geek out: and now a few words about pencils and pencil sharpeners

how to sharpen pencils: the el casco pencil sharpener approximate price $400-$600 pending finish

x-acto 1700 series pencil sharpener $30-$50

blackwing dual blade pencil sharpener: this one requires you to 1- sharpen the wood, 2-switch blades to sharpen the lead tip… and now how cool is that? approx $10

the results of the 3 sharpeners on the worlds finest pencil, the blackwing 602 cedar wood pencils, are displayed below

from left to right:

1- using blackwing dual blade pencil sharpener

2- using el casco pencil sharpener

3- using x-acto 1700 series pencil sharpener

there is no question that the middle pencil using the el casco pencil sharpener wins

above the legendary blackwing 602 pencils about $2 a pencil sold in cases of 12

first a little about the pencil: the palomino blackwing 602 are considered the best pencils in the world and have developed a following amongst pencil geeks like us. they are made of cedar wood (easy to sharpen with out causing “chips”) and feature a firm and smooth graphite core that combines lead with wax that helps it deliver on its promise of “half the pressure, twice the speed”. its unique and iconic ferrule allows you to extend and replace its eraser after extensive use or for super nerds to even “hack” their pencil to give it a custom look. erasers come in black, white, red. the pencil was used mainly by artists, writers and musicians and when the pencil was discontinued years ago, known writers such as joseph finder and stephen sondheim tried to convince eberhard faber to continue production or at least said some warm words about the tool they were so used to. while the company says that other pencils with similar leads are available, the devotees are convinced that there is no adequate substitution for the 602s, and we must agree with those devotees.

now a little about the sharpeners used: while the el casco pencil sharpener does an amazing job it takes some getting used to and in my opinion its not worth the cost of $400-600. that said once you get the hang of it it does do an amazing job sharpening the lead to a steady point that makes the nib stronger than any sharpener you’ve seen…. not to mention that it also looks wicked on any desk. but for nearly $600 its disappointing that when you sharpen a pencil some of the dust falls out of the casing in the front area and that the pencil grip in the sharpener damages and marks your pencils stem. it is the best sharpener resulting in the best nib but not $600 better…

the xacto sharpener is in word a piece of “garbage”. very disappointing for a company that is known for making blades. the motor is a DC motor using AC current (meaning its equivelant to a battery powered one) and can barely shave a rod of butter. the weak motor combined with, let’s assume a layman’s pencil, using inferior wood, results in a saw dust hell of a point with chips and dust all around it. not worth the postage we paid.

this brings us to the $10 blackwing sharpener which has 2 blades and openings. one is used to sharpen the wood alone and does not touch the lead point. you then insert it into the 2nd opening and sharpen the lead. i love this sharpener for its detailed attention and simple production cost that makes it cheaper than any other sharpener on the market and resulting in a very acceptable nib. while we purchased all three because we hate pens here we recommend the $10 socialist version over any other. ok so now you know… you can go around and say what complete geeks we are… by uh+kt

nick tucker: primitive gold skate deck

riddin on gold, its so ghetto… but i want it

damn d we missed out on these!! solid gold it aint but sold out it is… nick tucker’s limited edition primitive gold skate deck made with 7 ply maple and topped with gold foil. you can ride wall street with this shit… now don’t tell anyone but it was priced at $54.95 and if you called now you’d get a pair of gold teeth to go with it. that’s cool… no matter if you get it or not. jeff koons would be proud. by dd

cozying up

this is the maza house by chk arquitectura located in valle de bravo, mexico and spearheaded by eduardo hernández ch. this 5,623 sqf lodge-like home is surrounded in elements of nature. the living room, with its open fireplace, is where the ts team would like to be cozied up in, thinking up our next blog topics. nevertheless, we will not be able to travel to mexico, yet we have invested in personal space heaters for our less grandiose new york city apartments. please read more here and photo creds go out to yoshihiro koitani. by kgb

henri matisse the cut outs

henri matisse’s show at moma new york opened on october 12th and will be up till feb 8th. the cut outs which we all know so well take on a different life when seen up close. i saw the show in a fly by visits, but going to see it again this weekend. highly recommended. more info here. also check out the robert gober piece’s which is why we went there initially… by uh

marble surfboards: mollusk, spaulings, hayden cox or alexander wang?

above: surf art not fashion

“the marble surfboards above were part of the belgian marbles show produced by the reena spaulings gallery; made of marble, they are precise copies of boards from the mollusk surf shop in brooklyn. spaulings is with an international group of artists who call themselves the bernadette corporation; the collective has produced films, a faux fashion label, albums, even a novel.” the surf boards are just a hobby on the side.

above: fashion not surf art

“haydenshapes founder hayden cox, has taken the artful practice and elevated it even further with a recent collaboration with fashion designer alexander wang.” hmmm im perhapse too lazy to research this given its god damn winter, but is this one-and-the-same? or some blatant rip-off festival?

tim coppens + common projects


we got your “designer high tops” right here (by the way its terms like this that makes us puke at design in general). but we do like this one. tim coppens latest digs for common projects riffs on the CPs signature tournament style. they’re made from slick navy leather, have black arch panels, and are lined in soft beige leather you see on the back. $611 and available at matches fashion dot com.

 

rene metge bernard giroux range rover: paris dakar 1981

attention all 5 of you slotcar geeks. MSC competition just sent through photos of their all-new africa legends’ range rover that won the 1981 paris to dakar race. the original range rover that became the legend – JE motors

the MSC competition range rover slotcar features a new 4-wheel-drive mechanism and can be raced on any analog 1:32 track

digital chips can potentially be embedded with some scalpels

the drivers hard at work. built based on the first edition range rover with the iconic headlamps

easy does it… here it is before diddy rode one, and before the unfortunate xenon tail and headlights came into vogue

and the beautiful easy back. they just ruined it from there on…


not sure who is still interested in slotcars but we are… and theres good news… MSC competition has just released their all-new africa legends’ range rover that raced in the 1981 paris to dakar. this makes it the only original series range rover produced for slotscar tracks. until now your only option was the later model (series 2 range rover) featured in that lame james bond movie. lets go back to 1981 for a second. 1981 was only the 3rd time in history of the dakar race, and this range rover was driven by bernard giroux and rené metge (see them inside with the map?). what’s special about this historic car release is that it features the all new MSC dakar chassis which looks awesome on any tracks.

huge drop arm, full suspension and 4WD – detail levels on the resin cast body looks quite acceptable and accurately reflect the tough look and shape of the original range rover series 1. however the green gear wheel sticking out from the original renault chasis is bit of a disappointment and we think this could have been treated in a more elgant manner. but that aside, if you are also a geek… like us… or simply a fan of the original range rover, you’ll enjoy reading this and if you want to put this little one to test you can advance order yours here for 149£. we’d love to get one and test it out next to our citroen 2CV. by uh