Pencils were never fun to me. The bright colors and the crazy erasers were only temporary salves to my general dislike. Being part of the Field Nuts group on Facebook, I would often see guys and gals post vintage bullet pencils with their Field Notes. I found that an interesting piece of history but had no desire to seek one out. I began to see posts on Instagram of a modern bullet pencil made from machined and anodized aluminum that was Kickstarted by MetalshopCT and Huckleberry Woodchuck (which, by the way, is the coolest name for an American small business).
When I determined to take up pencils as a Lenten sacrifice, I was worried about my Every Day Carry (EDC). I didn't want to carry this clip-less 2 foot long piece of wood in my breast pocket (that's what it felt like). So I decided this bullet pencil thing was a good idea. I didn't care enough about pencils to purchase a vintage bullet pencil. I'd kindly left those to the peeps that enjoy and collect them. So I turned to the modern made one. It attracted me for multiple reasons. It has a sturdy aluminum body. They graciously (or having good business sense) provide a cut down version of a pencil already input in the casing, which does well for me, who owns no circular saw or fix-blade saw to cut down a pencil I already own. This was the first time I was genuinely excited a pencil product.
What gets me excited is the actual design of a bullet pencil. I didn't really comprehend them in those Facebook photos, but once I got it in my hands I realized how cool the engineering was. As a child, I constantly broke points off my pencils. When I was a regular golfer, I would break the points off the provided golf pencils. To engineer something by which you can carry a woodcased pencil and not endanger the point is brilliant.
Here's how it works. 1) You get a pencil nub about the general size of a golf pencil. 2) You fit it into the tip (sharpening the blunt end just slightly helps) by screwing it in. 3) The tip screws into the metal casing (which looks like a bullet casing). Your pencil point is now protected in your pocket, in a backpack, in a pencil case, on the farm, on the job, on a rollercoaster, possibly in the washing machine (a test I haven't performed at present).
MetalshopCT offers five different barrel colors: green, red, aluminum, black, and blue. They also offer two different tip types: rounded and pointed. You can also choose to get the tip in aluminum or brass. There are prototypes I've seen on IG of a brass body as well. I choose the green anodized aluminum body with the aluminum pointed tip because I have really been enjoying the CW show Arrow and that visually reminded me of the superhero. It is topped by a larger version of a traditional flesh colored eraser. They also offer an add-on of a clip, which I jumped on. I knew I'd be keeping the pencil in my breast pocket.
The clip works very well. It fits on a pocket (breast and pants) very well. It is also easy to pull off the pocket. It's simplicity of design adds to the sleek aesthetic of the product.
I also like the size of the eraser. It assures me I won't use it up for a while. The rubber has great density. It doesn't shed like a molting bird, but it's soft enough to not immediately knock someone out. It erases pretty well. It's not any better or worse than the eraser that comes with a Palomino Blackwing 602.
The tip remains firmly screwed into the body. I don't want to have to dig into my pocket for the pencil body that's supposed to protected. I don't have to worry about that.
Coming from primarily using fountain pens to using woodcased pencils, I found a great disparity in weight. The Twist Bullet Pencil relieves that disparity by giving the pencil therein greater weight and, for me, comfortability. The extra bulk of the casing fits well in the thenar space (the webbing in between the index finger and thumb) of my hand. It gives my hand a little bit more bulk to hold. This improves as the pencil gets smaller and the casing gains a lower center of gravity. The writing experience depends on the pencil you choose to put in it.
What I will pay for fun? This bullet pencil comes in at $37.50, which includes two pencils and two erasers in addition to the pencil and eraser already in the casing. This is certainly more expensive than a box of Blackwing 602's, but compared to other anodized aluminum products it has a pretty good price tag sitting above Retro 51's metalsmith series and below Karas Kustoms products. Add to that the clip which was $13, this product isn't a no-brainer. Its price requires intentional buying.
Is the Writing Reverenced?
The bullet pencil made writing with a pencil enjoyable, for the first time. I looked forward to taking it out of my pocket and using it, even though there was a pencil inside. I probably wouldn't have bought it if I hadn't given up fountain pens for Lent. However, now having it in my possession, I will end up using this pencil more, just so I can use it.
Pencil: Palomino Blackwing 602
Notebook: Doane Paper Flap Jotter Large