Friday, June 09, 2006

Guestbook 3

At over 150 comments, the old guestbook page was getting rather long so I thought it best to start a new page. You can find the old one directly below this new one via the older posts link at the bottom of the page. So, here’s the place to leave any general comments, brickbats and bouquets. I won’t promise to answer all questions like “What’s the best pencil in the world?”, but I might. I don’t generally recommend retailers except as per my posting on the subject – use the sidebar link. Other than that though, I do like to hear from you, please leave a comment, and I will try to answer or help.

THIS GUESTBOOK PAGE IS NOW CLOSED.
See the sidebar "FAQ's & General" for the current Guestbook.

161 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave, I am looking for mechanical pencil lead that writes dark and is firm. I tend to press hard and have a firm grip when I write. I have been using Paper Mate HB 0.7 and Pentel Hi-Polymer SUPER 0.7mm HB and they seem to break easy. Is there a lead that is more suitable for my writing conditions? I switch between a Pentel Energize Pencil and a Paper Mate Extend Pencil.

Matthew R said...

I'm sure Dave will chime in soon.

In the meantime, have you ever tried a 0.9mm pencil? The lead is a lot more stiff than a 0.7mm, and if you write hard, you'll see a lot less breakage. It also means you can go to a softer lead. I've just discovered 0.9mm in the last year, and I'm trying to decide between HB, B, and 2B.

One thing I've found interesting about 0.9s is that even cheap pencils feel good to me. I can't stand the cheap plastic 0.5s because of the tip feel, but the cheapest 0.9s don't bug me too much---Although I like the expensive ones a lot more.

If you're pushing hard to make the 0.7 HB darker, you might try some B or 2B and see if you can get a dark enough line with less pressure.

kiwi-d said...

Anonymous - Matthew R is right. If you break 0.7mm Pentel then you'll need a thicker lead and 0.9mm is the next step up. You could try holding your pencil more upright, that will reduce breakages.

Anonymous said...

Do you know anyone who does repairs on the old jumbo autopoint pencils? I have ONE favorite one and won't throw it away but the silver piece at the top that holds the eraser has split. Super glue WONT work...Help!!!

Rallekcm said...

Thoroughly enjoy the site. I just bought at a resale shop a cross mechanical pencil, with box.
The Cross only a little longer then the short edge of a credit card, looks to only hold one lead, possibly .7mm. However I was wondering how to load it? With the outer barrel removed, the action the raises and lowers the lead is a helix of brass maybe in which the lead moved up and down. It looks like the lead is inserted and that is that. My problem lies in that I am not sure how to go about removing the little piece of lead that is currently there....

Any help?

T

Rallekcm said...

Got it, .9mm
1o kt gold shorty...

nice...!!!!

Anonymous said...

You have been referenced in the article below and your idea noted below is an exellecnt one!

"I also always carried a pencil with which to write in the notebook - a small stubby remnant of a Staedtler Mars Stenofix 101, protected by a Faber-Castell Grip eraser tip."

I will be getting a few of these for my jackets and flyfishing vest very soom.Thanks, KMD Canada

http://rhodiadrive.com/2009/02/10/face-off-rhodia-field-notes/

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave, I love your site, as I am a student and also an amateur artist. I just recently bought a few Zebra Frisha pencils, which are quite interesting... They have a nice grip, and also are the type of mechanical pencil that you can shake in order to advance the lead. (The tip of the pencil is also kind of springy, which is weird) If you can find any at a local store, you ought to check it out.

kiwi-d said...

Hello KMD - thanks for the note about rhodiadrive. My pencil stub and eraser cap was one of my better decisions, and i still use it frequently. just make sure you go for a fairly blunt tip rather then a long finely sharpened tip. I trust that your pencil and notebook will soon be recording the dimensions and secret fishing spot locations of many fat Canadian trout when the spring thaw comes.

kiwi-d said...

Anonymous - thanks for commenting - glad you like the site. I'll keep my eyes open.

Anonymous said...

