Checking in

The brand-new Palomino Blackwing gift set. I got a good look at it during my visit. See end of post for a link.

Whew! It’s been a busy couple of weeks for this humble blogger. My blog silence is not an indication of having nothing to talk about, but merely me not having much time for anything! I went to California for a few days last week, to visit a friend and also to visit someone I’ve wanted to meet for a long time, WoodChuck.

I was fortunate to be in Stockton and hang out a little bit with Charles Berolzheimer, President and CEO of California Cedar Products. We all know the organization as the maker of California Republic-brand pencils, like the Golden Bear, the Palomino, and the oft-talked about Palomino Blackwing. They also own and operate Pencils.com, which sells products as well as maintains a large resource for pencil enthusiasts.

He showed me their offices, warehouse, some products we don’t see every day, and even took me to the Duraflame offices (his brother is the president and CEO), which are on a decommissioned ferry boat!

I even got a look at his amazing pencil collection. When your business is to supply cedar slats to many pencils companies globally, they send you lots of awesome samples. And since his family has been doing this for at least three generations, he has some incredible old pencils.

Of course, bad blogger that I am, I have no pictures to share with you. I told him that I want to spend two hours in his office with a DSLR camera, and I’d be set with blog posts for a year. Maybe that’ll happen next time I’m in Stockton.

I also went to San Francisco, rode some cable cars, ate some great food, and bought a few pencils and notebooks I can’t find in the midwest. Look for that soon!

I wanted to link to the Palomino Blackwing gift set, but apparently WordPress doesn’t let me place a link in a photo caption. Here is that link.

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6 thoughts on “Checking in

  1. I saw that gift set on another site but Wow…$100 plus s&h? I really would like one but I think my wife would kill me for paying that much for 24 pencils, a sharpener, and a wood case.

    I purchased a dozen blackwings when they were first released:
    http://scottcheatham.wordpress.com/2010/10/25/unboxing-the-new-blackwing-pencil/
    I like them but is the sharpener and box worth $54? (Basically the difference over what you pay for two dozen pencils at present)
    It sure looks nice but I’m not sure….I think $60 might be a bit better price for faithful customers…

  2. Well, hell, I’m jealous. 🙂
    I’ve wanted to meet CB since 2005, but I haven’t been on the West coast since, I won’t say when. : ) One of these days (I owe some West coast folks a visit, too.)

  3. Andy. Thanks for the mention. We at CalCedar all enjoyed meeting you here last week and like hosting visitors so John if you ever make it out this way let me know.

    Scott. Thanks for your feedback. I understand your concern about the price of this gift set. It’s really all in the box cost and the strengthened Euro vs. the US$ hasn’t helped since the time I ordered the boxes and received them. QE and all that! If you look at the normal price of 2 dozen PBs, plus our sharpener we’re essentially selling the box itself very near our cost. If we placed our regular margin on this the product the price would be at least $30 higher per set. I wanted a real high quality, hand crafted box and have loved the combination of leather and wood craftsmanship from this supplier for several years and frankly have continually backed off from doing anything with them until now due to their high prices. My $100 price was set to try to make it a bit more affordable to support fans of the PB and only works exclusively through Pencils.com. In the end I chose a quantity I felt comfortable we could sell through as a Limited Edition set as a trial since I really wanted something special for the holidays this first year we introduced the Palomino Blackwing.

    In the past we have offered a more affordable wood box sourced from Asia that was sold with 6 Palomino HB pencils that would hold 12 altogether. It was a nice seller at the holidays. These are currently sold out. As we look at 2011 we are reviewing what we might do relative to offering some various options, but nothing new this holiday.

  4. Wow, what a trip, we are all envious. I like the new box; I guess I was expecting the box to look similar to the Palomino 24 colored pencil boxed set, with either black or natural grain colored wood. If it were black colored it would make the golden colored logo stand out, and maybe even incorporate the golden stripe around one end of the box. The box could either be made from incense cedar or Spanish cedar to give off the strong cedar smell may of us love.

  5. Thanks for the feedback on the comment. I would love to have a set and have been very pleased with the performance of the PB’s I purchased. I saw the video of the CalCedar folks giving one of the boxes as a gift to one of it’s Japanese suppliers. It’s a beautiful box and I would love to have one…I may just have to wait until a second edition rolls out….

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