Well look what we have here, its the new Baron Fig Archer Pencil (via Baron Fig) that is officially on sale now today. Many thanks to our friends over at Baron Fig for sending us a sample to check out and share with you a little ahead of the actual release.
As always, the designers at Baron Fig leave no details unattended to. You can see that attention to detail in the clean and practical design of the cardboard tube that this set of 12 pencils comes in. There is one thing I wish I could share here, but unfortunately can’t. That is the smell of fresh cut wood that hits your nose when you slide the tube open. Its one of those things about a new pack of pencils that can’t be beat.
Each Baron Fig Archer Pencil has a paint scheme that consists of a gray body, black top, and white logos. The finish on the body is a nice flat gray that has a no-slip feel to it, and the black top is also flat black. The branding for these is kept to a minimum with the single arrow on one side and the words Baron Fig on the other in white. Each of the pencils measure exactly 7 inches long in their unused state.
The arrow and Baron Fig text are the focus of this picture with their nice and super clean lines. As the pencil changes from the gray body to the black top there is no visible seam or overrun of the paint. Go ahead and click on that picture to see the larger version. Although my photography skills aren’t professional level, you can still see the great attention to detail here as that line from gray to black is perfectly clean.
Sharpening up the pencil went as smoothly as one could expect when you forcing wood and graphite against a sharp metal blade. Obviously different sharpeners are going to handle things differently, but there were no catches that I felt either on the graphite or wood when sharpening. Sometimes in lesser pencils you can feel the imperfections in the graphite or wood splitting oddly rather than cutting smoothly as the pencil sharpens. Its a subtle difference, but like the difference between something grinding vs. slicing. The Baron Fig Archer Pencil definitely had more of that clean slicing feel.
Baron Fig Archer Pencil vs. Palomino Blackwing 602:
The foreground of the above picture is of the Baron Fig Archer, while the pencil in the background is the popular Palomino Blackwing 602. I wanted to compare a few things about the Baron Fig Archer vs. the Palomino Blackwing 602 since its such a popular and well respected pencil. First I’ll say that the sharpening experience with both was the same, clean slicing cuts and no grinding or feeling like anything was catching. Second, you can see the difference above in the finish of the paint on the body of each of these pencils. The Baron Fig Archer definitely has a much flatter finish with no gloss which can make a difference in terms of your grip.
The above picture is not mine, so full credit to the fine photographers at Baron Fig. I love this picture because it conveys the light weight nature of the Archer. I did a quick comparison to several other pencils and found the following in terms of the weight. In a sample size of 11 (couldn’t weigh the one I’ve been writing with) of the Archer pencils, the average weight came in at 4.63 grams. The lightest one was 4.14 grams and the heaviest one was 5.22 grams. In comparison to some other pencils I have on hand, the standard Field Notes wooden pencil averages 4.97 grams, some Ticonderoga Black pencils averaged 4.75 grams, and some Blackwing Palomino Pearl’s averaged 6.48 grams. Obviously the lack of eraser on the Archer helps reduce the weight.
Baron Fig Archer Pencil Writing Sample:
Writing with the Baron Fig Archer Pencil was a no nonsense experience with its HB lead which is equivalent to a standard #2 pencil. It was smooth with no unexpected catches, scratching, or lead breaks and to the best of my abilities I was able to control the shading fairly well. I definitely noticed the no-slip feel that the finish provided as well as the super light feel due to the lack of eraser.
Here you can see my heavy handed and clunky shading tests, which to my taste all came out smoothly and consistently. In my writing samples for pencils, I usually like to test how well they erase too. Using a Rotring Rapid-Eraser B20 I tested how well it cut through the different gradients of shading. Probably more a testament to the eraser and the Baron Fig paper, but the marking came off nice and clean with a few easy passes.
Baron Fig always likes to leave us with some inspirational words on their products, so I wanted to catch a quick picture of that to go with my final words for this review. My deal is that I’ve never been a huge pencil fan or frequent user, but the Baron Fig Archer certainly passes my test as someone who is still picky about writing experiences and picky about clean or well done design. There is definitely a case to be made for these as a solid new offering if you want to take some new pencils for a test drive. Also, knowing the folks at Baron Fig, and their drive to continually improve their products, I’m hopeful to see more versions of these come along in the near future. Check them out for yourself here on the Baron Fig website!