Biting the Bullet … Finally.

A long time ago, in what feels like a galaxy far, far away … I promised the world my thoughts on the humble bullet pencil. And then life got in the way. But, alas, no longer. I WILL write this post!

Not long after rediscovering pencils last summer due in part to my trip to Korea and all the wonderful stationery stores there and the fine folks over at the Erasable podcast, my curiosity began to peak about these pocketable little marvels called bullet pencils. So, a quick trip to Ebay and soon enough, I had a couple of these little guys in my possession. Then, a couple of kickstarters started for two modern takes on the classics. I quickly backed both the Twist Bullet Pencil and the Bullet Pencil TT and the rest is history.


These are bullet pencils

Speaking of, although the history of the bullet pencil goes back to battlefields in Africa and England over 100 years ago, my preferred bullet pencil is the agricultural pencil of the 1950’s to 1970’s. Probably because I’m from Iowa, and although I have never been a farm kid, I drive by many of them every day, so that has to count for something, right?

The fun part for me was when I began working at an assisted living center that has several retired farmers living there. I would show them my pencil and it would bring back so many memories for them. They tell me stories about how they used the pencil and the matching notebook from their seed or feed supplier to keep track of the planting season or what they needed. Just like I use my Field Notes notebooks and bullet pencils today.

Why do I like bullet pencils so much? Well, I love the fact that they work. They just work. I can keep one in my pocket and I know that when I need to write, it will work. Or, if by some weird happenstance the graphite breaks, I can either do a quick sharpen or a quick scrape with my knife and I’m set. And it will write in wet conditions and upside down. It’s everything I love about pencils – in a compact form.

So, which one am I currently carrying with me? Although I do love the twist, it’s hard to use quickly. I am currently using the Bullet Pencil TT as my EDC Bullet Pencil. It’s sturdy enough to rest in my pocket all day and actually holds a longer pencil to use. It’s not that the others are bad – it’s just I prefer this one. I wouldn’t be surprised to go back to the Twist this fall once the college football season starts (mine is black and gold – Go Hawkeyes!).

What about you? Do you use a bullet pencil? Why or why not? What’s your favorite? Leave your comment below and discuss!

Links to more information on Bullet Pencils:

Restoration: The Jungle is Neutral


Other Musings: Woodclinched, The Jungle is Neutral, Erasable Podcast, The Gentleman Stationer, Field Notes

3 thoughts on “Biting the Bullet … Finally.

  1. I have recently discovered the beauty of bullet pencils. It started when I got a Midori Travelers notebook and then bought the Midori bullet pencil. Since then I have been spending way too much time on Ebay and Etsy looking for good buys. I used to see these pencils in antiques stores that my wife would drag me in to, but had no idea what they were for. Thanks for your articles. Very interesting and informative. I have tried to share my love of the bullet pencil with many a family member and friend using information gleaned from you about the history behind the pencil.


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