Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Palomino Blackwing 602 Review - Part 1 of 2

This part of the review will focus on the user experience of using the new Palomino Blackwing 602. The second half (I plan to post that tomorrow) will focus on the technical and performance aspects with line samples etc.

Social Pencil
I have been using this new Blackwing for a full 24 hours now. Several meetings taking notes, some journal writing last night and even had it out for a study early this morning. I have actually had people who never seem to notice anything notice my pencil was different. The funny thing is I always have pencils that look different than your standard yellow no2.

I am really impressed with how it writes. It is very smooth but a little scratchier than the original Palomino BW. I am impressed with how dark it writes. the lead seems to last like a xx but the darkness is like a 2B or 4B. Of course that experience proves to be very similar to what other pencil bloggers are saying.

I mentioned yesterday that I was immediately impressed with the paint on the pencil. It goes from being steel colored to grayish to blue then even sometimes having a purple tint to it. It is a really beautiful paint. Placing it beside my Eberhard Faber Blackwing 602 (circa 1960's) the paint has a similar tone but the luster of the new pencil is brilliant and more metallic. My EF 602 has an almost green lettering on it and the lettering on this one is gold. I have noticed that the lettering is very weak, it takes almost no effort whatsoever to scratch the lettering off. Minor disappointment there but that is probably the OCD perfectionist in me.

So there has been a lot of discussion going back and forth about wether this pencil should have the pink or the black eraser. I have mostly stood on the side of it being a pink eraser and I immediately swapped out the black eraser for one of the pink replacements I purchased. Afterwards, I felt a tinge of guilt over wasting the brand new black one by sitting it in the pouch with the other replacements. In tomorrow's Post I will definitely stage a comparison of the eraser performance. The pink replacement eraser was very powdery feeling and dry. I am guessing there is some sort of baby powder in there with them. The pink eraser erases nicely and I am guessing that many connoisseurs of the EF 602 may find that they can replace the dried out erasers on their pencils with new ones from CalCedar. That would feel like using a brand new EF 602. I know it is not nice to mess with vintage but maybe you had a similar thought. Would that be like refinishing an antique dresser that you should have left as is?

The platinum grade incense cedar in this is very nice. it has a light aromatic quality that is not overpowering and frankly a little weaker that I prefer. I believe that the cedar of the pencil is like the flavor of a cigar. This one is good but very mild. There is no explosion of aroma when sharpened and that could simply be this pencil. Alas I have 11 more!

This pencil is quite an achievement. In all likelihood it will become a go to pencil for me. It is the sort of pencil that despite any flaws it could be used to evangelize pencil converts.


  1. Thanks for the review! I'm glad you like it.

    I am not sure, but I think this paint formulation is based on the circa-1980s Blackwings. I have a couple 1960s and a 1970s BW, which like yours, is much less metallic than the PB 602, but my 1980s-era BW is really, really close.

    Also, like you, I'm conflicted, because while I love the retro-aesthetic of the pink erasers, I think the black erasers are superior in performance.

    I look forward to the rest of your reviews!


    P.S. BTW, for any other readers, in the interest of full disclosure, I work for, as their online community manager. So take anything I say with a grain of graphite, er, salt.

  2. Definitely love this pencil. Got some new Kor-I-Noor erasers to review soon. They have three separate compounds in them.

  3. Thanks for a great review. Does anyone know where I can find more reviews for this pencil?