In general pencils aren’t really my thing because I don’t enjoy the writing experience except when it comes to my all time favorite pencil, the Uniball Kuru Toga Roulette (review here) which I use exclusively. With that said though, it was hard to pass up these bright lime green colored Staedtler WOPEX Eco pencils (via Amazon) that promise to write twice as long as regular ones.
Right away you will notice that all of the Staedtler WOPEX Eco Pencils are pre-sharpened in the package, which is a nice way to start things off with your new pencil purchase. The next thing you will notice (if you haven’t already) is that you are pretty sure that “WOPEX” isn’t a word you are familiar with. Not to worry, because I was in a similar position when I first saw this term. So what is WOPEX as it relates to pencils? Well its sort of an acronym for Wood Pencil Extrusion that is described like this on the Staedtler Site:
“Granulates of all of the materials the pencil is made up of – wood, lead and pencil surface – are melted at temperatures between 130 and 180°C.
A specially engineered nozzle, the extrusion head, ensures that the streams of the respective melted granulates are perfectly aligned in the right volume and correct position in order to ensure production of a uniformly homogeneous pencil. The density of the material means that a WOPEX pencil is slightly heavier than conventional pencils. This makes the innovative pencil extremely comfortable to hold, thereby offering a unique writing experience!”
In general, the WOPEX process results in a pencil thats a bit denser (and heavier) than a standard wood case pencil. It also uses more of the wood from each tree, making it more environmentally friendly…assuming the energy expended in the extrusion process doesn’t trump the tree saving goodness.
So whats a Staedtler WOPEX pencil look like inside? Well the extrusion process pretty much makes the entire substrate in the pencil a completely consistant material as you can see in the photo above of the broken pencil. It almost looks like a smoother version of oat meal in my opinion. You can also see here that the green coating is actually a sheath of sorts and not actual paint as found on most wood case pencils. I found that the surface of the green coating was definitely conducive for writing as it provided just enough grip and again, the color is pretty awesome too.
I have a natural curiosity about me that always wants to take things apart if I don’t understand how they work or what they might look like inside, and the Stadetler WOPEX Eco Pencil was no exception. The “naked” version of the pencil above shows a little bit of whats going on under this pencils skin. The skin is essentially a slightly rubbery / plastic-like covering that with a razor blade and some patience can be completely removed. My assumption is that the coating is done this way because paint probably doesn’t adhere well to the compound that is the output of the WOPEX process.
Staedtler WOPEX Eco Pencil Writing Experience:
So by now with all of that background information, you are probably wondering what the writing experience is like with the WOPEX pencils. As mentioned above, there is definitely a weight gain as compared to your standard pencil when it comes to the WOPEX. I personally see this as a positive because I enjoy a writing implement that is slightly heavier. Don’t get me wrong though, this is still not a super heavy writing tool, just slightly heavier than what you may be used to for a wood cased pencil. You can see from the writing sample that this HB2 pencil did well when it came to leaving a smooth, crisp, and solid line.
I found that writing with these pencils did actually seem to provide a better experience because I found that the lead in them definitely keeps a sharper point as compared to other pencils. This also means that the pencil seems to be lasting longer, although I’m nowhere near getting through a whole pencil at this point, but it looks promising. The graphite int has a slightly less waxy feel when compared to the woodless graphite review that we did recently. The latex and PVC free eraser does a pretty nice job of removing the graphite from your paper and not removing paper from your paper.
Sharpening the pencil was pretty easy with a manual cylindrical single blade sharpener. It has a very smooth feel as you turn the pencil and cut through the WOPEX material.
You can check out the Well Appointed Desk and Pencil Revolution for additional perspective and detail on these Staedtler WOPEX pencils. In the mean time though, if you just want to get your hands on some for yourself, my old standby, Amazon has them available, so grab a few of these longer lasting, durable, and more environmentally friendly pencils for yourself.