A while back, a friend introduced me to the concept of “bullet journaling”—a quick, customizable system of journaling and organization developed by Ryder Carroll, a digital product designer living in Brooklyn, NY. This introduction was sparked by a generous gift from said friend—a set of three Field Notes paper journals and a Blackwing pencil re-issue. A lot of friends know that I still make a habit of writing in paper journals and have a longstanding personal obsession with pencils of all kinds.

Though my friend prefers traditional wooden pencils that can be sharpened, I’ve always leaned more towards the precision of mechanical pencils, especially drafting pencils. But this preference has always come with caveats and acknowledgement of inherent problems with mechanical pencils; first and foremost, the pencil leads break far too often, especially if you prefer thinner leads and tend to press down hard, both of which I do. Secondly, there’s a certain sentimental loss of the warm wooden feel of traditional pencils with mechanicals. Even that unmistakable pencil smell that’s wholly functionless but nonetheless pleasant in a very nostalgic way is left by the wayside when you limit yourself to mechanical pencils.

Enter the Prime Timber 2.0—a collaboration between Penco + Tokyo-based Kita-Boshi Pencil that combines the best qualities of mechanical and traditional pencils.


Made in Japan, the pencil uses California incense cedar for the pencil barrel (giving you your nostalgic wooden pencil smell) to house an elegantly simple mechanical system that pushes out a solid 2.0 mm graphite lead which you sharpen to a point with an included, compact plastic pencil sharpener.  And it comes in a variety of color combinations for the design-conscious.

I bought mine at Abbot Kinney purveyor of all things Japanophilic, Tortoise, but Portland’s Little Otsu carry’s the pencil in a variety of colors too, all available online.

Long live the digital analog.

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