Sustainable Forestry

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted much related to forestry and the timebr business here. Last night this segment appeared on NBC Nightly News. It features the sustainable forestry efforts of Collins Pine Company which has had a long relationship with our company. Collins is a an important supplier of FSC Certified Incense-cedar used in our ForestChoice pencils and our FSC certified slats sold to other pencil companies around the world.

I do find Brian William’s intro statments like “You can’t see the forest, because they’re gone!” coupled with the use of images of recent clearcuts rather misleading relative to the actual reality of responsible forestry practice in the Pacific Northwest. Collins is clearly a leader in committing all their timber operations to FSC certification process and in the manner in which they run their operations. I applaud them and am happy to be collaborating with them in bringing sustainable wood products to market. However, they are just one example of numerous companies with good sustainable forestry practices.

Palomino Riders Unite

I’ve been pleased to see the continuing keen interest and even adoration of our Palomino pencils from our customers. As one happy Palomino Rider recently said, “It’s the way the lead glides over the paper. Hmmmm…yeah, I know. I’ve got issues! It’s an addiction. But…they really do have a nice feel to them. I’m buying more!.”

Despite relatively little formal promotional effort in the past year we clearly seem to have a loyal and devoloping fan base for our product. Thus in order to support this I’m pleased to announce the formation of two new places that Palomino riders can check who else is in the corral and see just how they ride.
I’m talking about the Palomino Riders Group page on our new site as well as a new Facebook Group page as well. Here’s the chance to share your artwork created with the Palominos and show what those Palominos can really do. Whether you ride English, Western or bareback we want to celebrate your unique creative spirit and are sure other riders feel the same.

So we hope you’ll register at, join the Palomino Riders group, then create your own Palomino artwork gallery and upload images of some of your favorite artwork using Palomino pencils and post them to the Palomino Riders group. If you’re a Facebook member then we’d love to see you there too.
If you haven’t yet experienced the smooth ride, then come and visit these two sets of group pages and I hope this will get you restless as a wild Palomino to jump up in that saddle too.

The New

After several months of work I am pleased to announce we have completed our redesign project and have now re-launched our “Incense Cedar Institute – Pencil Pages” website under the new name This has been a project some time in gestation even since I first initiated my Timberlines blog a few years back and happily is now up and running as a Beta site which we will continue to work on improving and developing over time.

The new site builds upon the past purpose of the site as an educational resource regarding pencils, Incense-cedar, renewable resources and forestry management but adds to it a broad range of new features designed to help celebrate and share the role of the pencil in our world. If you are a pencil enthusiast, artist, writer, teacher, parent or student the new site has something for you. I hope you will check it out and join what I think will become an active and growing community. In particular we have initiated a Palomino Riders group page which allows you to share and post artwork created with your Palomino pencils or to form other groups and discussion forums on a wide variety of topics related to education, art, writing and even pencil collecting.

In addition to expanded educational content and a host of social networking and related tools on the site one of the key new features will be our Store. This store will supplement our existing Pencil World Creativity Store @ eBay and and offers a much more flexible on line shopping tool with quantity discounting, pencil points discounts that you earn through participation in the community as well as other features. We’ve already added an expanded range of new California Republic items not on eBay as well as new items from another pencil manufacturer with more to follow. Over time we’ll be expanding the product range available on the Store, supporting and promoting products produced by our slat customers that supplement and complement our own product range.

A number of readers continue to request more of my in depth posts on industry issues and there have been plenty of issues to write about, although I’ve just been too busy with other business matters in the last year or so and more recently in developing the site for this launch. Looking forward I plan to return to providing somewhat more frequent posts about issues related to Pencil Industry here on Timberlines which will also have a feed to a dedicated Timberlines page at the site. However, posts more focused on news related to our California Republic Stationers product developments and the store offerings will be moved to my WoodChuck blog on the home page. Thus the site will be updating much more frequently than Timberlines going forward.

For more information you can visit or for more historical background of the Incense Cedar Institute and website transition to you can read the CalCedar press release here.

New Palomino Items for the Holidays

After a long wait we are happy to announce introduction of an eraser tipped option on our Palomino Blue HB pencils just in time for the Holidays. Now by popular request eraser tips are available for both our Palomino Orange and Palomino Blue lacquer variations.

