The Pencil Ruler: a Kickstarter project founded by an 11 year-old

I love Kickstarter. So many amazing ideas and innovations have come to fruition because of the social funding tool, from an iPod Nano watch to a de-centralized social media tool. I’ve talked about a pen-related venture on here before, but I am lucky enough to be featuring a pencil project today!

I got an email earlier today from Nate at Brand New Box, a web development firm in San Diego. They are helping to create the Rule Pencil, dreamed up by an 11-year old kid.

Nate said,

Last week my business partner, Matt, helped an 11-year-old friend of ours launch a Kickstarter project for a Ruler Pencil.  The response has been amazing, to say the least.

5 days in and the project is 500%+ funded. Folks like the idea, and they love Nathan.  As you can imagine, our little buddy is flipping out.

Their Kickstarter project is innovative, and it’s a relatively simple idea — put a ruler on a pencil. I know, I know, it’s been done before, but perhaps not with this level of simplicity, and with such… well, heart. I know that I could have used a ruler pencil many times when I was eleven. Nathan, this kid, had the gumption to make it happen.

The Kickstarter video:

As of today, the project was very close to getting a $2,000 total in pledges. It only needed $350 to cover a minimum order.

The original point of the email to me was to brainstorm some ideas for a quality pencil. These guys are art-minded, and appreciate a good pencil. I suggested talking with CalCedar about their private label pencil program, but don’t know enough of the details to tell if that’ll work for their needs or not.

I suggested a triangular pencil which would accomodate three different units of measurement: imperial (inches), metric (centimeters), and point (picas). After all, I imagine this will appeal to a lots of graphic designers who sketch their designs longhand, and might be replacing (or complementing) their trusty pica rulers.

Anyone have any further ideas? Leave them in the comments below.

And to all you pencilnalia enthusiasts out there: Hop on by the Kickstarter page and pledge! Help make sure this eleven year old entrepreneur grows up loving wooden pencils — someday he might owe his fortune to his love for them. There are some great perks to the different pledge levels, according to the project page:

  • For $5, he’ll mail you a package of 5 Ruler Pencils.
  • For $20, he’ll mail you a special package of 10 Ruler Pencils, and list your name on the ‘Special Founders’ list mailed out with each package of Ruler Pencils .
  • For $50, he’ll mail you a special package of 20 pencils, put you on the founders list, plus send you a custom drawing (he’s pretty good).

I’ll be pledging as soon as I can — I want my name on that Founders list.

Ruler Pencils: a brilliant idea, invented by a kid. | Kickstarter Project Page

UPDATE: This kid’s got spunk. Check out his update video to his backers!


Blackwing sighting: The Glenn Miller Story

Usually this is something that Sean would post over at The Blackwing Pages, but this time I thought I’d scoop him, respectfully. My friend Stephanie at Rhodia Drive, a blog about one of my favorite paper products, sent me this screen capture from the 1954 movie The Glenn Miller Story.

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen it, but Jimmy Stewart is perhaps my favorite mid-century actor, and I was that wierd kid who used to listen to swing music as a teenager, so I’m quite familiar with this movie.

I don’t quite remember him using a Blackwing to compose, but I wasn’t hyper-sensitive to on-screen pencil choices at the time. I’ll have to re-watch it and find it again.

Sean is much more knowledgeable about the classic Blackwing than I am — perhaps he can perform some forensics and figure out which version of the Blackwing that is.

Thanks, Stephanie!

UPDATE: Sean at Blackwing Pages found another screencap with Jimmy Stewart’s face and the unique Blackwing ferrule. I want to make that my Facebook picture.

Ask Woodclinched: The perfect, minimized desk

A letter came in from one of my many, many adoring fans:

Dear Woodclinched,

My lease is up at the end of the year, and I’m looking to create the perfect office. I can handle the desk, the artwork, and the liquor cart but I’m a little stuck when it comes to my writing utensils and accessories.

Here’s the problem: I have a hard time focusing on getting stuff done. If I know there’s a pencil or notepad I want to use and it’s not right in front of me, I can’t get anything done.

So… If I’m going to outfit my office with one type of pencil, one pen and one notepad/notebook… what do you recommend?


Alex Jonathan

A nice, clean desk, via iDesk, a great Tumblr about Apple-accessorized desks and offices. Yes, I know that I am an Apple fanboy.

Excellent question, Alex! I completely understand your quest. I’ve been trying for years to minimize my desk. I am, by nature, a cluttered person. As much as I strive for a “less is more” mantra, I have realized that more often than not, I’m going to trend to “more is more”.

That being said, I have learned to pair things down to a few essentials. And when it comes to my writing paraphernalia, I’ve thought a lot about it. More than most sane people should. Read on for an exhaustive list. Continue reading

Open Thread Tuesdays: Hex or Round? The Throwdown

On other blogs that I’ve been part of, we’ve occasionally set aside a post every once in a while for discussion. I would love to get a dialog going between all of the online pencil bloggers, users, and collectors, because I think we can all benefit from sharing advice, tips, specific interests, etc.

So here goes: I’ll post a topic to get us started, and feel free to keep us on my topic, or start your own. No real guidelines, just keep it clean (as I know you will).

TOPIC: What shape of a pencil do you prefer? Round pencils or hexagonal? Why? Is it for comfort? Grip? Looks?

Roll-your-own pencils

I love gadget blogs. This time I found ANOTHER concept product, and while it looks like it isn’t as far along as the one I posted last week, it’s cooler and more useful. Behold, the P&P Office Waste Paper Processor:

According to their post on Yanko Design, this would convert old waste paper into pencils — just add graphite, glue and power:

P&P Office Waste Paper Processor is one of those things that you wish you knew how it works, but dang! no reasonable explanation provided at all! Maybe it’s a deliberate attempt on the designer teams’ part, because their idea is a surefire hit! What this lovely machine does is that it converts all those useless memos on your table to something useful: A Pencil! Paper goes in from one end and come out shaped like a sexy writing tool! Sexy enough an idea to bag a Liteon Award as well!

I would be concerned about the type of paper going into the machine — we know that newspaper can convert to a pencil fairly well, but office paper? Obviously, it’s still a concept, but I would love to see more detail on how they would turn a stiff, crinkly piece of standard #24 paper into a pencil barrel, without making it seem like you were writing, well, with a rolled-up piece of paper.

More pictures from Yanko Design below.

The Everlasting Gobstopper of pencils

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I saw a post a few days ago on the Wired Gadget Lab, a friend of gadgetry high-tech and low-tech alike, about “the continuous pencil“, which is a really cool concept. It is still a concept, mind you, but the design is pretty genius. You have a series of wooden pencils that are slotted. When one wears down until it’s too small to hold, just pop a new one on the back and continue. Continue reading