Dave - If I don't log on to your site everyday I miss the latest comments. How can I retrieve these missed comments from the "ether" without going through every single review.

Tuppencehapenny

kiwi-d said...

Hello Tuppencehapenny. So firstly thanks for your faithful readership! Unfortunately the Blogger Latest Comments gadget only allows the last 5 comments to show, which isn't really enough. I recall there being some other 3rd-party options available but they required template code editing etc which is a bit scary for a luddite like me. I'll give it a little more investigation, but perhaps someone out there has some ideas?

kiwi-d said...

recent comment widget test

John said...

Wow, this is quite a site! I had no idea there was a world out there of people who appreciate....mechanical pencils! I actually stumbled on this site because I had lost my favorite mechanical pencil. I actually did not know the make and model. I did know it had a "wide" eraser, with a dial to extend the eraser, and it had a retractable metal tip. I have been haunting every office supply place I come across trying to find another one.

At any rate, I've been reading your reviews for a couple hours, at least. I've already bought several of the models...I can't believe I found a site that inflames my PAS!! (pencil acquisition syndrome).

Oh, I am a high school mathematics teacher in Oregon, USA.

BTW, I'm not sure if I've found that old familiar model I liked so well, but I certainly have found a lot of others I will be trying soon.

I'll be checking in often, good evening to you.

kiwi-d said...

Hello John
Well welcome to our little corner of the blogosphere. I'll look forward to hearing of your acquiations when you have them in your hand.
PAS, I like that. Soon however you will need to develope some counter-measure, I call it my auto-defence system, "pencil-blindness". Perhaps though it is like cupboard-blindness and only affects us guys. Maybe a female with PAS will comment on that.

John said...

Hi Dave,
I think my fascination with mechanical pencils was inflamed back in my college days (late 60's, early 70's). I was a Geology major (BS), and we carried drafting mechanical pencils around to write in our field books or mark on maps. I think they were Kohinoor??? The lead was large, probably 2 or 3 mm, about 10 cm long, and we sharpened it with a piece of sandpaper, or a metal file type object. The lead was held in with a prong-like mechanism. It turned out that the prong mechanism was also perfect for holding a "roach". Many of my non-Geology friends began carrying around these mechanical pencils for that purpose, as they were less conspicuous than the usual alligator clip!!

Wow, hadn't thought about that for a long time...wonder if they still sell those type drafting pencils? No eraser, just room for one lead at a time, really. They were always red, and had a gnurled metal area near the lead for gripping.

Gunther said...

The term PAS ist great! I'm another one with that stubborn infection.

Yes, these drafting pencils you have mentioned (also known as leadholders) are still manufactured, sold and used (see the Leadholder museum). Koh-I-Noor is still in the market with these; other manufacturers are STAEDTLER and Faber-Castell (although their produkt range has shrunken considerably).

Anonymous said...

Hello, I'm hoping someone can answer a question regarding mechanical pencils and standardized tests. In the States there is a test called the ACT. The ACT directions say to used a soft #2 pencil and explicitly state no mechanical pencils. Is there really a difference in lead that a scanner could detect, particularly if the student makes a heavy dark mark with #2 mechanical pencil lead? I'm wondering if ACT just made this rule because mechanicals offer more cheating opportunities. Thanks to anyone who can shed some light on the topic.

kiwi-d said...

There are actaully special pecnils made for scantron tests, but they are quite rare. Since there is no standard definition of what a #2 lead is, and one manufacturers #2 differs significantly to anothers #2, I am sure the whole "Must use #2, mechanical pencils are not allowed" is just rubbish. I'd be 99.9% sure the scanner will pick up any dark blob. I'm sure most people making that rule think its because of the scanning, but I don't think thats correct. Many mechanical pencils specifically advertise themselves as "#2", etc.

Anonymous said...