Also for the Holidays we have put together a special Palomino Christmas Gift Pack which includes a nicely cello wrapped set including our 12 Count Artist Color Wood Box Set, a 6 count Palomino Orange HB with erasers and our favorite Palomino-KUM Long Point Sharpener for a special price of $24.95. This is over $6 or 18% savings on this collection of items versus purchasing each independently. Make an aspiring artist in your family happy with this gifts set for Christmas.

Another Holiday selection that makes a great stocking stuffer are our Spangle Christmas decoration pencils available in both 8 pack and 24 pack counts.

While our Pencil World Store is well known for our quick and timely delivery we generally do recommend you place your Christmas orders by December 16th to assure delivery on time for the holiday.

Palomino & California Republic Notes

Hello all you fellow Palomino Riders out there. I’m long past due in providing an update on developments with the Palominos and other brand ranges in our California Republic lines.

First, over the past few months we ran a test with some larger bulk pack formats with banded dozens in 36 and 72 count packs. We’ve had very positive reaction to this packing format. We ran through most of the stock on hand from this test and have just a couple remaining packs available on Pencil World Creativity Store both here and here. You may want to pick these up while they last.

Partially as a result of these tests we have reached a decision to make the banded dozen format more widely available for our internet distribution channel. In addition the banded dozens will be extended from the Palomino brand to also include all items in Golden Bear and Prospector ranges and even a few new Spangle items we plan to introduce by year end. We are a still a while off before these formats are formally introduced on a standard stocking basis, but do expect to have these up by year end. So keep your eyes peeled for this new option going live and I’ll provide more details when teh new stock arrives and we are ready to go live.

In the meantime if you’ve found you do have an appetite for bulk pack pencils we do have ready supply of our popular ForestChoice FSC certified pencils in 1 gross (144 ct) bulk packs. These are available both here at PWCS @ eBay or at our ForestChoice website.

Also comming soon we will be adding an eraser tipped option in our Palomino Blue HB, as well as a few varieties of Spangle jumbo size school learning pencils in both round and triangular shapes.Finally, I am making the commitment once again to more frequent posts on Timberlines so look forward to a series of new articles and weekly features covering a variety of topics. I know I got started last Spring and then didn’t keep up. This time.

Pencils: Popular in Any Language

One of the most common questions I receive from those who learn I work in the pencil industry is “How do you get the leads into the wooden pencil?” This leads to any number of further questions and discussion about different aspects of the pencil business according to what any particular person finds interesting. There is no shortage of interesting and related topics depending upon how detailed and how technical one wants to get. In reality I have only touched on a very few areas in all the posts about industry issues over the past 18 months or so, whether it’s anti-dumping duties, environmental aspects of forestry management and FSC certification, etc. FYI: Today I’ve added Labels to most of my posts so it should be easier to find different posts by subject matter.

Yesterday I came accross the following post “¿Cómo se meten las minas en los lápices de madera?” which answers just this question on the general interest Spanish language blog Ya está el listo que todo lo sabe (Here is the list of everything to know). The post includes a brief history of the development of the graphite pencil and a description of the pencil manufacturing process. This post as many other websites I have found over the years has liberally borrowed the photo from our How to Make A Pencil page on our Incense Cedar Institute Pencil Pages site on how pencils are made.

What I found most interesting about this post was the “commentarios” left by readers and in particular a long treatise on the wood used in pencils by Dr. Amio Cajander who provided a knowledgeable discussion of the use of Incense-cedar ,other pencil woods and even composite substitutes in his long comment in addition to describing some of the technical factors that make for a good pencil wood. He even generously noted my Timberlines blog as a resource for his information for those who wished to practice thier English. Additional comments indicated readers seemed generally interested in learning about how the pencil was made. This is not unlike my experience with reactions to my Timberlines posts and our feedback over many years from information provided on the Incense Cedar Institute Pencil Pages.

While my Spanish is just okay, I was able to make my way through this post relatively easily and it was good practice. So for those interested in testing their Spanish, practicar aqui.

Honestly, it’s nice to see that there is such interest in the manufacturing process and the pencil itself from all over. I would take the time to link to a few other foreign language sites on the topic of how pencils are made that I’ve found over the years, but unfortunately I never bothered to save any of those links. So if you’re visiting from another country and know of any such web pages in your native tongue please feel free to link to these in a comment to this post.

