We finally have all the Blackwing Cores as regular pencils in the lineup. I have used one box of each one (not the natural one, but one with the same core).
This is the pencils:
- Regular Blackwing: Softest
- Pearl: Soft
- 602: Firm
- Natural: Extra firm.
The regular Blackwing is a great pencil, and a great place to start because you experience how good a pencil can be. But it is way too soft to be useful as a pencil. And it smears so much it’s really messy. There are probably places it is great (art) but I don’t think it’s useful for writing.
The Pearl is still very soft, but it is firm enough to be usable for writing. It is usable, but I still think it is way too soft. Both Pearl and the Blackwing are so soft that you spend a lot of time sharpening them. I know some people like them a lot, and prefer them. This just shows how personal this is.
The 602 is the first pencil from Blackwing that I enjoy writing with. It is firm enough for it to be useful for writing.
The Natural is the firmest Blackwing pencil. And it is great for writing. Not as firm as a #2, but pretty close. If I were to use Blackwing as a regular pencil this is the only option.
The thing about a Blackwing pencil is that the finish is really premium and you feel that. And the core is smooth. They never feel scratchy. That is their main thing. They might do as soft or hard cores as long as it is still smooth.
Here is a summary of how the cores perform for me; in other words, how long can I write while twisting the pencil before it becomes dull:
- Blackwing: 1⁄2 A5 page in my LT1917
- Pearl 3⁄4 A5 Page in my LT1917
- 602: 1 - 1 1⁄2 Page in my LT1917
- Natural 1 1⁄2 - 2 Page in my LT1917.