Saturday, December 3, 2016


Baron Fig started as a Kickstarter project for a minimalist design notebook in 2013, the Baron Fig Confidant. In the few years of being in business, they expanded their product line to where they now offer four minimalist, core products. With one hardcover notebook, a series of softcover notebooks, a pen and now a woodcased pencil, they offer the essentials you need to write, draw or doodle.
The final addition is the Archer, a woodcased pencil, following the same minimalist design found in all Baron Fig products. Minimalism is their core business, and that starts right at the beginning, with the packaging. The dozen pencils are presented in a small grey tube with a clean graphic design of the pencil along the length. The first thing everyone -including me- seems to think when you see the packaging: 'No way twelve pencils are in there!' And yet when you open it: sure thing, twelve pencils tightly packed together!
The cedarwood barrel casing of the Archer pencil is finished with a semi-matte, grey laquer that is advertised as anti-slip. It doesn't have a rubberized feel to it, but it is indeed nice to grip (if it's less slippery than other pencils, I don't necessarily think so). The end of the pencil is topped off with a matte black dipped end. I'm personally a fan of erasers ends on pencils from a practical point of view, but here they chose to go for the most minimal finish.
The baron fig and arrow logos are screen-printed right underneath the black end on opposite sides of the pencil barrel. Whereas I miss the eraser (and wish they went for a slightly less minimal approach in that area), I can definitely appreciate the simple and cleanly stamped logos.
The cedar wood casing sharpens quite well, and the graphite cores sit nicely centered inside. The HB hardness (the only hardness available) is a balanced option for writing and drawing. In comparison with some other pencils (Faber-Castell Grip 2001, Rhodia #2, Palomino Blackwing classic, Caran d'Ache Swiss Wood) I found it to be noticeably more crisp and sharp. It gives a bit more feedback when you write, which makes it feel like writing with a harder H pencil, but the line darkness is comparable to other HB pencils. I personally quite like the more tactile writing experience, point retention is quite good, I could easily write half an A4 page on smooth Rhodia paper without having to sharpen (YMMV if you use different paper), but of course for longer writing sessions you should still keep a sharpener at hand.
For a first venture into pencils, Baron Fig certainly did a great job. Their background of pristine, minimal design shows through in the clean and tidy look of the Archer. Their minimal approach means you won't find an eraser, which is something I missed, but in return you get a well-balanced, light pencil. The HB graphite core isn't the smoothest out there, but it keeps a sharp point and it leaves behind a dark line.

At 15 USD for a dozen pencils, Baron Fig certainly hit a decent price point between the really cheap (but lesser quality) school pencils, and the really expensive pencils (like Blackwings), I'm eager to see more... and in fact there will be more! Baron Fig just launched their subscription system, in which they will release a new special edition of every product they make (that's right, FOUR special edition products every season!), including the Archer, (you can check out the subscriptions HERE).

Note: These pencils were sent to me by Baron Fig, free of charge, so I could write this review.  I was in no way influenced in the making of this review, the opinions shared in this review are completely my own! This post does not contain affilate links.

1 comment:

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