Photo by Michael Leddy
I'm not the only person to have received a pre-production version of the Blackwing pencil made by California Cedar. So did several other Faber Eberhard Blackwing 602 enthusiasts, and many of them have already commented about them on their blogs.
Michael Leddy of Orange Crate Art said, "Writing with the new Blackwing is a pleasure," but believes (as I do) "the visual appeal of this pencil is likely to be as important to potential customers as the quality of the lead."
Sean of The Blackwing Pages (yes, an entire blog devoted to the Blackwing 602) said the lead is "incredibly smooth, and certainly worthy of the 'Blackwing' name," and that the pencil's distinctive ferrule "is an improvement on the old design insofar how it is attached to the pencil; it feels very solid." As to the white eraser, he is "on the fence ... it may be too much of a departure" from the original (and admittedly lousy) pink eraser.
For a good introduction to the original Blackwing 602, read Pencil Talk's article. Don't miss the photos of Eberhard Faber's other pencils (near the bottom of the article) with their achingly beautiful typefaces and colors.