Thrifty Tips pt.1

by Scribble Monboddo

Now, we're all basically broke these days, aren't we? Or it feels like it, at least. So the least we can do here on your favourite source of pocketable nick-nacks and notebooks is share a few handy tactics to extract the maximum value from cool stationery items. Times are hard, sure, but none of us want to be reduced using a Bic, for heaven's sake.

Where to start? Well, here's a stub of an idea; make your posh pencils go further. There's no need to jettison that fancy graphite when it's worn down to the final few centimetres - you just need... drum roll... a pencil extender. OK, OK, it doesn't sound like the coolest gadget ever, but they can actually be very groovy indeed. Here are three in current use around these parts:

First up, the humble but very effective e+m Peanpole, which is essentially an extra half a pencil wood case, sans graphite and equipped with a steel collar. It doesn't cost much, and it repays the modest expenditure fairly quickly if you're getting through Blackwings - just twist off the ferrule first.

Second, one of the many versions of Faber-Castell's 'perfect pencil'. There are all-plastic versions of this which are even cheaper, but they all have the secret weapon of a fully functional pencil sharpener hidden in the cap. The catch is that only the narrower sort of round-bodied refill fits, but these are not unique to F-C. Viarco's Vintage Violetta fits, for a start. A handy treat.

Third, and priciest, the Makers Cabinet Ferrule, which Nero will happily sell you when he can acquire further stock (they're sold out at the time of writing, because they're brilliant). These will accommodate just about any pencil, and hold it tight enough to use it right down to the last couple of centimetres. It works, it looks cool - and it's economic, honestly.

Keep scribbling; you can still afford that, at least!