In the past, I have done lengthy posts where I list pencils (example, Best Pencils for Notetaking), and given a short review for them. While I like this format, I think it would be more helpful for people who are actually wanting to check out these pencils to have a more lengthy review of each individual pencil, and then make lists with links to the individual pencil reviews and where to buy them. As I did with the Best Pencils for Back to School, I am going to have a “performance review” of each pencil, showing their darkness compared to a base-line pencil, the General’s Semi-Hex No.2, their smudginess, and their erasability. I will be doing all of these on paper from a Baron Fig notebook, which is paper that is, designed in part, for use with pencil.
For the first review, I wanted to do the pencil that is more recent to my collection, and that I am using as one of my primary note-taking pencils in class, the Baron Fig Archer.
Baron Fig is company that I was turned on to about 6 or 7 months ago, and they have become my favorite company for analog tools, up there Palomino. Their mission, they say, is “To champion thinkers around the world through inspiration and imagination”. They do this by creating “tools for thinkers”, notebooks, pencils, pens, and even bags.
One characteristic of Baron Fig products is that you will get a visually clean and stunning product, and the Archer is no different. The pencils come by the dozen in a tube that is roughly an inch in diameter.
This was an aspect of these pencils that I loved. Unlike other pencils that come in a flat box, Baron Fig decided to change the game a little bit and put them in a tube. My wife helpfully pointed out that the pencil is called the Archer because they are your arrows, and the tube is like the quiver. How cool is that?! Your pencils are your arrows when you go into “the battle of your work” as Steven Pressfield would say.
The pencils themselves are a work of art as well. The pencils are what they call a “charcoal” color. It is a simple sleek design, with the archer logo on one side of the pencil, and the Baron Fig logo on the other side, with no eraser on the end of them (sorry American pencil users).
These pencils are incredibly lightweight, significantly lighter than the General Semi-Hex No. 2.
The Archer is just as dark as the Semi-Hex, which can come to be expected from a No.2/HB pencil. It does smudge slightly when it is bring written with, but not so much that it becomes a problem. It also erases pretty well! I’m not sure how much of this is because it is on Baron Fig paper, which is meant to be paired with this pencil, but it does erase surprisingly well.
One thing about these pencils that won’t come out in the picture is the slight scratchiness that you feel when you write with them. I’m the type of person who doesn’t like a lot of scratchiness in a pencil I am using, especially when I am using a pencil for an extended period of time. However, with the Archer, I like the little bit of scratchiness I get when writing with it. It adds a more tangible experience with the pencil that you don’t get when you have a super smooth pencil like a Blackwing Pearl.
One disappointing thing that I found about these, is that there were 3 pencils in the dozen that had graphite cores that were off-center. I plan to write more about these sort of quality issues in pencils at large in the future, but in short, an off center core can cause the point to be all cattywampus (technical term) when you are sharpening the pencil. However, all in all, these are great pencils, and you should go and buy a dozen for yourself! You can get them, and other Baron Fig products at their website, http://www.baronfig.com