Well in a recent comment on the Pentel Energize I said I liked the pencil but unfortunately my example had excessive tip wobble and extraneous tip noise. Dave found the opposite and he has the Energize ranked in his top 5 for the Economy category. Just so there is no confusion here I would like to rank some of my other pentels I have - and probably the reason I was so outspoken above is because Pentel is my favourite brand and I expect a lot of them.
Pentel Sharp P203,5,7,9 - this is the standard bearer 9.5/10
Pentel Graph600 0.3,0.5- (the graph1000 is still on the way) - great looks, sight lines - colours could be improved (except WHITE which is superb) 8.5/10
Pentel GraphGear1000 .3,.5 - What can I say - unique design, grip that really works - I'm just too reserved to use this in public 8.5/10
Pentel Sharplet-2 .5,(would love to get my hands on the Red 0.3) simple stick pencil - no gimmicks 8/10
Pentel Techniclick PD105T and PD305T- love the clear plastic barrel with colour accents - the 105 is better than the rubber gripped 305 nice functional side clicker 7.5/10.
Pentel Twist Erase .5,.9 - robust and very underestimated, great twist eraser although compound could be better 7.5/10
Pentel Energize PL75 .5, I've said enough on this in other comments - and I know it is a well respected pencil so I will adjust my rating accordingly 7/10
Pentel 120 A3 dx .5,.7 - ok but rather non descript. I have seen people here rave about this pencil but I can't work out why - still it is very functional, just not something I would pickup 6/10.

I know these types of lists make me a sitting duck - but please feel free - I love hearing about others favourite pencils.

2 1/2P

Gary said...

I have a Waterman CF fountain pen / mechanical pencil set. The MP lead is extended and retracted by rotating the rear half. It is a "direct drive" mechanism, meaning the lead movement is proportionate to the rotation. It feels a bit peculiar for someone used to the much more common click action mechanism. I've not experimented with it much, but I'm curious to see exactly where the lead is gripped... which may dictate how much of the lead is used before it becomes too small.

Has anyone else had a MP with this kind of mechanism? Thoughts/opinions?

kiwi-d said...

Hi Gary. The mechanism you describe is what I usually call a screw action mechanism and was the main type up until click actions of the 70's and 80's. You will find quite a few mentioned on this blog, and some refill information on the pencil refills sidebar link.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,
I love your site, since I'm a huge fan of MP's myself, and you seem to dislike most rubber grips. So now I'm curious; can you review the Uni Alpha Gel pencils? I really want to know your opinion on their grip.
~Dr. Grip

kiwi-d said...

Hello Anonymous Dr Grip
Yes, I'm not usually keen on rubber grips. I'm afraid I don't have a Uni Alpha Gel, and have no current plans to import one from overseas. Maybe sometime in the future though.

Gary said...

Hi Dave, thanks for the info. Now that I know what it's called, I should be able to find postings about this type. They take a different kind of refill, or non-standard lead size?

Anonymous said...

Dave,
Does anyone make a good, durable mechanical pencil for 0.7 mm lead with a retractable tip and spring loaded lead? I used to have one but don't remember who made it.
C

Anonymous said...

Fantastic blog! I didn't think there was anyone out there who loved mechanical pencils more than I do. Have you tried the Aristo DK2? I couldn't find them on your blog. I have a 0.35, it has a quite splendor to it, which I've come to appreciate a lot more now that my Graphgear 1000 just broke.

kiwi-d said...

Glad you like the blog. No I haven't tried an Aristo DK2. I don't have any Aristo pencils and I'm not familiar with them.

Anonymous said...

Hi dave, any idea where I can purchase the Tombow Oceanic?

steve

kiwi-d said...

Steve - I think it is long deleted, so eBay is the most likely source.

John said...

Hi, back again after a while. I've found a couple things I really like. The first one is the PaperMate PhD )0.7 mm pencil. It has a large dial-type eraser, and a retractable point. The lead is also spring-loaded. It does have a triangular rubber grip that is tight at this point, but may loosen up as time goes on.
Is there any way to post photos to this guestbook? I'd love to share a photo of my other great find, the Staedtler Halfpipe compass.

John

John said...

