#1 versus #2 pencils
February 13, 2006 6:33 PM   Subscribe

What is the difference between #1 and #2 pencils? I had a set of Geddes pencils that I adored as they never smudged. However, I think I may have wrongly attributed this un-smudgeability to their being #1 pencils. Is there a correlation? And more importantly, can anyone recommend a (really) good smudge-proof pencil?
posted by anonymous78 to Shopping (9 answers total)
 
I think it's hardness of the lead.
posted by Krrrlson at 6:38 PM on February 13, 2006


Hardness of the lead. From we cleaned out my grandfather's house in 6th grade, we found a huge box of #3 pencils, which my father made me use for school. I would rip the paper without making a mark.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:43 PM on February 13, 2006 [1 favorite]


it is indeed the hardness of the lead. see this page (on wikipedia, the relevant section is under Manufacture). I'd hazard a guess that smudgability depends more on the composition of the "lead" filler that's actually making the mark and less so the hardness - a #1 pencil should make a darker mark than a #2 due to the filler being softer in the #1.
posted by mrg at 6:44 PM on February 13, 2006


For recommendations, I enjoy the blog: Pencil Revolution.
posted by ktrey at 6:47 PM on February 13, 2006


Google says: The hardness of the core is often marked on the pencil -- look for a number (such as "2" or "3"). The higher the number the harder the writing core. You might see other markings on pencils. Some pencil manufacturers use the letter "H" to indicate a hard pencil. Likewise, a pencil maker might use the letter "B" to designate the blackness of the pencil's mark. The letter "F" is also used to indicate that the pencil sharpens to a fine pont.

Pencil makers also use combinations of letters -- a pencil marked "HB" is hard and black; a pencil marked "HH" is very hard, and a pencil marked "HHBBB" is very hard and really, really black!

posted by michaelkuznet at 6:51 PM on February 13, 2006


Papermate's Mirado (Black Warrior, Classic yellow and Woodtones) pencils are very smudge-resistant in their #2 or #1 form. Also, Faber-Castell's are pretty smudge-proof, though they run on the hard side for their grades. The GRIP 2001 or Castell 9000 might fit the bill, in grades B (#1) or darker. The problem is that different grades mean different things to different manufacturers (that's a lot of differences, lol), so a #2 Dixon is a lot darker than a German #2 (HB), and a Japanese HB will perform more like a 3B or even 4B in American grades. The whole 9H-9B scale is standard, but what is meant by each grade varies greatly. The good thing is that the perfect combination of darkness, neatness and strength is out there somewhere for almost everyone:)
posted by pragmatik at 7:15 PM on February 13, 2006


I love Mirado Black Warrior pencils just for the name.
posted by jennyb at 7:24 PM on February 13, 2006


I don't know if you're a left-hander, but this is a really useful question for those of us who are. Thanks!
posted by anjamu at 8:38 PM on February 13, 2006


Drawing pencil brands come in a much wider range of smudgie-ness than writing pencils so that's a concern too. A #1 expensive drawing pencil will be super smudgy wheras a #5 or #6 will practically be a pen, smudging wise.
posted by fshgrl at 10:05 PM on February 13, 2006


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