I tried it, too!

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Gunther has already shown us that the rubbery skin of the Wopex can be peeled off. Now, I always admire how his curiosity can lead to some truly innovative experiments involving pencils, but so far had not felt any need to duplicate the results – until yesterday, when I was turning my pencils tins upside down for some spring cleaning and I found that my Wopexes had accumulated quite a lot of dust and grime, which was difficult to rub off. That, combined with the fact that I had always thought of them as rather heavy, made me take a knife to it. Just to see what happened.

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Results:

I rather like the more “natural” feel of the bare-skinned Wopex. It’s lighter too, although still not as light as other pencils. Staedtler, do you really have to rubber-coat this pencil? Why not market them nice and raw, like this?

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Lessons learned:

Don’t try this too often. The skin doesn’t come off that easily and you need to pull quite hard. But if you must, use a stub, and for God’s sake turn the pencil point away from you when you pull!

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14 thoughts on “I tried it, too!

  1. How fun! I have never thought to undress the Wopex, as I grew somewhat fond of the waxy exterior. Though I have to say that standing pencil sharpeners love to eat Wopex, as evident in my recent endeavor of using pencils more frequently. Perhaps it is the material of the pencil that causes the extra sharpening?

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    1. Hi Shangching – I’ve also heard that crank sharpeners “eat up” Wopexes but I can’t guess why that should be. As for myself I make sure to stop midway ;) And I really can’t say I’m fond of the exterior material so for me it’s good riddance!

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  2. Sola: Great! :-) Maybe one day the material is dyed so that the undressed Wopex is even more appealing :-)

    Shangching Huitzacua: With many crank sharpeners the auto stop feature doesn’t work with the Wopex. Normally the pencil’s point meets the stop, causing the mill to lose contact with the pencil. However, if the sharpener is designed to cut a fine point the point of the Wopex is squashed at the stop, and so the mill continues to work on the pencil. A solution would be a sharpener (or the setting of one) which cuts a more blunter point.

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    1. Oh, I don’t want them to dye the insides, this “natural finish” is just fine with me ;) And thank you for explaining the mechanism with the sharpeners. So it’s the lead of the Wopex that’s causing this problem!

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      1. Ah, I see :-) I don’t think that they will dye the inside anytime soon. – I wouldn’t say that the Wopex causes the problem – it’s just that many existing crank sharpeners aren’t designed to work with the Wopex. Besides that I had some normal, i. e. woodcase pencils which were “eaten” too despite of the automatic stop. – One has also to keep in mind that many crank sharpeners are strained by the dense Wopex material and may get broken.

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      2. I wonder what the manufacturer thinks about the difficulties of sharpening the Wopex. Personally I don’t think I could have gone on using it if I only had handheld sharpeners to work with – the lead comes out too jagged. I’m so glad the Deli works well with this very particular surface :)

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      3. They have already done something about it. The hand sharpeners have been redesigned for the Wopex and the new Staedtler crank sharpener works perfectly with the Wopex too.

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      4. I had the Staedtler crank sharpener precisely in mind (which I haven’t tried) when I asked this question. So they work with Wopexes, wonderful!

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  3. I wonder if I’m in a minority, as I like the extra heft and rubbery feel of the coated WOPEX – I will try decoating one at some point, though, because they do look cool!

    I tend to knife sharpen mine (with a cheap, but sharp keychain Laguiole that I picked up in France last year).

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    1. I know proper pocket knives are worth splurging on, but I tend to be quite clumsy so I stick to blunt knives ;) I originally wanted to pull the skin off cleanly without using the knife but I ended up having to work one surface with it. You could definitely do a better job. But do be careful!

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  4. Well…
    I quite like the rubbery feel, and the weight of this pencil. The one thing I cannot come to enjoy, though, is how light a line it puts down on paper – and that holds true to all grades I have tried, from 2H to 2B.

    Nevertheless… I somehow feel like a ruthless murderer pointing my cutting knife to that pencil, wondering if I should try a peeling session or not.

    If I come to do it, I am sure I will take your words into consideration: “for God’s sake turn the pencil point away from you when you pull!” Thanks ;))

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    1. Hi Pedro, yes do take all necessary precautions and do be careful! For myself I’ve never thought the lead of the Wopex was “light”, maybe because we associate “light” with “hard” and the Wopex lead isn’t noticeably hard. But you may have a point there.

      Maybe I would enjoy this pencil more if it came in a short, golf-pencil version ;)

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