Berolzheimerianum: 100 Year Anniversary Celebration

Back in March I wrote a post titled “Lieber Philip: A Letter Lasts 100 Years” that discussed the final letter my Great-Great Grandfather Heinrich wrote from his home in Nürnburg, Germany to his son Philip, my Great-Grandfather in New York before he passed away about one month later. I introduced a bit of family history in the pencil industry to my own son Philip through this letter.

As it turns out there is another recent 100 Year Anniversary related to Heinrich Berolzheimer’s accomplishments. My wife, son and I have just returned from a week in Germany where we participated in activities celebrating the 100 year anniversary of the construction of the Berolzheimerianum in Fürth, the city of Heinrich’s birth and original founding of the pencil company, Berolzheimer und Illfelder. Donated by Heinrich with assistance of his son’s Emil and Philip (then running the Eagle Pencil Company in New York) the Berolzheimerianum was established according to the foundation document as a “home for popular education in the town of Fürth”. Tis document stated that it should “serve the whole population of town of Fürth, regardless of social class, religion or political opinions”. The building included an extensive library with over 10,000 volumes (later growing to over 20,000 volumes) as well as an auditorium with 800 seats for performances and various cultural events and included a number of works of art both interior and exterior art.

Unfortunately Heinrich passed away a month prior to the completion and inauguration of the building. The photos in this post show the Berolzheimerianum both at it’s completion in 1906 and as it looks today. The painting of Heinrich was commissioned when he was named as an Honorary Citizen of Fürth for his patronage towards the city. Other famous Honorary Citizens include Ludwig Erhard who served as the second Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1963 to 1966 and Henry Kissinger, who I was told recalls studying as a child in the Berolzheimerianum.

The Berolzheimerianum has an interesting history. A few of the highlights include:

– Attendance at the building inauguration by Prince Ludwig III of Bavaria (later the last king of Bavaria)
– Functioned as a military hospital during the 1st World War through 1919
– The building was renamed by the National Socialists during the period of the Third Reich erasing for a time the recognition of the Jewish Philanthropist Heinrich Berolzheimer
– Following post war repairs in 1945, the Berolzheimerianum name was restored and the building continued to function for it’s original purpose of supporting education and the arts
– In 1998 following extensive renovations the Berolzheimerianum was reopened as ComÖedie Fürth, one of the leading comedy clubs in Germany including a restaurant and bar.

As a part of the 100 Year Celebration my wife, son and I were honored to be the guests of the City of Fürth along with other of Heinrich’s descendants (3rd and 4th cousins) whom we met for the first time. In conjunction with the anniversary celebration a four month exhibit at the Jewish Museum of Franconia, entitled “Benefactor Berolzheimer: A Family Tradition of Philanthropy and Patronage”. While our families converted to Christianity several generations back, we very much enjoyed learning more about our Jewish heritage in Germany during this visit. The entire staff of the museum did a very nice job with the exhibit and with additional activities scheduled over a three day period. In addition to the Berolzheimerianum, Heinrich also made important financial and artwork contribution to a library in Nürnburg, known as the Luitpoldhaus, as well as to the Nürnberger Künstlerhaus art institute and supported the Natural History Museum in that city as well. For his contributions to Nürnburg where he lived the final years of his life he was also named and honorary citizen there as well. This I understand makes him one of only two people who have been named honorary citizen to both of these cities. This tradition of supporting education and the arts in our home communities has been continued by Heinrich’s descendants to this day, first by Emil and Philip and down to current times.

I am slowly adding to my Flickr site here a a new set of historical, current day and other photos associated with the Berolzheimerianum and the 100 year Anniversary Ceremonies. Some of these are captioned to tell more of the story of the building.

Transitions and Milestones

Well it’s amazing how fast the past couple of months went by and how busy we’ve been here at CalCedar multitasking on an ever expanding list of activities. In that time I’ve failed to keep Timberlines readers up to date. So here’s a quick summary of the main highlights and some of our comming attractions.

Our Pencil World Creativity Store on eBay experienced our biggest month of sales ever in July as a result of the Boing Boing post highlighting Ninth Waves Design’s road test naming the Palomino pencil replacing the Blackwing 602. The post didn’t even mention our store site, but many of you thankfully searched us out and we experienced two times the single largest prior month sales.

