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Pencil Review: Palomino HB

It was a matter of time before I tried the Palomino HB pencil, since I like the new Blackwing models made by the same company, and I prefer bright colors. I ordered them in orange:


  • Pretty much exactly the same lead as their Blackwing 602 pencil. Sometimes I feel like the 602 is a tad harder, but mostly I cannot tell them apart.
  • The finish is very nice. The paint is luxurious, and the lettering has a decent indentation. But despite that, the gold flakes off eventually. I’m not sure why this is such a challenge with Palomino when it’s not for other brands, but it’s not a big deal to me.
  • The eraser seems to be the same formulation as used on the Blackwing erasers. Better than a standard pink, but more abrasive than a vinyl eraser. The problem here is the ferrule that holds the eraser is not firmly crimped onto the pencil. It was loose immediately, and so far the three pencils I’ve tried have been the same. A letter to the company confirmed that they were aware of it, and if they found product that did not have the problem they would send me some. They offered to refund my money if I returned the pencils. Then the next day I got a notice saying an order had shipped, which I assume is replacement pencils, so they are responsive.

I love the color, and I love writing with the pencil. If the ferrule problem is solved, it’s a winner for me.

If you’re looking for a cheap alternative to Palomino’s Blackwing 602 I think this is it.

8 comments… add one
  • John June 16, 2012, 8:25 am

    Great review! (and nice sharpening job – dig the exposed graphite!)

    • Steve June 21, 2012, 11:25 am

      Many thanks John, I appreciate your kind words!

  • Allen June 18, 2012, 2:17 pm

    I just buy these without the eraser — I think they look a lot cooler and there are no ferrule problems. Chances are, if you use a lot of pencils you’ve got a favorite eraser on your desk anyway…

    • Steve June 21, 2012, 11:28 am

      Hi Allen – thanks for the comment!

      I find that for me a lot of what makes using a pencil attractive is the handy eraser. I’ve accumulated a few eraser sticks and erasers, but I tend to use the one on the pencil more often.

      The ferrule hasn’t come off, just gotten loose. They sent me a whole new box – but the new pencils have the same problem.

  • Mike Swickey July 2, 2012, 11:02 pm

    Great Stuff, Steve. I can’t read anything about these pencils without being reminded of a story I did back in 2006 about the man who started the Palomino pencil line. The company has a fascinating lineage. For what it’s worth, here’s that story archived on my old ‘Paper Notes in a Digital World’ blog…

    • Steve July 3, 2012, 11:24 am

      Mike – thanks for the link!

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