Hey Dave; I've read your blog more than once before, and time and again I come across it whilst looking for information on your random everyday and not-so-everyday stationery. It never ceases to amuse and keep me occupied for at least the next couple of hours from when I stumble upon it each time!

Believe it or not, I've made a collection of my favourite quotes from your blog(as if the world hasn't had enough 'have-you-nothing-better-to-do' nutcases). When it expands, do I have your permission to post it as a GoogleDoc? With full credit, certainly.

If at any time you're free to do requests, might I suggest the Pentel A105(Caplet)? I tried looking for it on your blog, but it wasn't listed anywhere. It's a pretty popular mechanical pencil where I'm from, due to its cheap price and fancy choice of colors(though I always pick the orange or white).

I'd consider it a 'consumable', because of how cheap it is, and how it tends not to last, especially if poorly taken care of. Noted are how the tip commonly chips, and that the head tend to break off the threads entirely(they fixed that, I think), especially for furious writers or rough handlers(me). Methinks that's probably what they made the cap for, but it's so much easier to just leave it attached to the end instead of having to cap it back everytime we're done writing!

However, I would be most delighted if you gave your opinion on what makes it such a well-selling auto over here(maybe we just have lousy autopencil requirement standards).

Keep writing! Love to hear back from you.

kiwi-d said...

Hello John
A collection of quotes. Well thats an interesting concept. Could make me look brilliant or a moron, depending on which you choose :-)
Suggest you contact me on my email address up in the blog header.
I don't have an A105 Caplet, so can't review at the moment.

kiwi-d said...

John Part 2. No way to publish photos at the moment. However, I'd certainly consider publishing them as part of a guest article - couple of photos, couple of sentences or a full blown review. Anything considered.

Oregon John said...

There are two Johns on here right now. I'll lay claim to the first John, hereafter known as Oregon John. I asked about posting photos. Can I send you a picture of the Staedtler Halfpipe? I suppose there's an email addy around here somewhere...

kiwi-d said...

Hi Orgeon John. Yep, it's getting a bit confusing. Email me at the gmail address up there in the blog header.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,
I'm in Hamburg, Germany upside down from you and thought you might be interested in google maps' location of rotring

-Arne

http://maps.google.de/maps?ie=UTF8&q=rotring+hamburg&fb=1&split=1&gl=de&cid=3192369244539431053&li=lmd&t=k&ll=53.578834,9.916679&spn=0.001745,0.003374&z=18&iwloc=A

kiwi-d said...

Hi Arne
Thanks for that. I guess we could ferret out all the various brands HQ in a similar manner.
Doesn't living upside down give you a headache? :-)

German said...

Hi!

I was wondering if you could help me! I have been searching for AGES for a brown, brownish .05 or 2.0 mm lead for my pencils!!

I have seen every colour in the rainbow but never a brown! zut alors!

have you ever in your travels happened upon something like this!?

thanks & cheers!
German S.

kiwi-d said...

Hi German. Personally no I don't recall brown lead, but i don't think I've ever gone looking for it.

Anonymous said...

German S. Cult Pens http://www.cultpens.com/acatalog/Koh-I-Noor-2mm-Coloured-Leads.html

2 1/2p

Anonymous said...

Does anybody have any comments about the classic papermate pencils? I'm thinking about looking out for a gold finished one to match my gold papermate ballpoint that I use all the time! I know that PM were famed mostly for pens, so just wondered what the feeling is about their matching pencils? Thanks, Paul.

r1chard said...

Hi, Do you have reviews of Rotring Tikky?
Ever seen Rotring's Art Pencil?
Thanks..

kiwi-d said...

Sorry, no and no.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have any homemade solutions for protecting the lead sleeve on drafting pencils. I use clear PVC 8mm (internal diameter) tubing which is great for the Pentel 200's and other barrels that taper towards the pencil tip - the taper provides a natural locking mechanism for the tubing. This is good for pencil case storage etc but a bit bulky for shirt pockets. There must be someone out there that has found a better method.

2 1/2p

glenn day said...

