Left to right:
General's Cedar Pointe, Pentel Clic Eraser, Pentel Sharp Kerry, General's Semi-Hex, Palomino HB, Forest Choice HB, and a Musgrave Test Scoring 100 across the bottom.
● The first pencil that popped into my head when considering favorites was the Musgrave Test Scoring 100: that silver pencil at the bottom of the photo. I love these. They may not be perfect, but every time I pick one up, my mind gives a little contented sigh. If I'm ever a famous eccentric writer, these are the pencils people who want to be just like LFP should covet and imbue with magical powers.
● The Pentel Sharp Kerry would have to be my favorite mechanical pencil. It makes for a great pocket or purse pencil since it has a cap. Mine takes 0.5mm leads, which is skinny...but means I can fit long lists or notes on the index cards I carry with me.
● It doesn't really have an eraser, so one of the Pentel Clic erasers accompanies it in my purse pocket.
● The General's Semi-Hex is just a superb all-arounder. Nothing really quirky about it: it's a very high quality classic HB pencil.
● The General's Cedar Pointe is a bit rougher than the Semi-Hex in more ways than one. The lead seems a bit harder than most HBs (which makes it pretty smear-resistant), but can on occasion be a little scratchy. Some days I like that more than others. I love the unfinished cedar, and the way it changes color with time and use. These are so ruggedly handsome they make me a little swoony. They're also reassuringly grippy.
● The Forest Choice HB is also a natural beauty, but with a light seal over the wood so the color remains consistent and they have a more standard smooth feel. These are ubiquitous around my writing spots: early on I bought a HUGE box of them ('cause I like 'em), so I don't feel like I need to ration them. There are Forest Choice pencils in my pencil cups at home and at work, in my carry-around pencil case, by my music stand, in my purse.... They're another reliable all-rounder, they're attractive, and they smell great.
● I feel like the poor Palomino has been a bit overshadowed by its Blackwing brethren. Which is sad, really. These may not get the flashy marketing (as much, anyway), but they are beautiful pencils, nicely finished and smooth writing. One of these days I want to try some 2Bs. Those I currently have are HB.
Although not in the photo, I *could* give honorable mention to serveral others. A few examples: I like Ticonderogas (the Chinese ones), USA Gold, General's Test Scoring 580s, Golden Bears, Helix Oxfords, and yes, the Palomino Blackwing 602s (haven't tried the other flavors), though maybe not enough to justify the price and the fact that the oversized ferrule starts getting in the way when the pencil gets short.
What are your favorites?