Sharpen Your Pencil Selection

5 Great Pencils, Picked by a Fanatic

March 16, 2016 Buying Guides By Photo by Chase Pellerin

CW Pencil Enterprise is a singular shop with a singular goal: aggregate the world’s finest and hardest-to-find pencils into one location. Caroline Weaver, the 25-year-old mastermind behind the Lower East Side storefront, presides over a selection of nearly 250 different utensils and prides herself on knowing the attributes, history and unique purposes of as many as she can.

We asked Weaver to select five pencils of particular note (a harrowing task for a pencil fanatic…we gave her a few days) and to explain what makes them worthy of any pencil consumer, whether an aficionado or part-time scribbler. These are her picks.

For more information on CW Pencil Enterprise, check out our profile on the shop.

Apsara Absolute Pencil


“It has a really unique core. It’s a little bit thicker and it’s really, really strong. I don’t know how they do it, but you could drop it on the floor a million times and it’s not going to break. It has amazing point retention too. You don’t want to be sharpening your pencil every two minutes.”

Tombow Mono KM-KKS


“This is one from Japan that’s really hard to find. They look very strange, but I like the design. It’s a type of pencil that is distinctly Japanese, made for repetitive writing and improving penmanship. For that type of pencil the core is always thicker and softer — it’s a 4B, which is four grades softer than an HB or a #2. It’s surprisingly pleasant to write with and, because it’s Japanese, the graphite is milled so finely that it doesn’t really smudge like you’d expect a soft pencil to.”

Caran D’ache Genius Pencil


“It has a stylus on the end. It’s a normal HB pencil, but Caran D’ache HB pencils are really high quality. They’re probably one of my favorite brands for an everyday pencil. They’re all handmade in Geneva. It comes in white but I really like the matte black.”

General’s Cedar Pointe #1


“This is one of my all-time favorites. It’s made in Jersey City and it’s unfinished, so if you stick it in a bag or a pencil case and open it up later, if it’s been in there long enough, your whole bag will smell like cedar. It’s very fragrant. It’s very simple, and it’s slightly soft, but I think it has the perfect hardness for writing.”

Palomino HB


“This was Palomino’s premium pencil before they made the Blackwing, and they’re just really glossy and beautiful. I actually prefer this one to the Blackwing. I think it has better point retention, but it’s just as dark and equally smooth. It’s rare to find a pencil as simply designed as this. Usually they have a bunch of text and barcodes on them.”

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