Episode 8 of Erasable: Heroes of Pencildom, Book the First

erasable_230We just recorded a great episode of Erasable last night! We’re on our eighth episode (and going strong!), and we discussed a lot of stuff: the new Field Notes, some reviews, et cetera. But I loved the main topic: Pencil Heroes. Johnny picked Earnest Hemingway and Tim picked John Steinbeck, both of whom are prolific pencil users and graphite advocates.

I took mine in a slightly different direction — while in the future I want to pick a hero from literature (either fictional or a creator), this time around I picked the first person — someone who I know personally — and who popped into my head when the topic was first broached: Don Bell.

In 2007, Don was the proprietor of PencilThings.com, the site from whence I bought my first sampler pack of pencils, and wrote a review on my personal blog. After sharing that with Don, he asked me if I’d be interested in reviewing products for him.

Of course I said yes.

After that, he called me and we spoke for an hour about creating a PencilThings blog. It was a grand initiative: we  kept it at a separate domain and ran it as a publication independent of the e-commerce site. I posted, basically, whatever I wanted (with occasional guidance by him), and we built an audience. Many of my pencil friends I established there I still keep in touch with today.

In 2010, Don sold the business to the current proprietors of PencilThings, and they took it in a different direction: Amazon and eBay sales. That’s what prompted me to strike out on my own, with this blog.

Don and I still kept in touch a bit, but I haven’t heard from him the last two or three years. I don’t know if he’s still got a finger in the pencil game, or indeed, if he’s still alive.

Any of you keep in touch with Don? Let him know I said hi.

Anyway, you’re going to want to listen to this episode. Stick around until the the end when we announce the giveaway. It’s pretty great.

Starter Pencil Setups, a #PencilWeek guest post

Yesterday, I wrote a guest post for the Pen, Paper, Ink, Letter (PPIL) blog. Heath, the editor, is a tireless blogger and content creator about all things scribomechanica, and decided he wanted to do a whole week on just pencils!

I can definitely get on board with that. He asked me to contribute, and naturally I jumped at the chance.

This post is about getting started with wooden pencils, for those who may not know much about them:

[U]nlike, say, a coffee starter kit, a pencil primer shouldn’t be based on accessibility but rather, price, assortment and application. A writer who wants to invest a lot of money up front in pencils has totally different needs than, for example, a sketch artist on a budget. If you fit into one of these use cases, or somewhere in between, hopefully you can get some use out of this post.

Here are some tips for those looking to get more serious about pencils (to be more specific: wooden pencils) without investing a lot of time and energy up front.

Hit the link in the headline to read more, or click here:

Starter Pencil Setups #PencilWeek #Erasable | Pen ★ Paper ★ Ink ★ Letter

Erasable Episode 6: The Brotherhood of the Traveling Sharpener

Reviewing materials for a podcast about pencils has never been so yellow!

Reviewing materials for a podcast about pencils has never been so yellow!

Tim, Johnny and I have been having a blast with the Erasable podcast so far. An absolute blast. Perhaps my favorite episode so far is the one that just came out today, Episode 6: The Brotherhood of the Traveling Sharpener.

Whenever we’ve asked Twitter for ideas on what our followers would like us to talk about, almost everyone wants to know about sharpeners. Trouble is, we’re just an hour(-ish) long podcast, and there are so many sharpeners out there!

We decided to just go through some questions people have asked, and then list our favorites and explain them, like the Classroom Friendly Sharpener and the much-debated KUM Long Point Sharpener. Invariably, the conversation came around to David Rees and his artisanal pencil sharpening, and, of course, his book.

Rees talks a lot about one of my sharpener obsessions; the El Casco, which I’ve blogged about before. It’s quite expensive, and Johnny proposed we all three pitch in to buy one and then share custody (like the pants from the movie The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Hence the episode title).

Go take a listen — if you have any interest in pencils sharpeners at all (and why would you be here if you didn’t?), you’ll love it.

New blog by an old pro — The Cramped, by Patrick Rhone

The first thing I usually do when I get to work is to check my email, check my tweets and App.net posts, and see what’s new in the pen/pencil/paper blogosphere. The biggest news to blow up my inbox was the launch of The Cramped, a new blog by Patrick Rhone!


I’ve been a big fan of Patrick since I discovered the Minimal Mac blog, and his sadly-now-defunct podcast, Enough. He’s a writer by trade, and I’ve really enjoyed seeing his postings and interacting with him a bit on App.net, along with some other people like Harry C. Marks of Curious Rat, and other analog-writing-friendly tech-saveurs.

From his blog’s welcome post:

If you are the sort of person who appreciates nice paper, a decent pen, a well-crafted notebook, a solid pencil, writing and receiving handwritten correspondence, beautiful handwriting, or the clicky-clack of a dependable typewriter, you have come to the right place. The Cramped is a site dedicated to the pleasures of writing with analog tools (the name is purposefully ironic).

He also has some guest contributors in the works, and perhaps a podcast, too. Exciting! And boy, do I like that pencil in his logo. Check out his blog when you get a chance.

Oh, and some housekeeping

If you are a regular Woodclinched reader who come to the blog rather than via an RSS reader, you may have noticed a re-theming! I’m definitely not dead set on this design, but I’ve been trying some out lately to see if I can find something new. I’d love any feedback you all might have, good or bad. Feel free to leave a comment or drop me an email or a tweet.

Stay tuned in the next few days for a review of — gasp — a mechanical pencil!


Field Notes introduces a woodcased… notebook?

I hate to be that guy who fawns all over a product, but dang it, Field Notes makes it so easy.

Just when you don’t think they can top themselves, they release woodgrain notebook.

This this is beautiful:

Field Notes Shelterwood

Field Notes Shelterwood

From their website:

The “Shelterwood” edition features covers made from actual American Cherry wood, sliced ever-so-thin and bonded to a substrate of kraft paper for durability. We believe we’re the first notebook company to manufacture such a product at such a scale.



As with all of their quarterly releases, this includes a short video showcasing the production of it. It’s fascinating how they shave the wood off the log so thin:

Presumably the wood is extremely pliable, but as we discussed over at Field Nuts, this is not a back-pants-pocket notebook; it’s a front-shirt-pocket notebook for sure.

I feel like it was made especially for us wooden pencil fanatics. It’s a woodclinched notebook!

Once I get my hands on one, I’ll post some shots of the grain. (Why don’t I have the annual subscription again?)

The notebook is $9.95 for a three pack, available here. And once it’s gone, it’s gone!