Poor quality of graphite pencils?

  spuds 09:18 07 Sep 2014

Perhaps a silly subject, this early on a Sunday morning. So hopefully it will give the forum a kick-start. But as any member had problems with graphite/lead pencils over the past few years, or as modern technology now superceeded the pencil that we use to know?.

In my school days, the pencil was the mainstay of learning, with most classrooms having a visible pencil sharpener handy, but not any longer, it would seem. Chalk still had its presence, but was in decline!.

The reason why I ask, is the fact that most pencil's that I purchase nowadays just doesn't seem to have the stamina that pencil's had in the past. I seem to constantly suffer from broken lead/graphite, with the end results that sharpening is becoming an art, no matter how I try to fine tune the projecting required item. plenty of wooden shaving and broken tips, is usually the end result.

Before anyone tells me that lead is incorrect, it should be graphite, I have already done some research on the matter, and still haven't reached a conclusion why pencil's now seem to have a poor manufacture.

Here's one link that I found about pencils, including a video click here

  sunnystaines 09:29 07 Sep 2014

I remember from school days pencils had a code at the bottom to state how hard or soft they were for sketching or fine for technical charts etc. these days the points break easily and you sharpen them down to nothing in no time as the tips keep breaking.

  spuds 09:32 07 Sep 2014


That was the point of my post, pleased that you appear to agree with me.

  carver 10:22 07 Sep 2014

It's down to health and safety, softer points means you are less likely to stab someone.

  bumpkin 10:37 07 Sep 2014

I remember when pencils would last and last, usually lost them before they wore out. Bought a box of 100 new ones a few years back, they were not even sharpened just blunt ends. Made from some sort of stringy wood that was impossible to sharpen with a khife, even using a proper sharpener only ended up with about half a pencil that usually broke the first time I used it. Absolute rubbish ended up throwing them away. Dug out some old ones in the end and took a bit more care not to keep losing them.

  Forum Editor 10:49 07 Sep 2014

You are not alone in thinking that manufacturing standards have declined. Modern pencils are often made in China and Indonesia, and they are not up to the standard that we used to enjoy. Like many things nowadays it all comes down to labour costs - it's cheaper to mass produce pencils in those countries.

You can still buy good quality pencils, but you'll have to pay more for them.

  wee eddie 10:59 07 Sep 2014

3H, HB, to 3B.

The hardness of the pencil is critical to the use you put it to.

HB or 1B is usually appropriate for general duties. 3H gives a very fine line but is exceedingly brittle.

Blunt Sharpeners and very long, thin, points are usually the cause of breakages but, what few people realise is that, dropping a pencil onto a hard surface can fracture the lead column which has little tensile strength.

  spuds 12:01 07 Sep 2014

"Rubber pencils for everyone then!"

I recall when you could purchase them from joke shops or stores like Ellisdon's. Don't seem to see them about nowadays?.

But going back to modern methods, even the rubber type eraser on the end of some pencils, doesn't seem to last long, before they also fail.

  sunnystaines 13:54 07 Sep 2014

why is everything made in china such poor quality, good quality products went downhill once the factory moved to china. looks like pencils can be added to the list.

  BT 18:36 07 Sep 2014

I have a pencil in my pot at the moment that I've had for ages.

Its a Berol Mirado, made in England and has a Rymans brand on it. It gets sharpened every now and then with a battery operated pencil sharpener that my wife has for her coloured artists pencils.

  bumpkin 19:35 07 Sep 2014

why is everything made in china such poor quality

Basically because it is made so cheaply. They can and do produce quality products but face serious competition. Cheap poor quality sells easily and is often passed off as something else by unscrupulous sellers.

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