Help!!
A couple of things I need and have not found after extensive searching.
(1) source for soft colored leads for 9MM mechanical pencil
(2) source for a parker vintage black desk pencil, like goes in a marble desk holder - this is harder to find than I ever imagined.
For what it is worth, I have found 60s vintage cross pencils the best for the money anywhere. People got them in sets and stuck them in drawers. Flea markets have them cheap.
Thanks to anyone who can help with my questions.
Glenn

Peter said...

2 1/2p,

Your comment got me thinking, and I've come up with something similar based on what I have kicking around on my desk.

Grab yourself a short international standard fountain pen ink cartridge. Empty the contents, then cut the top off, so there's only 22mm left above the flat base. A nice, neat fit over the sleeve of a P205. If you've got something with a different taper, you might try different carts, Parker carts have a very slim taper, where Sheaffer are parallel sided. If the taper is too wide, try heating up the cut end of the cart and then press it on.

Just a Thought.
P.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the "tip" Peter - a far more elegant solution than my "house brick method". I put some tiny slits in the tube to help it slide on to the tip easier.

2 1/2p

Anonymous said...

@ Glenn.
Re the desk pencils:
I don’t know if it’s any help, but at Parker 51 http://www.parker51.com/desks.html I’ve seen a few mostly 51 or 61 style, with pencils– don’t know if they’re for sale thought. David Nishimura at http://www.vintagepens.com/catill_desk_sets.shtml has one set for sale right now. A 61 style set pen pencil and ball pen – rather expensive.

As for the leads I would try Pendemonium at http://www.pendemonium.com/index.htm - don’t know if they have any right now but they do carry a vast variety of vintage leads.
Regards Henrik

Anonymous said...

I LOVE YOUR SITE. Right now, I am looking for a pencil. I am an accounting student so that I need to write a lot of numbers fast and in detail. What is good for me? I am thinking of lamy 2000 or staedler 955?(forgot the exact title). Can you recommand me some good MP?
I have emicro jaedo 5000. I would like to see the review of this MD if you have any chances. TY for your time.

Anonymous said...

Can you give us a review for rotring 600?

Anonymous said...

Buying pencils in Kinokuniya (Sydney) is a real surprise sometimes because everything is in Japanese. My recent purchase from there was a SAN-X "Monokuro Boo" Monogrammed MP - I don't usually buy these kitsch type pencils but loved its long slim styling. When I checked Jet Pens looking to find some more information about this pencil I discovered I had bought a UNI Alpha Gel Slim with the San-X monogramming. A very nice pencil and given I'm not a fan of gel grips this one works quite well. This is the only pencil I own where the size (0.5) is not labelled on the pencil. I will now buy the proper Uni Alpha Gel Slim in 0.3.

2 1/2p

kiwi-d said...

Anonymous - sorry, a review of the Rotring 600 is not possible. Strange but true, I don't have a Rotring 600.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

this is sanford/rotring's main entrance in Hamburg:
http://freeimagehosting.net/uploads/87759fd316.jpg

I took this picture a week ago, in the early afternoon.

btw: does anybody know the name of this rotring-type, seen on ebay?
Ebay-No 220399144376
There must be a pencil too, it reminds on the 500 and 600 series

-Arne
:)

kiwi-d said...

Thanks Arne.
Maybe I'll have to start a "Spot your pencil facorty & warehouse" website. Like those celebrity tracking sites :-)

Anonymous said...

"the only pencil I own where the size is not labelled on the pencil". Well that was a dumb comment - I actually have quite a few pencils where the size is not labelled,Pentel XS, Parker various, Staedtler Noris Graphite 771, Zebra Nu spiral - next time I'll check before making dumb comments.

2 1/2p

kiwi-d said...

Well I thought it was unlikely, but then how would I know.
Still, I'd be rich if had a dollar for every dumb comment or article I'd written myself.

Anonymous said...

