Thursday, February 23, 2017

Seriously: HT Write with a Wood-Cased Pencil

Zestful Blog Post #199

This will just take a minute, but you've stayed with me this far, you will thank me. I’ve been doing a lot of writing lately with wood-cased pencils, premium ones that write nice and smooth. They tend to be expensive, so I’ve been conscious of making best use of them. ‘Best use’ of a pencil means wasting as little as possible, which means minimizing the number of times it goes into the sharpener.

Also, as a handwriter of first drafts, I’m always looking for ways to minimize hand/arm fatigue.

When you use a writing instrument such as a ballpoint pen, it makes sense to apply the point more or less vertically to the paper, to let more of the ball contact the page. But if you apply a pencil that way,

you dull the point fairly quickly, and the cramped position of your hand promotes discomfort. But if you hold the pencil like this,

on a much shallower angle, and—this is key—if you rotate it every so often, slightly, in your fingers, you’ll retain the point longer and need to sharpen it less often. And see how the hand is in a more lengthened, relaxed position? I don't know why it took me so long to learn this.

Here is a closeup, the one on the left showing the planes or facets of a point used on a proper slant with occasional rotation, versus a point dulled by clueless vertical positioning.

[Photos by ES]

I rest my (wood) case.

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  1. Wow - I had no idea! Learn something new every day!

  2. Hold on there one minute, Ms. Blogger. The two pencils in the photo are painted different colors, so clearly the color of the paint influenced the shaping of the lead. Next, upon careful inspection, the color of the wood differs in the two pencils so they may be different species of tree--another uncontrolled variable. I am also curious as to why you only have one trial in your report--you clearly have not established a pattern of behavior among the pencil leads. Tsk, Tsk! Need I continue? I really do expect better experimental design from my favorite Thursday blog! :)

  3. BJ, thanks as always for looking in. And Liz, I hang my head in shame. Even though the colors of the paint and wood should be irrelevant, it's the APPEARANCE of impropriety that matters, so yeah. And LOL.

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