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JOEL Joel's Blog

Stop Stealing My Blackwing Pencils!


Stop Stealing My Blackwing Pencils! 1
In the front of the shop, at the checkout counter we have a little display of Blackwing pencils, a sharpener, and some scrap paper. As far as I know, Blackwing pencils are some of the best in the world. Fun to write with, a great feel, dark line, less pressure needed, etc. The best way to sell a box of pencils is put them out for people to play with. It's frankly an easy sell once people start using them. There are four different grades of pencils from "Soft" to "Natural," the latter being the firmest. I try to have one of each on the counter.
We started tying them down with a retractable string. Not ideal for the demonstration, but someone (initials SB) had a way of making them disappear otherwise. I have a couple of Blackwings on my desk at home, and I do use them, but I am primarily a fountain pen guy. I have a pen at work and several at home and I go ballistic if they get misplaced. Nobody of course borrows them (that would be fatal) so if they do go missing it's because I left them somewhere and I know I retrace my steps. The pencils could be anywhere.

I have another sharpener buried on my desk when I need it. At home I have one too (the sharpeners are inexpensive and it would be crazy to carry on back and forth every day) and a Boston Champion that has been in the family at least 50 years so I'm set here.

Oh, and it's not like people are taking random pencils, it's always the 602 - the next to firmest, and the black, softest that goes missing. I blame society :(

Note about the picture below. To the right of the pencil sharpener is an old bottle of Sheaffer ink. Cast into the glass bottle is a little glass well which makes filling your pen easier. Twenty years ago I recognized that any anachronistic product, no matter how useful, might soon go out of production. So I saved a few bottles. I refill them as I need to. You can actually get the old bottles on Ebay, so I know I might be crazy, but not insane. Behind the sharpeners is a ceramic envelope and stamp licker. I got this also about twenty years ago from the local stationary store for about twelve bucks. When you have to seal a lot of envelopes you appreciate that it saves time. Not for me the decadence of the peel-and-stick envelope. (Okay, I am not normally against this.) My old long gone stationary store (Kramer's on E. 23rd Street, now a condo building) not only knew what I was talking about - they joyously ordered it for me. I still use it when I have a lot of bills to mail.
Stop Stealing My Blackwing Pencils! 2
Join the conversation
12/28/2022 Willy
Thank you! This is great!
12/28/2022 Marcie Jones
I hope you all are safe and warm. This crazy weather! I thought I was prepared..ahem..missed a spot with the insulation. Old arthritic woman crawling around with the heat gun to get the water flowing again. No torch on the pex!! duh... Dismantled and drained the entire pool assembly while listening to the sound of crackling and impending ice following me..faster faster. I don't care for this. I live South, my superwoman Sis lives in Fairbanks. She wins! I'd just ball up and die, my tears freezing before leaving my eyelids.
I just love your blog, it always catches my heartstrings. My Gramps retired from a Hardware store in Missouri (back when they still had that kind of company) and Grams was a bookkeeper for the propane company as well as an arts and crafts instructor and saleswoman. So my destiny was preordained. I LOVE office supplies, pencils, pens, and mechanical hand drafting gear and I tend to get hung up in the hardware store when I only needed one piece. How did I lose 2 hours? We used to do woodcraft, ceramics, and farming in my summers. Gramps would send me a bag(gallon size!!) of pens, pencils, erasers, and other gems from the hardware store as a gift! Loved it! I had to relieve him of a few of his tools. Granddaughter, not Grand-son which they didn't have at the time was still a thing, confusing to them that I did tools, not hair. But they put up with me! Taught me to shoot and fish, Gramps always taught me the safe way to operate the table saw, and drill press, and the difference between pipe thread and coarse thread. A street L and a Y. Grams taught me the love of index cards, good printing, and fast typing. And keeping accurate if not anal records...of everything :)).
Sorry for carrying on, I really just wanted to check on you alls well-being and hope the cold has not had a negative effect on you and yours. Thank you for the entertaining blog and the reminiscing it causes. SB better get those da** pencils put back, WWIII could start for less. ;) Happy New Year! Marcie Jones
12/28/2022 paul Starita
I notice the automatic sharpener,steam powered version.My pencils were not stolen but my sharpener was.Now I have to use an electric version.Uggggg!
12/28/2022 michael a michalofsky
you are not alone
i use a fountain pen also and
i love my pencils and i have a manual sharpener in my shop and
electric sharpener in the office
12/28/2022 Kevin Schroeder
I loved this post! I still love the things and ways of living that I grew up with. The newest car I own is a 62'. And now you got me on a hunt for a Boston wall mounted pencil sharpener. It dosen't get any better!
Been buying Blackwings by the box for a few years now. They are scattered all over the shop. Manual sharpener on the wall but I keep that little Blackwing sharpener in my shop pocket and use that for the most part. I’m always freshening the point up before use.
12/28/2022 Shannon Scott
Thanks for the excellent blog post! I have a friend who swears by Blackwing pencils (though she doesn’t like their sharpeners). I guess I should buy a few to try, I would love to hear more about your fountain pens (I’m also a fountain pen daily-user). And what else is on display at the counter? I’m all the way down in New Mexico, so not likely I’ll get to stop into the store any time soon (though we have been talking about another trip to New York), but it looks like there’s all sorts of goodies there at the checkout.
12/29/2022 Joe Samalin
Shannon - thanks to you and to everyone for your comments! The picture is of the checkout counter as Joel wrote, and in addition to the Blackwings there are Morakniv chisel knives from Sweden - very cool all around tool with a knife edge and a chisel bevel! We carry most of Morakniv's carving tools as they are great quality and not too expensive, and the chisel knife is right there as well. I used mine a few weeks ago to cut some drywall I needed to cut....You can also see our new Japanese carving chisels - in 5 and 10 piece sets. Other than that a souvenir shot glass we use for pencil shavings from the sharpener, a bit of the wall o' Festool that is behind the counter, and a few other 'household' items we use.

Thanks all and happy new year!

Joe S
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