A key challenge responding to all this was that this development coincided with an important transition here in our offices. My assistant Jeanette had just decided to depart the company to pursue other interests. Fortunately one of our former employees Paula was available rejoin the company and is now handling customer service on our eCommerce ForestChoice and Pencil World sites in addition to taking on Jeanette’s other duties. Fortunately, with some part time support from Jeanette through this transition we were able Paula was able get up to speed and continues to maintain our commitment to 100% positive feedback.

We’re also currently in the midst of additional transitions here in our offices. After 18 years in our corporate headquarters buliding we’ll be relocating at the end of the month back into CalCedar’s original offices next to the old slat factory here in Stockton. Returning to our roots in a manner of speaking. Going through years of files and reducing everything to fit our downsized offices after moving operations off shore in the past few years is quite an effort. One benefit is that we’re turning up some interesting things for future Vintage and Collectables auctions. Stay tuned.

A few significantly anniversaries of note were missed in the past few months that I’d like to mention.

July 20th – 1st Anniversary of Pencil Revolutions Blog – Like me conrad John has slowed down a bit with new posts. I know he moved this summer, but hope we haven’t seen the last of his interesting pencil ephemera.

August 5th – 1st Anniversary of Timberlines Blog. A bit slow lately, but I do plan to continue my series of posts on industry issues to keep things interesting, not just promotional posts on our products.

September 16th – 1st Anniversary of launch of the Palomino on our Pencil World Creativity Store. Thanks to a inaugural review at Pencil Revolutions the Palominos were out to were let loose from the corral. Now a year later we’re thankful to have a small but growing group of faithful riders and we’re focused on expanding the number of stables housing Palominos through building our retail presence.

Unfortunately I missed being able to celebrate another milestone with my wife, my own wedding anniversary, during my August trip to Asia to visit our factories. During this trip we worked on finalizing some new items for the California Republic product line which will be making their debut in the comming months. The photo in this post shows a few of our new Spangle Jumbo learning pencil items for primary school students.

We have several new eBay listings & additional items in the works. We’ve just relisted our Spangle Halloween pencils at special pricing for the holidays and have coupled them also with a special promotion on our Palomino Wooden Box Color and Graphite pencil sets. Comming along soon we’ll have trial listing on some bulk packed 36 and 72 count Palomino’s on our Pencil World Store. Later in the year some special items for the holidays and as mentioned earlier our office move has turned up a whole range of items for a new series of Vintage & Collectable Pencil eBay Auctions.

I’ll do my best to keep you posted on new developments for the company as well as some further industry related posts I’d like to get t0.

Boing Boing Does Pencils

It’s nice to see the Palomino has reached Boing Boing’s famous directory of Wonderful Things with this post and link to Ninth Wave Design’s November post that anointed the Palomino Hb & 2B pencils as the successors to the famous Blackwing 602. It’s started a whole new range of commenting there at Ninth Wave. I welcome those of you who found their way here to Timberlines as a result.

It’s nice to see a growing group of new customers searching the Palomino out at Pencil World Creativity Store, Pencil Things and Ninth Wave Designs Online the current online sources for Palominos. I knew Boing Boing is big, but wow. We will be busy today & Monday packing up the orders. Thanks for trying us out. I hope y’all enjoy “the ride” and take a friend along with you.

If you like what you see and you’d like to see the Palomino get more established at retail please talk to your favorite art, gift, museum or small stationery shop proprietors. We have International Arrivals stocking some of our Palomino & Forest Choice items. They are set up to service these types of small independent retailers that typically want much smaller minimum order volumes.

Making Music with the Palomino

I received the attached photo and note from Matt Downey demonstrating how he’s using our Palomino pencils for his musical efforts.

“Hey here is what is called a sketch, rough musical ideas on paper that will eventualy find their way into a peice. In this case the second movement of a string quartet. I love sketching with this Palomino pencil. The line is good and dark and the lead is nice and smooth. The wood has that smell (you know the one I mean) and it is all so conductive to the creative impulse in me. Sketching could be called material generation for the purpose of composing but I like to think of it as composing anyway even though it is so incomplete.-Matt

PS – I think you can spy a Mongol chilling in the backround. play an I SPY game with it.”

Yeah, I see it there in the corner and am glad to spot a ForestChoice pencil as well. Thanks for sharing and keep on creating.