Pentel is famous for its Energy pens and mechanical pencils, but actually has made some wooden pencils in the past. These are famous with collectors but aren’t well known on the whole.
First of all, today, in 2022 these pencils are no longer made. Additionally, they are exceedingly rare and expensive when they are sold. If you do find them, you might spend upwards of $20 a pencil and you’ll usually be limited to the less desirable hardness grades, like 3H, 4H, and 5H.
Pentel used polymer lead in these pencils, the same thing that Pentel’s mechanical pencil lead is named after and is so famous for. To be fair, Pentel also calls its erasers the “Hi-Polymer” so maybe it’s just a word the company likes to use in its marketing?
Pentel’s Wood Pencils
The pencils Pentel made are:
- Pentel Black Polymer 999
- Pentel Black Polymer 999 Alpha (with JISMark)
- Pentel Black Polymer 999 Alpha Natural CB201 (with JISMark)
- Pentel Black Polymer 999 Copyist
- Pentel Mark Sheet
- Pentel Tuff
- Pentel Tuff Vermillion
There were also white-label pencils, where Pentel made the, but they carried another brand and even custom colors. These include:
- Disney Resorts Tokyo
- Craft Design Technology “Item 17”
Details on these pencils are foggy, given that they were largely sold in the mid- to late-2000s, but some information is available.
None of these pencils had erasers or ferrules on them.
Pentel Black Polymer 999
The Black Polymer 999 is perhaps the most famous of this line, at least partly because it has such a cool name.
These pencils have a black paint job paired with silver foil printing what plastic caps on the end.
Collectors say that the Black Polymer 999 is one of the finest writing pencils of all time, thanks to an extraordinarily high quality polymer-based graphite.
The Copyist version of this pencil, seen in a turquoise color paint, presumedly used an indelible graphite and was used for making copies of an original print prior to scanners being widely available. More recently copying pencils were used for their permanent graphite which was very difficult to remove from paper, giving them an ink-like quality.
The Alpha pencils were considered to be the highest end pencils in the line. They have silver tips and they look a bit fancier than the rest of the line. The Alpha pencils carry the “JIS mark” which was a Japanese standard of quality that many of the country’s best pencils carried until 2008.
This pencils also carried a JIS mark of quality, but we don’t know much else about it. A student pencil would make sense given how one is notably lacking from the line, but these were high-end, pro-grade pencils, so maybe a student pencil would not have been a fit?
All these pencils last appeared in Pentel’s 2009 catalog.