A Pencil in a Bullet
I’m a newbie to the pencil world so I don’t feel qualified to review an actual pencil just yet. Perhaps one day I’ll know the difference in graphite grades but I’m still learning. So for now, I’m going to review a handy way to carry a pencil in your pocket.
The Twist Bullet Pencil was a joint effort between Metal Shop and Huckleberry Woodchuck and like most cool things these days, it launched on Kickstarter. I remember seeing chatter about it on Twitter but I don’t use pencils so why would I care?
I continued not caring but then at some point I did care and yada yada yada, one showed up in my mailbox. I don’t know how these things happen.
I chose the black aluminum body with the pointy brass bullet because black and brass looks awesome. It arrived with a white eraser and a Palomino 602 nub installed. I was pretty happy with it out of the box but erasers should be pink, am I right? Luckily Metal Shop sells a pink eraser pack so I fixed this oversight as quickly as I could. Now my bullet pencil is looking quite fine. Oh, remember when I said I chose the “pointy brass bullet”? Well, it’s really pointy.
The twist on this pencil — if you’ll allow the pun — is a that bullet screws into the body on both ends. You unscrew the bullet to reveal the pencil, flip it around, and screw that end in to assemble your writing instrument. I believe vintage bullet pencils were friction fit so this design is particularly sturdy. In fact, there are threads all over this thing. The eraser screws into a threaded end (which can also accept a pocket clip) and the pencil nub screws into threads inside the bullet end. Every part of this pencil threads together and the result is a nice solid feeling pencil.
I’ve carried the Twist Bullet Pencil in my pocket for about 2 weeks and it has proven to be quite sturdy. Jostling alongside the pencil is a Victorinox Classic — or occasionally a larger Victorinox Cadet — and an Eagletac D25AAA flashlight. Despite banging into other metal things for days on end, the finish is holding up beautifully.
This past weekend I carried the Twist Bullet Pencil and a Baron Fig Time Travel Apprentice (I’ll review this soon) to Ikea where I skipped their free pencils and shopping list in favor of my own tools. Did I feel a twinge of self-importance as I pulled the Baron Fig from my back pocket, assembled the Twist Bullet Pencil, and copied down product numbers? You bet I did. Look at me Ikea shoppers, I’m a pretty big deal.
I’m sure you’re wondering so, yes, every time I unveil a nice pen or pencil in public I secretly hope someone recognizes it and stops to admire my amazing taste. It hasn’t happened yet but I know one day it will and I’ll be ready.
As a pencil novice, I love the Palomino Blackwing 602 so I’m happy they include them with the Twist but according to episode 25 of The Erasable Podcast, Metal Shop will be switching to the ForestChoice pencils soon. I’m not sure I like those as much as the 602 but of course, you’re free to use any pencil you like, even crappy ones.
I can’t find much to criticize, the worst part is the time it takes to assemble before you can write. While at Ikea, it took longer to get the pencil ready than it took to record the product numbers. This didn’t really bother me and if it had, I would have carried it around open until I was sure I didn’t need it again.
I suppose it’s obvious but the Twist is a bit top-heavy when assembled. I have large hands and it balances well in the web of my thumb but smaller handed folk might notice the top end heft.
Speaking of weight, Metal Shop just produced a limited run of solid brass bodies and I had to order one because it’s so pretty. The aluminum body will feel pretty light once I’ve put in time with the brass one.
I know very little about bullet pencils but I think Twist Bullet Pencil is a great modern entry into the genre. Everything about this pencil is well made and I want to carry it with me every day, it’s that good.
Disclaimer: This article has several affiliate links to Amazon.