Actually what that comment above did do, was expose me as someone who does NOT collect VINTAGE MP'S (not yet anyway) or HIGH END pencils etc as I imagine a good deal of those would have no lead size markings on the body. I have no pretensions to collecting stratospheric pencils but good luck to those with bottomless pockets who do.

2 1/2p

kiwi-d said...

Thats a good point. Lead size markings are a relatively recent phenomenom. Older pencils generally have no such markings, and modern high end pencils don't either.

Max said...

Hi all. I hope you'll be able to help me out here... I am looking for a twisting mechanism pencil to keep in a small bag of mine. The reason for wanting twisting mechanism is so that I don't pull off the top ratchet when pulling the pencil out of the bag. I have been looking at something like the Pelikan Epoch but I've heard that it's really light. I'd like it to have some substance without being heavy. A must is a large lead container like Lamy 2000 so I won't have to bring a spare lead container.

I hope you'll be able to help :)

Thanks in advance!

Max

Huw said...

Hi I am looking for a mechanical pencil for around $30. I don't wan't a lid but don't know much about anything else. it also needs to be quite strong, has anyone got any recommendations?

Peter said...

Max;
Have a look at the Inoxcrom Wall St. Nice Pencil, well made. Another would be the Waterman Hemisphere, maybe the Cross ATX. Old Yard-O-Leds and Conway Stewarts are good too, if you're looking for an older style pencil.

Huw; A lid? How do you mean? A lid as in a "cap" that covers the writing point (like a pen) or a lid that covers the eraser and lead storage (like most mechanical pencils)? Additionally, which dollar do you refer to?

crew said...

Hi Dave, do u live in NZ?

kiwi-d said...

Yes I do.

crew said...

Me too, I am in Dunedin. :-)

Anonymous said...

Could someone please tell me the best pencil to use. I need a 1.3 lead. Which hardness and brand should I use. Help!

Kevin H. said...

Dave-I'm torn between three pencils for art class. I have enough money for two, but I'm wondering which two I should get:

Pentel Graphgear 1000 0.5mm
Uni Shift Pipe Lock 0.5mm
Uni Kuru Toga High Grade 0.5mm

Thanks a bundle, man!

kiwi-d said...

Kevin H - personally I'm not familiar with the Uni Shift Pipe Lock so no comment. Do you think the Kuru Toga turn engine is a desirable feature for your artistic work? So, by default then, Graphgear 1000 and maybe Kuru Toga.

Anonymous said...

Kevin - They are great choices, I have all three pencils but I think Daves choices are spot on although you might consider the GG1000 in 0.7 and the pipe lock 0.5mm to give you more variety and useability. Other pencils that you might consider are the Faber Castell Grip Plus 0.7mm (chunky but nice balance and feel) and the Caran d'Ache 0.7mm 844 Metal Pencil - both these pencils are available from CULT PENS UK, no connection just a satisfied customer.

2 1/2p

Anonymous said...

Dave:

What are the differences between ceramic and polymer leads?

Also, what would you rather choose, the Uni High Density Leads or the new Uni Nano Dia Leads?

kiwi-d said...

Ceramic and Polymer leads, check the sidebar link "Lead Composition". I am not yet familiar with Nano Dia so can't say.

Richard said...

For Anonymous who wrote about repairing an old Autopoint who's eraser holder split - this seems to be a common problem on some types of older Autopoints. I tried superglue, some other glues, even soldering (and that was fun) but nothing worked.I found a metal expoy called Quicksteel but haven't used it yet.

The best remedy might be to pick up a vintage Autpoint on eBay and use its eraser holder or order a new one (Autopoint is still around and still selling MPs - www.autopointinc.com) and try its. And if you don't mind creating a frankenpen, some other types fit as well (I used a Ritepoint eraser holder from a broken pencil for an Autopoint that was missing its own - worked fine).

Anonymous said...

