From NOPEX to WOAHPEX (sorta)
So for all of you that know me a little bit, you know that I HATE WOPEX pencils. For the uninitiated, WOPEX pencils are not made of just wood, but instead made up of a wood/plastic composite that uses 70 percent wood and the rest is plastic. From the Staedtler website: "Granulates of all components are processed in a special manufacturing procedure. The pencil materials are melted at temperatures between 130 and 180°C, aligned by means of a tool and then moulded to a pencil shape. The initial outcome is an endless pencil strand which is cooled prior to cutting to the appropriate pencil length and then stamped and sharpened." So, ok. It's not a wooden pencil like a Blackwing or a Ticonderoga, but it's a pencil nonetheless, so it should do just job just as good, right? WRONG. I have a few problems with the WOPEX. I dislike sharpening the thing. It's smooth sharpening, but gunks up my Classroom Friendly sharpener and dulls blades on others. I felt bad for this little pencil. My strong dislike for this pencil came from a first experience with it, so really, I had not used a WOPEX for any length of time. I figured I'd give it a second shot and if anything, find some justifiable reasons for hatred other than "it eats my sharpeners." Sharpening the WOPEX was the same experience as I had previously-- it was nice and smooth although I cringed at what it was probably doing to the blade. I spent an entire day writing with it and my bubbling cauldron of hatred seemed to simmer a bit. Yes, I still did not like the thing, but I was beginning to understand why.
One of the biggest reasons I use analog tools is because I like the tactile feel of things and the experience as a whole. The WOPEX does not deliver on that. When I write, I do not get the feedback like I do with a traditional wood pencil. The WOPEX is also a bit heavier than the standard pencil and its finish is very rubbery feeling. The graphite in the WOPEX actually isn't that bad. The point retention is great and if you are writing on toothy paper, the WOPEX really shines. Its graphite is a bit lighter than I like, but that is something you sometimes have to sacrifice for point retention. I was pleasantly surprised this week when I was using the WOPEX. Sharpening was a chore and the eraser on the pencil is garbage (not as bad as Musgrave though), but I gave it a chance. Perhaps that is the lesson here. Don't let your first experience with something be your only experience. I still don't love the WOPEX, but I don't hate it either. It does what a pencil should do-- write. A lot of times us reviewers have a limited amount of time with a product due to the fact we want to publish content on a regular basis. I think what this experience taught me was that I need to revisit some of my earlier reviews and see if things have changed. Reviewing something is entirely subjective, so thing can and will change. So yeah. WOPEX. Sorta OK?