Watercolour Pencil

And this is the modern pencil. Sets of these are reasonably priced (in Britain at least), and work well used dry, or with water.