ippo! x MONO 1

Thanks to Shangching from East…West…Everywhere my family got a parcel with some nice stationery surprises and our son, and by extension I, were able to try out Tombow’s ippo! pencils for school children as well as the corresponding eraser.

My understanding is that the pencils from this set aim at being easily erasable, so they have soft leads that produced nice, dark lines and the special eraser makes it easy for kids to erase any mistakes cleanly and nice, making the page ready for the next attempt.

Like many other Tombow pencils, the ippo! pencils, this set came with two in red, two in blue, two in yellow, are all made in Vietnam. The eraser was manufactured in Japan.

Hats off to Tombow, this set definitely achieves what (I think) it set out to do.

The eraser performs very similar to other dust free erasers, but feels softer, so makes for pleasant erasing. The pencils, being (Japanese) 2B, are very soft. The softness of the lead will probably help in making the user press less hard, so the writing is more likely to be on top of the paper whereas a harder lead might have made the user press down more, resulting in compressed paper where the line was. No compressed paper -> no deep lines, which will still be visible after erasing as a sort of crevice on the page -> the erased area looks very clean.

I also like the fact that the eraser sleeve is perforated, so you can easily shorten it when the eraser gets used up.

Compared to another dust free eraser on paper from the Monocle by Leuchtturm notebook

Overall a very nice pencil and eraser set. Similar to other Kakikata pencils the pencils have an area for labelling with your name and are uncapped.

Nearly ten years of The Pen Addict Podcast

Christmas, as well as the New Year, are coming closer. It will be nice to have a few quiet days with less work, and no doubt many Bleistift readers will want to catch up with everyone’s favourite stationery podcast over the holidays.

It’s hard to believe that the Pen Addict podcast will be ten years old in 2022.

I thought I use this opportunity to update the Pen Addict ‘statistics’ I posted in preparation for the 300th episode. In 2018, at the time of that blog post the episodes got around five minutes longer per year and I made a tongue in cheek comment that that episode 1000 they should be more than two hours long. It’s a bit like the (infamous) forecast that in the future everyone will be an Elvis impersonator.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the rate of episode length increase wasn’t sustained over time. Below is the latest version of the diagram showing the episode length over time.

Each dot represents an episode. Early episodes are on the left, recent episodes are on the right. Short episodes are at the bottom, long episodes are at the top.

I marked the outliers on the image below. At the top right, in red, we got the longest ever episode, episode 450, clocking in at 133 minutes. At the bottom left we got episode 33, one of the few episodes with an episode number that is greater than its length in minutes (episode 46 is another one of those).

Please have a look at the Pen Addict Podcast page on stationery.wiki. You can easily sort all episodes, e.g. by length, by clicking on the little arrows in the header row and explore all episodes. We’d also be happy if you contribute to the other stationery knowledge recorded there. It’s a resource available to everyone.

You will have also noticed the more horizontal lines in the diagram. The black line is a straight linear regression line. The blue curve is a LOESS (local regression) curve, which is a bit more ‘flexible’ than the straight line.

In the image below you can see that in the first years (marked as ‘a’), until about 2015, we had a strong increase in episode lengths, mainly caused by the fact that early episodes were rather short. From then on, until about 2018 (marked as ‘b’) we had a very slow increase in episode lengths and since then (marked as ‘c’) we have a slow decrease in episode lengths. In the last few weeks he had an average length of about one hour per episode. The LOESS curve is moving (roughly) from 65 minutes per episode to 60 minutes per episode.

I hope you enjoy the holidays (if there holidays wherever you might be). If you have some time on your hands, please catch up with your favourite podcast and/or contribute to our stationery.wiki.
As usual, the data and the code used for this plot are available on GitHub. This time it is also available on kaggle.

Karandash Krasin

This is a Russian-made Krasin pencil [1]Their web site has Karandash in the name. You might be familiar with the story of the Swiss company Caran d’Ache’s name who is named after a cartoonist who in turn named himself after the … Continue reading.

Two years ago I was lucky enough to have met the Pencil Talk editor in person. He gave me a set of six Krasin pencils and some other very nice stationery-related items. I thought I wrote a blog post at the time, but when I checked a few days ago I wasn’t able to find it, so am posting about the Krasin pencil now. Some of the other items were also very special, so I might show some of them in the future.

You can find out more about the Krasin pencils on the pencil talk web site.

If you are on a computer please click on the images to see them in full resolution.


1Their web site has Karandash in the name. You might be familiar with the story of the Swiss company Caran d’Ache’s name who is named after a cartoonist who in turn named himself after the Russian word for pencil.

Trimline 3594

Dixon Trimline 3594

Discovered in our Scout group’s hut, this American-made Dixon Trimline not only made it into Europe, it also managed to survive several decades hidden between other pencils and kept in pristine condition.

Notice the slim and elegant font and the blind-stamped U.S.A., left of the writing.

A smidge of the beautiful orange paints seems to have made it’s way into some of the knurling on the ferrule.

The last photo ended up a bit blurry, but if you are using a computer to read this then please have a closer look at this pencil by clicking on the (other) photos to admire this pencil’s details.

12 and Count Alexander von Faber-Castell 7

Just a quick blog post for today’s 12th anniversary of the Bleistift blog:

One of Count Alexander von Faber-Castell’s estates, Wolfgangshof, maybe five miles from Faber-Castell’s headquarters, was recently used as the backdrop for a TV show about Franconian folk music (as far as I know the first TV show of its kind).

Wolfgangshof Anwanden (This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license)

There doesn’t seem to be any geoblocking going on as I can watch this video here in the UK without problems. It is available from the BR Mediathek (from Bavaria’s public-service radio and television broadcaster).

Count Alexander von Faber-Castell was the first “Faber-Castell” Count – before his marriage he was known as Count Alexander zu Castell-Rüdenhausen.

You can read more about him on Sean’s Contrpauntalism blog or in my blog post Schwanberg and the Pencil Cedar.