Nice Blog! I can't believe I'm not the only pencil freak out here! Anyway, just got back from Office Depot and bought to pencils. I always get the 0.5mm pencils. I was wondering if you could help me. I just got the Sharp Kerry, like it. And a replacement Foray 3 multi function. I like it as well but I'm looking for something built solid but must have a retractable point. (can be put in your pocket without putting a whole in your pocket). So here are the criteria:
1. 0.5mm lead
2. Fully retractable as not to poke a hole in your pant pocket
3. Cannot have a comfort grip (most of that stuff gets gooey or looks nasty over time.)
4. Solid build the Foray is fine and I'll probably keep using it but I'm still looking to "Draw the pen from the stone" then I shall be King!!!

lol, if you could give some direction I'd appreciate it. Thanks

Richard said...

Depends on whether you feel comfortable ordering something via the web or if you want to touch and feel it first in a store. There are a number of good pencils that fit your criteria that you can only get via the web. In the technical drawing aisle of OfficeMax you can get reasonably nice, but kind of expensive, Helix (thought the name on the pencil says Anchor). The vanishing point can be a bit finicky. Another nice, all metal one, comes in a Helix drawing kit for about $10. The pencil itself is my favorite store-bought technical pencil.

Richard said...

Most of the best choices are only available via the web. In stores, OfficeMax has a couple of choices - in the Technical Drawing aisle there is Helix (plastic grip, metal barrel, vanishing point) but it is a bit pricey (~$11) and the quality varies. My favorite store-bought pencil comes as part of a Helix technical drawing kit for about $10 - all metal drafting pencil with vanishing point.

Pencil911 said...

For Anonymous,

Check out the Pilot Vanishing Point 0.5 Pencil. Its got most of the feature you are looking for.

Pencil911 said...

To Max,

Checkout the Uchida Drawing Sharp S,D and E (all rare). Also Eagle made a twist mechanism Pencil but that is rare to find. Colleen also made twist mechanism pencils (very rare to find one).
You can also consider the body knock kind of Pencils from Kokuyo Mistral or the Rotring 900 series.

Peter said...

For Anonymous, directly above,
Not sure what you meant by solid, but I assume you mean something that doesn't feel flimsy and cheap.
I can recommend the Staedtler Triplus Micro, with the only provision being that the pocket clip isn't great. If you can find one, a Pacer Executive is a good thing. They're both fairly inexpensive.

If you're looking more upmarket, almost anything from Lamy is hard to go past. The Rotring 600 has a strong following, but I've not used one.

Hope that this is helpful!

Anonymous said...

Hi. Thanks for your site.

Could you please tell me if there is such a thing as a minimalist pencil. I'd like one without an eraser, rubber grip or clip. Preferably metal, weighted for writing and generally pocket friendly.

For a minimalist pen I guess I'm asking for a lot. Apologies if such a thing is on the site and I didn't see it.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Well in the absence of more knowledgeable suggestions Anonymous, you have me stumped here and as you didn't mention a price range, the closest I have seen to your requirements is the Cleo Skribent SilverSign in sterling silver - around 90-100US https://www.storesonline.com/site/735447/page/897107/Pen%20Lovers. Wouldn't mind getting this one myself BUT just a bit outside my price range. I'm sure though there are other more reasonably priced suggestions. 2 1/2p
2 1/2p

Claes in Lund, Sweden said...

Hi! The most minimalistic pencil I can think of is an ordinary wooden pencil. But if made in metal: how about a Pilot Birdie mechanical pencil? Just google for it.
Have fun!
/Claes

Anonymous said...

I just bought a Lamy Logo Brushed Stainless Steel MP 0.5. Very nice stylish pencil and well balanced but beware of excessive lateral movement of the sprung clip - disaster awaits all but the most gentle user. The grip has 10 fairly deep concentric grooves which work very well and the brushed finish is far less slippery than the polished stainless steel version. I really wanted the Lamp CP1 Titanium Matt Black which has a superb sprung clip but for $125AUD(90USD)thats exhorbitant pricing compared to online. 2 1/2p

Anonymous said...

Where can I find a Mitsubishi ballpen refill SE-7?
It's for a Select 2 Mitsubishi pen/pencil.

Black Lead Nate said...

