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Where Rugged Vintage Style Meets Modern Design. Proudly Made in America.

18 Feb '16

Fountain Pen Time!

Ok, I'll admit, this has been LONG overdue.  From the early days of the Twist Bullet Pencil I've had the thought (and many of you have commented) that a fountain pen attachment is a must.  I knew little about them, now I actually know a little and thanks to some great customers/friends I'm finally comfortable enough to make this a reality.  

We've got a start, a very crude one, but it seems like the basics are in place.  The main requirement that the "tube" remain the same has been met so anyone with a Twist tube can now use either a pencil, ballpoint or fountain pen.  Over the next few weeks a little nip here and tuck there and we should be ready to add a third option to the Twist line up.

Check out the first prototype video pinned on our Facebook page here and give us a like while you are at it.  https://www.facebook.com/metalshopct/videos/577859732379075/

02 Sep '15

Some Twist Bullet Pencil Reviews...

Its been about a year since we first introduced the Twist Bullet Pencil.  This time last year we had our pre-production prototypes in place and were beginning the build out of the Kickstarter campaign.  I figured I would put together a list of reviews written about the Twist.  If I missed anyone please let me know and I'll add it to the post.

The Gentleman Stationer

Reverenced Writing

Wood Clinched 

Pen Paper Pencil

The Finer Point

Comfortable Shoes Studio

Pens 'N' Coffee

Super Fun Time

Stay The Course

Early photo used for the Kickstarter campaign

04 Aug '15

Twenty Things You Didn't Know About Pencils

This one is a bit old but still fun.  From Discover Magazine.  20 things you may not know about pencils.

1.  There is no risk of lead poisoning if you stab yourself (or someone else) with a pencil because it contains no lead—just a mixture of clay and graphite. Still, pencil wounds carry a risk of infection for the stabees, lawsuits for stabbers.

2.  And bad juju for anyone linked to Watergate: In his autobiography, G. Gordon Liddy describes finding John Dean (whom he despised for “disloyalty”) alone in a room. Spotting sharpened pencils on a desk, Liddy fleetingly considered driving one into Dean’s throat.

3.  Graphite, a crystallized form of carbon, was discovered near Keswick, England, in the mid-16th century. An 18th-century German chemist, A. G. Werner, named it, sensibly enough, from the Greek graphein, “to write.”

4.  The word “pencil” derives from the Latin penicillus, meaning—not so sensibly—“little tail.”

5.  Pencil marks are made when tiny graphite flecks, often just thousandths of an inch wide, stick to the fibers that make up paper.

6.  Got time to kill? The average pencil holds enough graphite to draw a line about 35 miles long or to write roughly 45,000 words. History does not record anyone testing this statistic.

7.  The Greek poet Philip of Thessaloníki wrote of leaden writing instruments in the first century B.C., but the modern pencil, as described by Swiss naturalist Conrad Gesner, dates only to 1565.

8.  French pencil boosters include Nicolas-Jacques Conté, who patented a clay-and-graphite manufacturing process in 1795; Bernard Lassimone, who patented the first pencil sharpener in 1828; and Therry des Estwaux, who invented an improved mechanical sharpener in 1847.

9.  French researchers also hit on the idea of using caoutchouc, a vegetable gum now known as rubber, to erase pencil marks. Until then, writers removed mistakes with bread crumbs.

10.  Most pencils sold in America today have eraser tips, while those sold in Europe usually have none. Are Europeans more confident scribblers?

11.  Henry David Thoreau—American, but a confident scribbler all the same—used pencils to write Walden. And he probably got them free. His father owned a pencil-making business near Boston, where Henry allegedly designed his own pencils before becoming a semi-recluse.

12.  In 1861, Eberhard Faber built the first American mass-production pencil factory in New York City.

13.  Pencils were among the basic equipment issued to Union soldiers during the Civil War. (I wonder if they made bullet pencils?)

14.  The mechanical pencil was patented in 1822. The company founded by its British developers prospered until 1941, when the factory was bombed, presumably by pencil-hating Nazis.

15.  Je suis un crayon rouge. After the 1917 Soviet revolution, American entrepreneur Armand Hammer was awarded a monopoly for pencil manufacturing in the USSR.

16.  More than half of all pencils come from China. In 2004, factories there turned out 10 billion pencils, enough to circle the earth more than 40 times.

17.  Pencils can write in zero gravity and so were used on early American and Russian space missions—even though NASA engineers worried about the flammability of wood pencils in a pure-oxygen atmosphere, not to mention the menace of floating bits of graphite.

18.  Those concerns inspired Paul Fisher to develop the pressurized Fisher Space Pen in 1965. After the Apollo 1 fire, NASA banned pencils in favor of his pen on manned spaceflights.

19.  The world’s largest pencil is a Castell 9000, on display at the manufacturer’s plant near Kuala Lumpur. Made of Malaysian wood and polymer, it stands 65 feet high.

20.  At the other extreme, engineers at the University of California at Santa Barbara have used an atomic force microscope as a kind of pencil to draw lines 50 nanometers (two millionths of an inch) wide. Just because they could.


24 Jul '15

Just the Facts - Comparing the Midori Bullet Pencil to the Twist Bullet Pencil

Posted by Jon Fontane in bulletpencil, metalshop, metalshopct, midori, notebook, traveller

I’ve recently had a couple of people ask me what makes the Twist Bullet Pencil different from the Midori Bullet Pencil and why is it almost $20 more.

So here goes, no opinion, just the facts.


Midori - .3oz

Twist - .7oz

Note the Twist used for this was our anodized red aluminum body with a brass bullet. The Midori is a brass body with aluminum bullet.

Length (closed):

Midori - 3.75”

Twist - 4.5”

Length (open):

Midori - 5.5”

Twist - 6.25”


Midori - Proprietary Midori Pencil

Twist - Blackwing 602


Midori - None

Twist - Two additional Blackwing 602 pencil nubs and one additional eraser.


Midori - Traditional friction bullet pencil fit. Pencil nub friction fits into the bullet, bullet friction fits into the body.

Twist - Threads, all insertion points on the Twist are threaded so the pencil twists into the bullet and the bullet twists into the body.

Accessories & Other:

Midori - Pocket clip standard, body made from brass, available in traditional brass color, white or brown.

Twist - Pocket clip and cap system available, multiple bullet styles and materials, pen option that is modular with existing body, body options include brass or aluminum, aluminum colors options include black, red, green, royal blue, navy blue and orange (all anodized).  Also available in raw untreated brass and aluminum.

Made in:

Midori - Japan

Twist - America


Midori & Twist Closed:

Midori & Twist Open:

A little blurry but showing difference in body wall thickness: