Of all the pencils I’ve ordered from China, the Deli brand somehow stands out to me. Perhaps its the sheer volume of different lines they have, or their success in luring me in with branding and aesthetics, but I’d say something about the company also indicates a quality product. Sad to say, and despite the numerous examples I have practically exploding from my to-review drawer, I’ve only actually reviewed one of their pencils (the S905) since I was turned on to them! And that’s hardly enough of a sample size to make an argument with any merit about quality.
So today, that’s going to change. One box of pencils I’ve been sitting on (not literally, ouch) for quite some time is the tri-barreled Deli 37106 in HB grade, which appears to be among a new line of pencils that the Chinese manufacturer began putting out at some point in the last year or so. So here, without further delay, are my notes from my latest pencil experiment.
Before I was a pencil nerd, I was a film photo nerd. Taking photos on film was my original analog pleasure. Of course, I remember when I was a kid and all photos were taken on film. Then things started going digital when I was a teen in the late 90’s and early 00’s and I was quick to jump onboard, first by getting my film scanned to CD rather than prints, later by buying a scanner so I could have the “best of both world”, then finally by becoming the first among my friends to own a digital camera. Eventually things kind of came full-circle in the 2010s. At one point I noticed that people had started putting bad filters on digital photos to make them look more like film. It kind of hit me how silly it is to make poor imitations of film photos when I can just take photos on film to begin with. (Believe it or not, I’m going somewhere with this).
So, even though pencils are my latest analog nerd craze, film photography has a special place in my heart (and as an aside, the lack of good sunlight for taking blog photos now that it’s winter in Alaska is killing me, so please excuse the crappy office lighting in these pics). Needless to say that when I saw the Deli 668 sharpener — cleverly disguised as a small twin-lens reflex camera — I kinda had to have it. But, cuteness aside, is it a viable replacement for the Deli 610 or the Carl Angel 5? That was the question on my mind as I dug in for this review.
There are many pencils made in China. In fact, something like 50% of the world’s pencils are manufactured there. However, approximately 80% of them are manufactured for export — pencils such as the Dixon Ticonderoga, for example. But if you’ve read my review of the Chung Hwa 101, you know that I’m very curious about Chinese domestic brands. One of those brands is the curiously-named Deli company.
I have a bit of a hypothesis that it’s probably the brands that we in the West have never heard of that make the highest-quality pencils in China. It makes sense to me that those are the products that Chinese people want to buy, and that the random factories churning out shoddy pencils have to resort to exporting no-name products to the big box stores for pennies, because no one there wants to buy their crap. So where do products from Deli fit into all of this? Is the Deli S905 a solid product that we are missing out on here in the States? Or is it a cut-rate excuse for a writing instrument? Or is my hypothesis totally bunk?
I picked up some more future review material. Hope you don’t mind if I give you a little preview of what’s coming down the pipe.
The Chung Hwa 6151 and the Deli S905 are Chinese pencils made for domestic (to them) consumption. I reviewed the Chung Hwa 101 2B a while back and it left a positive impact on me, so I thought I’d give its more prolific stablemate (the 6151) a try. I have yet to review or even try any Deli products (except for their hand-crank sharpener, which I haven’t reviewed, but may do a write-up on since it’s great and I use it on the daily) but they are all over AliExpress and have a ton of different product lines. My impression is that they are popular in China, so I thought I’d better see what that’s all about.