Hand Tools Archive

Re: Koh-I-Noor (must've gone overseas)
Response To:
Koh-I-Noor ()

David Weaver
I've noticed in my accumulation of items along the way here:
* staedtler still has their stuff german marked
* blackwing pencils are marked japan (I think they were US made when they became famous, but the japanese versions acquit themselves very well - but they are expensive).
* another brand that's well thought of has become very inexpensive, and after I received them, I saw why (Tombow) - the package is written in japanese, but clearly marked on them is "made in vietnam". Great pencils

Waiting on mitsubishi hi-uni and a set of all hardness pencils (the latter for my daughter, who is taking an interest in drawing). Not sure where they'll be made.

The implication with staedtler and blackwing is that you're just not going to find them being cleared out anywhere - they're not made somewhere for $1 per dozen leaving tons of room for everyone else trying to make a check on them along the distribution channel.

If I were in japan, I'd buy the tombows at $4 a dozen - they're wonderful writing pencils, and for someone who likes to draw, they mark extremely well, are smooth and with strong points.

I spent 15 minutes yesterday looking for someone clearing out staedtler leads, and no real luck ($6-$7 per 12 is about as good as you can find unless you're willing to pick the hardness that's cheapest - HB is sometimes available for a dollar less). The vintage leads floating around on ebay are generally H and harder if they're there in quantity (knowing nothing about drafting, I'm guessing there is some preference for hard slow-wearing leads).

Fast forward to this morning, I found Koh-i-noor leads on ebay, and managed to get 96 leads for $25 shipped (from a distributor in russia). I'm guessing they must've gone overseas. Leads aren't rocket science from what i've read - more acquiring materials of the right spec and following process - so I'm assuming they'll be good.

In the case of someone like me making pencils, if the leads are good, I don't care where they're made.

Not that this seems to be anything new - we see it in tools, kitchen goods, etc, across the board, and tombow's pencils kind of match my recent experience with second and third world produced mid-grade tools. They're getting to be really good for the money (just watch out for the retailers who charge for the uneducated customer. The tombow 8900 pencils are available at an art store here individually for $2 each, probably 6-8 times the street price in japan).

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