Almost exactly a year ago, I posted about the revival of Eberhard Faber’s classic Blackwing 602 pencil by California Cedar Products, who had started making the Palomino Blackwing. It was a quality pencil, with the timeless design and unique replaceable eraser, but it had a soft lead that required frequent sharpening. It also had a black barrel and white eraser, instead of the more silver-gray barrel and pink eraser of the original.
All in all, it was a good first try, but it turned out to be better for drawing than writing. Back in June of this year, however, they tried again by adding the Palomino Blackwing 602 to their lineup.
But the handy replaceable eraser feature makes that an unimportant detail; California Cedar’s online store, pencils.com, also offers replacement erasers for $2.95 for a pack of ten that are available in your choice of either original EF pink, white or black. Go with the pink for the complete retro look.
The goal of the new 602 is to produce the same beautiful reproduction of the famous vintage pencil, only with a harder point, better for writing and requiring less frequent sharpenings, and they’ve succeeded with that. Sharpenings are a pain; they interrupt the creative process and shorten the lifespan of the pencil. If you had bought an original Blackwing off eBay for the thirty or so bucks they went for before the new ones came out, it would have killed you each time as your expensive pencil got shorter and shorter whenever you had to sharpen it. But the occasional sharpenings of the new 602 give you a brand-new point, release the fragrant cedar aroma and maybe remind you of how simple life was back in the third grade. Maybe you could also give a box as a gift to a real third-grader.