Today's review is of the Rhodia pencils. First time I saw them, I knew I had to give them a whirl. After fountain pens, pencils are my next favorite writing instruments. I have always been partial to those yellow hexagon shaped ones with the green ferrule and pink eraser. Many other quality brands and not such good quality ones have passed through my fingers over a life time of use.
My most favorite pencil was always the renowned Blackwing 602 made by Eberhard Faber which was acquired by Faber-Castell in 1994. The pencil has been designated by some as "the best pencil ever made." The special machine that produced the rectangular ferrule for the eraser was broken and unable to be repaired and production of the pencil ended in 1998. The desire for the pencil has not ended as people will pay upwards of $35 each on eBay to acquire one. For these reasons, I have chosen to compare the Rhodia pencil to the Blackwing 602.
I was fortunate to find an old pencil box I had stored in my parents attic which contained two unsharpened Blackwings and one half used. You can see my stub in the second image.
The Rhodia pencil also has it's unique features. It is an ergonomic triangular shape with a black ferrule and a black eraser. The body of the pencil is a rich black wood with a primer coat of white then painted in the same orange color of the traditional Rhodia products. The pencil makes for a striking image when combination with a Rhodia Pad or Webnotebook. There is no question about what product a person is using when you see those colors. You know the owner has a passion for quality.
I have to admit to being enthralled with the iconic orange color that sets Rhodia products apart from other brands. I couldn't wait to get my hands on one. The triangle shape lets the pencil rest comfortably on the middle finger where a regular hexagon pencils would leave a sharp angle groove in the finger that after long hours over math problems the hand and the finger is fatigued from the use. The rectangle shape helps to eliminate this problem making it possible to keep working longer. The lead, which also makes a difference in the performance of a pencil is soft enough to create a rich line without increased pressure on the point, thus again, less fatigue. I typically use 2B mechanical pencils for much of the artwork and writing I do when using pencil as my medium and have found that the Rhodia is a good alternative. I keep one on the fridge next to my grocery list, one on my desk and one in my bag for on the go writing.
The Rhodia is an HB grade lead with the ergonomic shape and iconic orange color is available on a multitude of websites such as: SwisherPens [http://store.nexternal.com/shared/StoreFront/default.asp?CS=swisher&StoreType=BtoC&Count1=503521144&Count2=420661568] ($1.60), Vickery.com [ http://www.vickerey.com/prh100.html ] (doz $47.50 in desk box), PencilThings.com ($1.60), The Writer's Bloc (http://yhst-40997485717836.stores.yahoo.net/index.html) (3 @ $4.50)