Saturday, February 04, 2006

Faber-Castell Grip 2011 Mechanical Pencil Review

Faber-Castell Grip 2011 0.7 Mechanical Pencil
I should not have purchased this pencil. It doesn't fit the themes that my collection is based around. It breaks the rules, but rules were made to be broken and I'm glad I did. I had a great week test driving (writing?) with this pencil. It has really challenged a few of my prejudices and pre-conceived notions.
So, lets get straight to the point, the Faber-Castell Grip 2011 0.7 silver mechanical pencil is the best buy I have made in quite a while - its not the best pencil, but it has certainly made me sit up and take notice.
One of the themes or rules of my collection is that I don't really like or collect pencils with rubber grips. They wear, they get dirty, they discolour, I don't really like that spongey feel, the list just goes on. The Grip 2011 has rows of rubber grip dots up its length! This is probably the main feature of the pencil, after all they did call it the Grip. These dots certainly do let you get a good firm grip on the pencil without having to squeeze hard, and going all the way up the body you can hold it wherever you like, you are not forced to hold by the hated "designated rubber grip section". The rows of dots actually become decorative, not just functional, and somehow they don't trigger my "anti-rubber grip" response. Perhaps this is because they are just small thin dots. You are still grasping a fair amount of good hard normal plastic as well. At the end of the day these dots look good and work.
The body of the Grip 2011 is a medium sized triangular section which also helps you get a firm grasp of it. The tip section is metal, tapering to a point. The final part is a retractable metal tapering sleeve. As such this pencil is clearly not intended for draughting work. With a 0.7mm lead it is an everyday writing pencil. The weight is about what you would a expect, but a little light for me considering its reasonably substantial size. The pocket clip is a nice solid looking spring loaded metal design. You can tell that they put some real thought into the overall look and feel of this pencil.
Obviously this is a push top ratchet mechanism pencil, but under the top button lurks a real surprise - a serious eraser! The eraser is a relatively normal 5mm diameter, but it is loaded into a screw cartridge that lets you wind it out as the eraser is worn down. You have about 16mm of length to use, so its a mini auto-eraser. And its a decent vinyl compound that really works. This really is a great idea for a mechanical pencil, other manufacturers should take note.
Unfortunately it is also flawed. The cartridge isn't really all that secure within the body of the pencil, so when you pull the top button off sometimes the eraser stays in the pencil and sometimes it comes out, stuck inside the top button. Maybe thats what's supposed to happen, but it should do one thing or the other. It just takes the gloss of an otherwise fantastic idea.
This mechanical pencil comes as loose open stock - no packaging.
  • Best Points - The rubber grips dots that don't feel like rubber grips, and the eraser.
  • Not So Good Points - The eraser.
  • Overall Rating - If you are a pencil person, you need this pencil.
  • Price Range - Low

Dimensions - 147mm long, triangular body with 11mm sides. Balance point about 80mm up from tip.

NOTE - The Faber-Castell Grip range is available as wooden or mechanical pencils. Fantastic!! See Pencil Revolution (www.pencilrevolution.com) for a review of the wooden Grip 2001.

17 comments:

Def Jeff said...

nice,...,...,... ya...

alye fantastico said...

i was surprised to see this pencil at my local office depot. it was part of a gift pack along with a ball point version of the 2011. i've been really pleased with both, although i have also experienced trouble with the eraser cover. i also traded out the ball point for a parker gel refill. overall, a very unique design, supplemented with equally satisfying performance.

mahathir said...

i bought this today without knowing how good it was. it was nice bumping into your review while looking for spare eraser refills! great site!

Max said...

Hi Dave,

I must agree with you about rubber grips in general. But this one actually does it's job but is still quite pleasant to hold. Although, I don't hold mine in as high regard as my Lamy 2000 or Scribble it's still a wonderful pencil. In fact, I don't think you can get a better pencil for the price. It's a great everyday pencil. It's got a fair price, an excellent quality for the price, and it doesn't roll off the table. So if you use pencils at work: Get one!

Anonymous said...

Has anyone seen the blue ones "in the flesh"?
I am tempted by the bright colour of the blue (magpie am I) but also think the silver is classic.

Anonymous said...

I have the matt blue ballpoint and it looks gorgeous. The matt finish looks really good, for a change from ultra-gloss. I'm not quite so convinced about everything else, but it's still a good pen.

Maybe someone should look at Faber-Castell's "Basic" range, which includes a wood-barelled plastic-grip model, Cult Pens link here: http://www.cultpens.com/acatalog/Faber-Castell_Basic_Wood.html
There's a metal-barelled version too, but that has the dreaded rubber grip :))

andrew said...

I wish the Faber Castell Grip 2011 was at my local Office Depot. All they have is the Faber Castell E-Motion ballpoint pen... not even the pencil! =(

The first time I saw this pencil on the web, I thought about those rubber dots along the pencil. They look like they'll fall off over time, and I was slightly repelled by the idea of a pencil with half its side bare of rubber dots. Plus, I thought the eraser was probably another itty bitty eraser that was no use. Guess I was wrong in some points.

Dave, how is your pencil currently? Any signs of loose rubber dots, wear and tear, etc?

kiwi-d said...

Hello Andrew
My pencil is no different from when i reviewed it. It's not one that I use regularly, so I cannot really comment on its durability.

Peter said...

I've been trying to track this one down for a while now! I know I can order one from Corporate Express at work, but I suspect someone would question a $20 pencil! I've just bought the woodcase version, and I'm a fan so far. Just have to hunt around the local shops and see what I can get.

nontimeosedcaveo said...

Peter, if you're prepared to deal internationally, you can buy them by mail order from Cult Pens in the UK, http://www.cultpens.com/

Anonymous said...

Managed to land one of the Silver Grip 2011's and I'm reasonably impressed by its quality but not the price - 25AUD (16USD). It would be a far better pencil in 0.5 - I have to do too much pencil turning (which is difficult with a triangular pencil) to keep a clear line. As usual I'll have to pay big bikkies for overseas postage to get the one I really wanted in matt blue. I won't bother unless it comes out in a 0.5 model.

Anonymous said...

The dots can´t really wear/fall off. When you push a dot a little to the side with your fingernail you will see that the rubber comes from inside the pencil, where is kind of a rubber layer.

Anonymous said...

I had this for over a year and half and used it extensively (every day of my b-school) Excellent pencil. The dots don't fall off. I didn't have any problems with the eraser also.

I bought mine at Selfridges (in London) for GBP5

Anonymous said...

I have been using this pencil and the accompanying pen since 2007 -- I saw them in one of the shops at Singapore airport. They looked pretty cool and I bought the grey/anthracite ones. I use them regularly/every day in my work writing. I have been thru several boxes of lead and refills for the pen. I could not agree more -- one of the best writing instruments that I have bought (altough a little pricy for everyday use). My kids have started using mine when I am not around and have been bugging me to buy them a pencil of their own.
If anyone knows where I can pick them up for a reasonable price Stateside then I would appreciate the information.

Anonymous said...

This pencil is still available to Bulgaria, I can buy some for you (around 12 USD), need to check the shipping.

PaddlePressure said...

I bought mine from Executive Essentials in Chicago a few years ago. They still list them on their website: http://www.executiveessentials.com/Faber-Castell-Grip-2011-Pencil-Silver/FC-PP-131211#reviews

Wally said...

I actually like this one so much that i bought it twice, i lost my first, and i just went on a graphite binge and bought it again, i got a good deal too, about US. $6.75, no cartridge problems with this new one.