I get email: A good quality, Blackwing-like eraser topper?

I’m thankful for my readers. (In fact, I’m thankful I still have readers, considering I only posted four times in 2012.) I really hope I can ramp up my posting a bit more this year.1

Anyhow, this came in last week from someone who stumbled across my site after looking for information about Blackwings.

Do you know of any Blackwing-like eraser tops that you can buy as separate items and attach to a regular pencil? I’ve googled but haven’t found anything for sale. Continue reading

Idea: A capacitive touch eraser

Stealing from one of my favorite blogs, Ironic Sans, I want to post an idea here. Like many of the pencil-toting hybrids of lo-fi and hi-fi people out there, I often find myself with my iPhone, scanning emails, and making lists on a pad of paper with my pencil. Sometimes I’m also doing this one-handed, while the other one is holding a mug of coffee or a computer mouse.

Wouldn’t it be great if I could use the eraser on my pencil to flip around on my iPhone? Continue reading

Cool Yikes! accessories on eBay

Photo from eBay auction page

Man. Man oh man. There is a beautiful Yikes! branded pencil sharpener on eBay right now. Though there are only 3 days left, there are no bids! The last thing I should be doing is bidding on it, as I don’t need a $10-quality pencil sharpener for $20 (or way more). But it would look great next to my collection of Yikes! pencils, wouldn’t it?

Photo from auction page

As I mentioned in my post about Yikes! pencils, the sharpeners seem to be pretty darn rare to find. The seller also has an auction for a couple wacky Yikes! branded erasers, still in their blister packaging. I actually don’t remember these from my youth, so I am loving the language from the back of the package that the seller posted:

Spend more time erasing than writing?  Here’s just what you need—a true triple-whammy of primo mistake-munchers in color combinations from your worst nightmares.

Tow away your worst word wrecks with WRECK-TANGULAR erasers.  Go ape for the shape of TRIANGULAR erasers.  Get your hand on something that’s totally TWISTED.

Now all three are together in YIKES! Mondo-Combo Eraserama.  But use with caution—with color clashes this loud, you could put an ear out.

I wonder how long these items have been sitting in the back of someone’s supply closet?

UPDATE: Ooh! It looks like there is another, alternately colored sharpener, too! This one looks like it must’ve been the option for girls, as there is more pink and purple involved.

The great eraser race

NOTE: This was originally posted on my now-defunct PencilThings blog on October 25, 2007. A reader sent me a little generic vinyl eraser he found, and was impressed with its performance. Although I don’t have the original pictures from the post, I recreated them, only without the purple Dixon mentioned below, which I threw away a couple of years ago.

I love our readers. The commenters we get from the pencil community are friendly, opinionated, and intelligent. And I’m not saying that just to butter them up — since I’ve joined the Pencil Things blog, I’ve met other people who genuinely care about office supplies. I thought I was a freak. It’s nice to know there are others like me out there.



The generic-brand eraser from Dollar Tree that Barrel of a Pencil sent me.


One regular commenter and fellow scribomechanica freak, Barrel of a Pencil, dropped me an email the other day. He said he ran across a vinyl eraser at a Dollar Tree in Lakewood, NY. It was sold in a blister pack of 8 for $1. Although it is comically generic, it erasers like a champ. (That’s right, I used “eraser” as a verb. Anyone gonna challenge me on that?)

He wrote me this:

I post comments under the nom de pencil Barrel Of A Pencil.  If possible I would like to send you one of the little generic  white vinyl erasers I wrote about in my comment posted to Pencil Thing’s ruminations on the timeless question Why The Pencil. (Check out the post here. -AW) Ideally, I  would like to see you review this little gem either  on its own  merits or in competition with the usual name brand  suspects  (Staedtler, Pentel, Faber-Castell, etc.). I think its a  whiz-bang  of an eraser and a steal at 12 1/2 cents (8 for a  dollar).

Just so everyone knows, I usually prefer my eraser to be on the end of the pencil. It’s easier to use, and I think the extra weight the eraser and the ferrule adds to the pencil helps me balance it. However, sometimes I just have to use my ferrule-less Palomino. That’s when I want to keep an eraser by my side.

When I received Barrel’s donation to The Cause in the mail, I did a little gleeful dance. Once I settled down, I opened it, and there was this somewhat comically generic little eraser wrapped in plastic cellophane. It said on it, “Erasers Extra Soft & Clean” and then, just in case we had no idea what to do with it, “Home • Office • School.”

Whew! Now I have some direction…

I opened the cellophane, and was pleased by how soft it really was. It was sort of squishy, a little like those stress balls everyone has but never seems to use.


Staedtler Mars plastic eraser. The cream of the consumer-grade crop.


For the review, I pitted it against a Staedtler Mars plastic eraser (95 cents, Product Page), and just to shake things up a bit, an old purple Dixon rubber eraser I found at the bottom of my desk drawer (3 for $1.00 almost anywhere) just for contrast.

Please keep in mind that this is not a test of different eraser types — vinyl vs. rubber vs. moldable, etc. That’s for another review. For the purposes of this post, I tried to keep my subject narrowed to these particular erasers.

Both the Brand X and  the Staedtler Mars came in a cardboard sleeve, which doesn’t really serve any purpose I can gather except to keep the rest of the unit from getting dirty. It’s kind of like the little sleeve they put on ice cream cones. Eventually, you have to take it off when you start to use it up. In the meantime, they do make the erasers look nicer, don’t they?

My test was conducted as follows (see picture below): I wrote on a piece of notebook paper in heavy HB graphite marking, “Erase me!”. Then I erased it with each eraser, drawing the unit over the words exactly five times. I tried to take care to use the same amount of pressure for each. Take a look (and please excuse my crappy lettering and my equally crappy camera):

For 13 cents, I have to tell you and Barrel of a Pencil that the Brand X eraser worked like a charm. He definitely got his money worth. I usually gravitate toward plastic erasers because, unlike rubber erasers which get debris all over the page, plastic/vinyl erasers (which are both the same, aren’t they?) just leave one little scrap, or roll, which can be picked off and thrown away. It was a smooth glide across the paper, and perhaps my only objection is that it is too soft. It did leave a bit of a mark left over, but after another couple swipes across the words (done after I took the picture), they were completely gone.

If price is no object, though the Staedtler 95-cent eraser was the best. Check out the fact that there is almost no mark left over. It was just as smooth as the Brand X, and it was firmer. I wasn’t afraid the eraser would crumble off onto the paper.

The Dixon, as I expected, wasn’t great. I can still almost read “This is a test” left over on the page. To be fair, much of this is due to the fact that the eraser is probably a couple years old, and dirty. I only put it in the test to make a comparison to most of the erasers out there.

To be fair to the Brand X pencil, the Mars is a good one-and-a-half times longer. Even if I were able to buy it smaller,  the eraser-to-price ratio would make it about 63 cents, nearly five times the price of the Brand X.

In a nutshell: If money is no problem, and/or there are no Dollar Trees in your area, get a Staedtler or another quality name-brand. However, pound for pound, Barrel of a Pencil’s little find is worth it. You’re sacrificing a bit of quality, but it erasers very cleanly, and you get all the benefits of a vinyl eraser — no debris!

A note to our readers: Anyone recognize that Brand X eraser? Do you have any manufacturer contact info?

Thanks, Barrel of a Pencil! Anyone have any finds they want to pit against the name brands? Let me know!