This marks another addition to the regular feature here at little Indiana: Indiana Blogs! If you are an Indiana Blogger, please use the contact form and send me an email. You may be featured right here on little Indiana.Woodclinched is an Indiana blog that enjoys the art of the pencil and all the accessories that go with it!
Really, it’s rather fascinating. There are far more pencils out there than the old, familiar yellow #2’s.
Different colors, textures, and shapes by all sorts of manufacturers and located all over the world. Who knew the humble pencil was so well-traveled and worldly?
Indiana Blogs: Woodclinched
Why did you start Woodclinched?
I’ve been blogging in general since LiveJournal’s heyday and I was in college — 2003-2004-ish. That was when Facebook was still only at a select number of schools, and Friendster and MySpace weren’t really great for my circle of friends — mostly writers. We’d use our blogs to give updates, share links from around the internet, and what-have-you. I moved around a lot, from LiveJournal to Blogger to WordPress, and finally bought Welfle.com to host my blog.
When Facebook really started becoming popular, my blog sat dormant. I really missed long-form writing, and wrote a review of this sampler pack of wooden pencils I had just bought online, at PencilThings.com. They were great quality, and really caught my attention. When I sent that review to the proprietor, he asked me if I wanted to write product reviews and pencil-related editorials on his company blog for free stuff! Of course I said yes.
I did that for a couple of years, and between my blogging and his, we amassed quite a following. Turns out, a lot of people are interested in what younger, tech-savvy people have to say about wooden pencils.
PencilThings.com eventually changed ownership, and the blogging initiative faded. I decided to start my own pencil blog in 2010, and thus was born Woodclinched.com!
What about that name? Why Woodclinched?
“Woodclinched” is the term Eberhard Faber, a pencil manufacturer, gave to the process of sandwiching two planks of wood around a graphite core, which actually forms the pencil. It’s stamped on the barrel of old EF pencils. They’ve since let that trademark expire, and that domain was free! So I snapped it up.
What are three of your most favorite posts?
- My most popular post, (and one that I really like, too) is about Yikes! pencils. If you’re like me and was a child of the 90s, you may remember this line of brightly colored, uniquely shaped wooden pencils marketed to kids. I still had a bunch of them, and someone gave me some more, so I wrote about them. I did some research and found the original marketing brand brief about what they were for, what accessories existed, and what happened to them. I get at least 10 people day surfing to my blog from Google because they’re interested in those pencils.
- I also really like my review of David Rees’ book, “How to Sharpen a Pencil.” I got an advance copy of the book from the publisher, and was the first to publish a review. The book is hilarious, informative, and really a great blend of parody and actual information.
- It hasn’t been a super popular post, but I really like a review of Rhodia notepads that I wrote, originally on the PencilThings.comblog, and then re-posted to Woodclinched. It was fun to write, and I really, really love that product.
What keeps you ready and raring to post? Why do you blog?
I just like to write, honestly. I went to school for journalism, and throughout my teens and young adulthood, I wanted nothing more to work at a newspaper. Once I graduated and saw that, well, the newspaper industry wasn’t really booming, I looked elsewhere for a profession and took up writing as a hobby.
That, mixed with my interest and passion for writing instruments, led me to this topic.
I’ve found that if I restrict the niche of my blog, it’s so much easier to find things to write about. I write about pencils and their accessories (paper, erasers, etc.), and specifically wooden pencils, and I sometimes have people sending me things they’d like to see me write about!
What can people expect when they hop onto your blog?
A passion for pencilnalia. I try to find a good mix between informative, journalistic writing and casual, conversational voice.
You don’t just stop at Woodclinched, you’ve got a slew of other blogs! Care to elaborate?
I write for my personal blog at Welfle.com, for my employer’s blog about tech and web development stuff, and — this is a really exciting one, for me — at Medium.com. This is a fairly new startup by Ev Williams, the founder of Twitter and Blogger, and is a publishing platform. It’s absolutely beautiful, and the physical act of writing there is a joy. It’s kind of a cross between an online magazine and a decentralized blog. (here’s a post I wrote about Medium for my blog.)
I noticed you have a thing for pencils. How did that get started?
It’s that obvious, huh? I’ve always loved writing instruments — typewriters, pens, pencils, word processors, you name it. I’m also a big collector, and when I thought about what I might like to collect, I realized that typewriters were too big for which to amass a decent collection, and fountain pens — also an interest — were too expensive. Pencils are great because they are small and cheap. You can fit dozens of them in a cigar box (which I buy for a quarter at a local tobacconist), and generally, they don’t cost more than a dollar or so, on the high end.
There’s a whole lot of other practical and philosophical reasons I love pencils. I wrote a guest post for a UK fountain pen shop’s blog about just that. Check it out.
Is there anything else that you would like little Indiana readers to know about you or your blog?
There’s a lot of twee, hipster posts out there about lo-fi living, about why to always drink loose leaf tea and to shave with a straight razor. Even in the office supply world, there’s a resurgence of back-to-basics, vintage Americana notebooks (like Field Notes or the like. I do love Field Notes and wooden pencils, but I also an an unabashed technophile. I think that, for the most part, the internet improves our lives, and that loving pencils aren’t in opposition to that. Just for the record.
Also: A word or two about Indiana. I am a native to Fort Wayne, and have lived here my entire life. I actually had a chance to move to California to work for a pencil company, and while there were several reasons I turned it down, one of them is that I have a strong connection to my family, friends and community here. Fort Wayne — and Indiana in general — is little, and if you invest in that community emotionally, it’s very rewarding. I’m on the board of Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana, and one of the things we try to do is to attract and retain young professionals to our part of Indiana. To be honest, it’s easier than I would have originally thought. We have a lot going for us.
Can I Borrow a Pencil?
It reminds me of a wonderful blue pencil I used and loved that had belonged to my grandfather many, many long years ago–at least until Lisa asked to borrow it for a test back in high school and never gave it back. Kidding aside, as a fellow lefty, I totally understand the preference for pencil over pen! Thanks Andy for popping over to little Indiana today!
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