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Kita-boshi 9500 Super Drawing Pencil

Some may think that adding a bunch of numbers and the word “Super” to the title of a product is a bit ostentatious, but the Kita-boshi 9500 Super Drawing Pencil earns every title it has been given.  Kita-boshi Pencil Company is located in Katsushika, Japan and started out as a lumber company.  When one of its customers, Tsukiboshi Pencil Company filed bankruptcy, what is now known as Kita-boshi shouldered the debt and got into the pencil making business.  Even though demand for the wooden pencil is down (not by the looks of it to me), Kita-boshi still prides itself on creating quality products.  This week, I take a look at the 9500 Super Drawing Pencil in graphite grade B.

The 9500 is quite unassuming with its lack of eraser and jet black lacquer, this seemed to be just another drawing pencil to me.  Stamped in gold on one side is “Super Drawing Kita-Boshi 9500” and on the other is “For Retouching and Special Drawing.” Since the graphite grade was a B, I wasn’t looking forward to wrapping up my semester with a smudgy mess, but I sharpened her up anyway and got to writing.  As always, I used The Masterpiece to sharpen and I did not have any difficulty getting the 9500 to a long point.

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When I put pencil to paper, I was pleasantly surprised– the 9500 was smoother than I had expected.  The best way to describe it is if a Tombow MONO and a Golden Bear had a child, this is how it would write.  Not too scratchy, but not smooth enough to declare it “buttery.”  My writing experiences this week were on regular copy paper, graph paper, and a Field Notes Shenandoah. I noticed the most smudging with the graph paper, but I was expecting that.  As far as erasing is concerned, I struggled a bit– I used the Pink Pearl and really did not have tremendous luck with lifting all reminders of what once was on the paper.  I wouldn’t recommend using this pencil for every day writing, but for art or sketching it’s quite amazing.

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Finally, the 9500 did extremely well with point retention.  I used this pencil over the course of two weeks for about 10 out of the 14 days in those weeks.  I am just about ready to put my nub in my bullet pencil, so I’d say for the $1.00 you spend per pencil, you get your money’s worth.  While the Kita-boshi 9500 Super Drawing pencil will not take up residency in my regular pencil roll, I still think it is worth a try.

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Palomino Prospector

After a grueling finals week at school, I am back in action with my reviews!  I decided to go budget this week and choose the Prospector.  I love the bright green color and the hexagonal barrel– no semi-hex here.  Have I hit gold with a nice-looking budget pencil or have I missed the gold rush?  Let’s take a look:

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Aesthetically speaking, the Prospector looks damn great for a pencil that sells for $2.25 a dozen (that’s about 19 cents per pencil).  I enjoy the gold foil stamping as it makes me feel as though it was a nod to the fact that the pencil is called the Prospector.  The pencil itself is made of basswood and its graphite core is HB.  Speaking of the graphite core, this pencil sharpens up beautifully and I had no point breakage while sharpening (I exclusively used the Masterpiece).  The darkness is on par for a number 2 pencil and while it certainly does not write nice and smooth, the Prospector is not too scratchy either.  There were a few times that I notice a bit of scratchiness in the graphite, but that cleared up with a few scribbles to wear down the rough patch.  Point retention is great and I am just about at the Steinbeck stage after using it for two weeks.  I did a lot of transcribing by hand (6 to 7 whole pages) and found myself having to sharpen every two pages or so.

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The eraser on the Prospector is what you would expect for a pencil that sells for under a quarter.  It’s good in a pinch, but definitely bring your own eraser to the party.  I can really see this pencil entering into my rotation as it is cheap and performs well.  Honestly, I think teachers should either be using the Prospector or Ticonderoga in the classroom.  You cannot beat the price and value that comes from this pencil.