I’ve used up 2 pencils in the last few weeks. One was a Palomino Blackwing, the other a Musgrave Test Scoring pencil. Together about $2.20 worth of pencils, or about $50/yr. Really, it’s more than that – they were just the first two to get too short to hold – because I’ve been using about 7-8 pencils and they are all getting shorter as they get used, so I’d guess it’s really about $2 a week, or maybe $100 a year. If I stuck with Sam’s Club Mirado Classics, or even just the Musgrave Test Scoring Pencils, It would be more like $25/yr. Go with the Mitsubishi Hi-Uni’s from JetPens at $28/dozen and it’s quite bit more.
I don’t know how long it would take me to use a bottle of fountain pen ink, but I think not less than 3-4 months. $100 would buy probably 6 or 7 bottles of Noodler’s, depending on where I buy it. Pen wear is pretty much ignorable, so that makes pencils pretty expensive…assuming one already owns the pen. A really nice fountain pen could take a long time to amortize.
A pencil’s advantages:
- Erasing mistakes – which I like far more than I thought I would.
- Low investment at risk. The pencil in my pocket didn’t cost much regardless. If someone borrows it and breaks the point or steals it, I’m not out much.
- Invisible. Some folks will make some hay out of a fancy pen, no one says much about a pencil.
- That not so formal feeling.
- Hard to carry without a point protector or a pencil case.
Neither a pencil nor a pen takes the place of the other, but pencils would seem to be the premium choice based on the traditional American yardstick of cost.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a few pens to fill 😉