Review – Dixon “My First” Ticonderoga

I’m not gonna lie; I find reviewing wood pencils difficult. I just don’t see enough difference in them to make it seem worth my while to look at each specific one. Ones like the My First Ticonderoga are easier, but still the discussion of them ends up being brief. That being said, let’s take a look.

photo-147

The pencil is almost solid yellow, with green accents on the information on the “barrel” and the metal eraser holder. It is a little more broken up by the eraser’s pink and the wood of the sharpened end. The eraser works well enough, and is quite large since the pencils size is increased. The body is half again to double the circumference of a standard pencil, making it much more comfortable to hold, in my opinion, but harder to store. It is completely round, making rolling quite easy, but its larger mass makes it less prone to ending up on the floor.

photo-146

The lead is standard fare for #2. It works well enough for drawing and writing, providing a medium line that can be both quite dark and quite light, though the largeness of the lead skews it to dark. Personally I haven’t used it much for that, but I have used it for marking wood in lieu of a carpenter’s pencil, a job at which this excels.

It’s a good pencil, both for kids and those who don’t want to or can’t hold the smaller standard pencils of today. The quality control isn’t the finest. I’ve found some wood and paint blemishes but these are quite minor and don’t affect the writing ability at all. The set I got also came with a plastic pencil sharpener that does what it’s supposed to, but is nothing special. They’re just a simple, good option for someone who wants a larger pencil.

Review – Ticonderoga Sensematic

Have you ever been using a mechanical pencil and thought it was too much of a hassle to push the button before writing more? If so (Dixon) Ticonderoga claims to have you covered, with the Ticonderoga Sensematic self-advancing pencil.

20140716-000810.jpg

The body of the pencil looks like a standard pencil, but is a bit shorter. It has hexagonal sides, and a standard eraser with a metal attachment point, which screws out and contains extra lead to refill the pencil with. The tip is conical, and contains the self-advancing mechanism, from which the lead sticks out a bit.

20140716-000815.jpg

The lead is a standard HB (#2) and is nothing really special, so I won’t say much more other than it works. The real thing to talk about is the mechanism, which the box says one can simply “just write” with and the lead will advance automatically. And, in my experience so far, this is true. I haven’t had to change anything in my writing to make it work: it just does, making it quite a handy little thing. Now it doesn’t have a very long advance, so there isn’t much lead to work with, but for writing and some sketching that isn’t a problem at all. The mechanism works by having what is essentially a click-advance near the top of the exposed lead, and when it is pushed back more lead is exposed and then locked into place. This means that there could be instances where writing stops, but this could be easily solved by rotating the pencil.

Overall, this is a great idea with good execution. I quite like it but since the erasers aren’t replaceable and the mechanism feels a bit plastic-y I’d say they won’t last forever. But they will last at least as long as a regular pencil, with much less of a hassle, so I’d say it’s a win.