Over the last two weeks I have carried one of the very pretty vermilion red Archer pencils from Baron Fig with me and have used it as my first choice for notes and little sketches I do when I am between places. The S&L is a very delicate creature and I did all I could without going overboard to protect it from harm. This is not a pencil that you want to drop or take into a workshop.
Forget using a regular pencil sharpener with this one. I found that the core hates to be twisted. Knives are my tool of choice for sharpening and the S&L probably should only be sharpened this way. I tried the BW long point as it is usually a reliable backup and the lead gave way on the second turn. I have a tendency to sharpen a pencil that looks like a vampire killing weapon, but with the S&L I held back as I could tell an extra long point would shatter.
Instead of putting a cap on the S&L, I kept it inside a BF Confidant that I use an elastic to keep closed. I wanted to see if I could keep the point intact this way. I managed to succeed with this. I broke the tip off the lead twice, but only because I had it in my jacket pocket. There was a third incident where a work college picked it up from my desk and applied ballpoint pen like pressure to it to sign a paper. It lasted less than a second. It is clear that this pencil has been made not for general every day office use. Maybe it would survive a life in a design firm where its quality would be appreciated, but I am now keeping it out of reach.
I do not compare one pencil to another when I use them. This is probably due to my artist training as when I pick up a brush or any mark making tool, I assess it for what it can do alongside other materials. The S&L is a great soft lead pencil that I would carry with other harder pencils to give me a broad tonal range. It is also a feather weight so it really is trying to tell whoever uses it to be gentle.
I wrote two pages of text with it, maintaining a really light hand and I have decided that this is how the pencil is meant to work. There is no point trying to make a pencil do something it simply is not made for. I get the feeling that many who have not liked this pencil are not able to adapt to its nature.
This is a really sort review as I am at work and do not have a lot of time to spare. I am really happy I paid for 2 dozen of these and I intend keeping one on hand for as long as they last.