Palomino Blackwing Pencil Review

Palomino Blackwing Pencil Review

Palomino Blackwing Pencil Review-3What is it? Well, it’s probably one of the most famous pencils out there. They’re made of genuine incense cedar, feature a matte black body, and a large golden ferrule with a replaceable eraser. You can pick them up on Amazon for around 2 bucks per pencil. Yes, pencils can be famous…this is one of them. It’s been cited by John Steinbeck as his favorite pencil, bringing a lot of attention to the brand. Read on to see how it’s held up in the hands of a fountain pen fan…

Palomino Blackwing Pencil Review-4Notes: You hear a lot about this pencil, people love the brand, they release special limited editions, and there’s an “aura” around it that people are drawn to. The only reason I bought one was to see what the big deal was. The classic Blackwing is a nice looking pencil featuring a matte black body and a large, golden ferrule that you can even replace the eraser in. Initially, I found the pencil to be quite long and slightly off-balance. After some use (and sharpening) the pencil became easier and more comfortable to write with. The Blackwing pencil even has its own motto – “twice the speed, half the pressure” – which for the most part, I agree with. It’s very smooth, produces a nice dark line, and I can see how other pencils are “slower”. Rougher leads just lead to a less smooth experience overall, which does give the impression of writing slower.

Palomino Blackwing Pencil Review-5-2There’s one glaring issue for me, and that’s the point retention / lead hardness. Since the lead is so soft (what makes it so smooth and dark), you need to constantly rotate the pencil to keep a crisp line. You can see a huge difference in the writing sample between the beginning and even the middle of the page. A harder lead will solve this problem, but those tend to produce a lighter line. To me, finding the right pencil is all about finding the right balance of hardness and darkness of the line. When the pencil is sharp, it’s great, but unfortunately that isn’t for a very long time.

Palomino Blackwing Pencil Review-1Overall, the Palomino Blackwing is an okay pencil. It does write nice and dark, and super smooth. Unfortunately for me, that writing experience is a fleeting moment, as the line produced quickly becomes wider and significantly less crisp. There is light at the end of the tunnel, as Palomino makes a Blackwing Pearl. I’ve recently picked up one of these , so expect a review shortly! If you’ve been looking to add a premium pencil to your collection, and prefer a soft lead, definitely consider picking up some Palomino Blackwings!



Disclaimer: This review contains Amazon Affiliate links. They provide me with a bit of revenue to keep the site functioning and help buy new products to review.

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A video posted by Ed Jelley (@edjelley) on Top Posts of 2015 Top Posts of 2015

Another year of blogging is in the books. I always enjoy looking back on the top posts of the year to see what you, the readers, liked the most and ultimately want to see more of in the year ahead. First thing’s first, I want to thank each and every one of you for reading the site, following me on Instagram, Twitter, sharing my articles on Facebook, and commenting on FPN. It means a lot that people appreciate the work that I do, and it makes it all worth it. The site’s views have increased by 35% in 2015, and I hope to continue that trend. While we’re here, big shoutouts to the FPN group on Facebook, Pen Addict, and Reddit r/fountainpens for sending the most views my way in 2015. Also, thank you to my sponsors Jetpens and Pen Chalet for providing me with some awesome stuff to review and give away. Read on to see the Top 10 Posts of 2015, and hit the links to catch up if you missed them!

10. TWSBI Eco Hands On / First Impressions

Noodler's Dark Matter Ink Fountain Pen Ink Review9. A Comparison of Noodlers Black Inks

Sailor Professional Gear Imperial Black Fountain Pen8. Sailor 1911 Pro Gear Imperial Black

HOLIDAY 2015 FOUNTAIN PEN GIFT GUIDE-17. Ultimate Gift Guide for the Fountain Pen Fanatic

Pocket Notebooks Review Field Notes Doane Rhodia6. Pocket Notebooks: What Does Fountain Pen Friendly Mean?

J. Herbin 1670 Emerald of Chivor Review-95. J. Herbin Emerald of Chivor

EFJF25304. 5 Best Inks for Everyday Use

IMG_81383. Top 7 Beginner Pens Under $25

Lamy 2000 Fountain Pen Review Redux 2015-102. Lamy 2000 Fountain Pen Review

Why You Should Write With A Fountain Pen1. 8 Reasons Why You Should Write With a Fountain Pen

There you have it! Expect some more guides, a bunch of reviews, and more in 2016. Thanks everyone!

Field Notes “Shenandoah” – Fall 2015 Colors Edition – Review

Field Notes
Fall 2015 Colors Edition

Specs From Field Notes:

“Our Fall limited-edition seasonal release, “The Shenandoah Edition” features three green French cover stocks that match the leaf color of three trees found at Shenandoah National Park: the Sweet Birch, the Chestnut Oak, and the Red Maple. Our new friends at Platinum Converting in Itasca, Ill. fused each of the green papers to a contrasting French text-weight paper that matches the tree’s fall foliage.

Field Notes Shenandoah Colors Edition Notebook Review-12 copyThese extra-sturdy duplexed covers have a classic, beefy feel to them, reminiscent of early COLORS releases like “Mackinaw Autumn” and “Just Below Zero.” Beefier, actually, since we’ve upgraded our body paper to 60#T Finch Opaque “Bright White,” with a 3/16″ graph. Each features an illustration of a leaf on the back with some facts about the tree. The belly band is real birch veneer, just because it looked so darn good with all that green.”


Field Notes Shenandoah Colors Edition Notebook Review-4 copySo, it turns out that I TOTALLY skipped coverage of the Fall 2015 Field Notes Colors Edition: Shenandoah. Maybe it was the excitement over the announcement of the color-changing Snowblind, or maybe I took the photos and forgot about them (yeah, no it definitely was this). Anyway, this edition is still available for sale from Field Notes, you can snag one here.  Shenandoah is made up of three books, each representing a different type of tree found in the national park. The inside of the book is the color that the tree’s foliage turns in the Fall. It’s a great edition that highlights some of the most breathtaking scenery around. If you’re not so into trees, you will enjoy the extra heavy, double layered covers and slightly thicker internal paper.

Field Notes Shenandoah Colors Edition Notebook Review-3 copyEach of the three books has a leaf on the back with a few facts about the tree, inside you’ll find the standard “information” page and some wacky uses inside the back cover.

The paper inside holds up decently well to a variety of pens, but your best bet here is either a pencil, ballpoint, or gel pen.

Field Notes Shenandoah Colors Edition Notebook Review-11 copyThe Shenandoah edition makes a nice addition to the Colors lineup, and it’s the little details like a real birch belly band and custom-made twin layer covers that set these apart from the rest. I’m sure at this point in time there aren’t quite as many books available as there were when they were announced, so don’t sleep on these.




Happy Star Wars Day!

Happy Star Wars Day!

Light side Darkside

My excitement has been building for months, and I FINALLY got to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens last night. Don’t worry about spoilers here, I’m just going to say that I really enjoyed the movie and that it was the most fun I’ve had watching a film in a really long time.

I decided to go through my pen collection and do a little dark side of the force / light side of the force photo set! The Lamy 2000 Stainless Steel definitely looks like a lightsaber when lit up with blue light, and the Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black is undoubtedly what a Sith Lord would carry.

I used an app called Softbox on my iPad mini to get the lighting effects, and made a composite image so that everything I wanted lit was nice and bright.


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