Ryan Aghdam

Pencil Review: USA Gold #2 Pencils

Before heading into a movie at Assembly Row1 we stopped off at K-Mart2 to buy some soon-to-be contraband bottled water. Who pays $7 for a soda? When looking for the refrigerated beverages, I found an end cap with pre-sharpened U.S.A Gold #2 pencils.

I hadn’t used one before and they were only $1.49 for a package of ten. The package made them seem great, boasting the following:

  1. Premium American cedar
  2. Sharpens evenly
  3. Superior strength lead
  4. Quality erasers

So, does the U.S.A. Gold #2 perform as the package claims?

First off, they are made with cedar which seems to be good quality. You’ll find a hint of a cedar scent if you were to hold it up to your nose, something I’d suggest doing only in private. When sharpening3, the wood is cut smoothly and without any unexpected knots.

The barrel of the USA Gold #2, showing it's labelling.
The barrel of the USA Gold #2, showing it's labelling.

The few test pencils I have sharpened have done so fairly evenly. They’re not perfect (like a Palomino Blackwing) but they’re pretty good when the price is taken into consideration.

After a day of moderate (by my standards) use, the lead didn’t break. It’s perfectly adequate.

The erasers work well. Little graphite is left behind; there is negligible smudging; and the eraser dust doesn’t snake.

A few additional observations:

The eraser end of the pencil
The eraser end of the pencil

To sum up, these are above-average American-made pencils sold at a below-average price. If you’re not willing to spend Palomino (so fancy!)4 money, these are a pretty safe bet.

Close-up of the pre-sharpened point.
Close-up of the pre-sharpened point.
  1. The theater did not live up to expectations. Despite being fairly new, it looked abused and wasn’t very clean. Only some of the seats reclined, too. We saw Jurrasic World; it sucked. 

  2. It was my first and last time going to K-Mart. 

  3. With an Alvin Brass Bullet Sharpener

  4. Oh, it’s so fancy. Sew fahunseh