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

My Writing Tool Philosophy

Before I spend a lot of time reviewing a writing tool (pen, pencil, notebook or some other instrument for writing), I wanted to take a few moments to share my thoughts on reviewing in general and how I’ll handle reviews on this blog in particular.

I’m a firm believer that we can over complicate things. I’m sure someone cares about dry time, ink compositions and so on. Frankly, I need to know one thing and one thing only – will this tool aide me in what I want to do? For me, what I want to do is record the random thoughts that are running around in my head. You may want to know about how a pencil works to sketch. Sorry, sketching is far outside of my wheelhouse.

So, when I do a review, what you will get are my thoughts on how the tool helps me get the job done of getting my thoughts down so I can deal with them however appropriate. I won’t talk about anything too scientific because I want to talk about why we use the tools.

Because as pretty as a tool is, if it won’t do the job we want it to, then it is worthless.

My Obsession

It’s sort of a joke in my house. I’ll get an email or a text from my wife saying, “Did you order something?” I usually respond with a positive and say it’s a pen, pencil or notebook. Next comes the smiley and then I will say, “But I can stop at any time.”

Or I go to the store or the mall to get something and come home with some sort of writing instrument or notebook. Next thing I know, I am saying “But I can stop at any time.”

Even when I travel, whether to a far away land or just to another town, I look to see if there is a writing or office store. I hit the gift shop at the zoo or a museum looking for a pencil or a cup. As I’m paying for my latest fix, I plead with my wife, “But I can stop at any time.”

But I can’t. I really can’t. I am addicted. Obsessed. Hopelessly so. And there is no sense hiding it any more. My name is Thomas, and I’m obsessed with pens, pencils, notebooks and coffee mugs. And this blog is so I can share it with the world.