Hi Dave, your new country counter is cool. I'm glad to see Philippines is the top 25th visitor. :)

kiwi-d said...

Hi Black Lead Nate. Yes I'm rather partial to the Flag Counter myself. I saw it on Kossy's blog, 'On the desk, at any time' so installed one on my blog. It doesn't work quite like it says though. It is supposed to install a cookie and thus not count repeat visits, but it does count repeat visits. Not saying thats good or bad, just its not quite working like claimed.

Black Lead Nate said...

I see. I hope I'm not the only guy in my country visiting your blog. Fellow countrymen, represent! :)

Anonymous said...

Inspired by a comment nearly three weeks ago:

"Also, what would you rather choose, the Uni High Density Leads or the new Uni Nano Dia Leads?"

I ordered some uni NanoDias from California's JetPens. It took some time to Germany but now I know:
NanoDia 0.5mm 2B is a hype in comparison to high polymere leads - not much smoother nor darker - no"blinking lights".
My tests are not finished yet - other sizes/grades - but I'm a little disappointed.
Perhaps Lexikaliker finds out more.

-Arne, Hamburg

Anonymous said...

Arne - I found the smoothness of Nano Dia similar to Pentel AIN - I have a Uni Shift 0.5 with Nano Dia leads. I think their main claim to fame is they are supposedly more long lasting, hard wearing due to the nano diamonds embedded, but this would be very difficult to judge or prove and I certainly won't be straying too far away from my significant stash of Pentel AIN leads.
2 1/2p

Henrik said...

Where's "MAD anonymous", when we need him? He won the J.C. award for testing something similar.

kiwi-d said...

Oh yes! MAD, wherever you are, come back. Boy, have we got a job for you!!!!
Actually I do have something on NanoDia in the pipeline, but I won't be going to any MAD lengths.

Richard Querin said...

Hi Dave,

I'm a big fan of your blog.

Yesterday I picked up something called a Papermate Precision 0.7 mechanical pencil at Wal-Mart up here in Canada. Ever heard of it?

I was actually quite surprised to find it feels more solid than my usual favourite Pentel P205.I'm a structural engineer so the P205 is standard issue around here ;) Anyway, this Papermate thing is comfortable, has a killer strong pocket clip, a slightly weird half-rubber grip, a 4mm fixed sleeve and was only about 4 bucks. I thought for sure you'd have it reviewed, but it turns out I can't find it *anywhere* online. I've checked Papermate's site, Wal-Mart's site, Google and found nothing. I can send you a couple of pics if you've never seen it. I'm really quite impressed with it. The clip end of the body tapers to a weird non circular shape so the pocket clip is really fixed in position. It's quite cool actually.

statuskuo said...

Can you offer a review of this pencil?

Etranger Mechanical Pencil
See pictures at:
http://www.tokyopenshop.com/mechanical-pencils-c-5.html

I used to have a Rotring600. It was stolen when someone broke into the car a long time ago. After Rotring stopped offering it, Levenger became the only source for awhile, but then they stopped too. It was a silver hexagonal one (and yes it was a pencil, not the pen or the FP) and I liked the shape a lot but I did not care for the weight (brass body, which I think some on this board might like, but too heavy for me). The tip didn't retract though, and so there was risk of it catching on fabric, but it was pretty tough and could stab through and maintain without getting bent unlike some pencils I've had.

But I thought it was a very solid instrument: If I met the person who broke into my car that day 9 years ago, and had another Rotring600, I would stab them with it, and the instrument would survive, and he/she would not.

I prefer my Rotring700 MP. (also discontinued.)

kiwi-d said...

Richard - I haven't heard of the Precision. The various national papermates seem to have some country specific pencils. Sure, send a pic to my email address up in the blog header.

Statuskuo - sorry, I don't have that pencil and no current plans to buy it so I can't offer a review. Always happy to publish a guest review though :-)

Anonymous said...

Heres my beef. Why are Blog commenters known as "Blog Commenters". Why don't we have a name that is less cumbersome such as..... "BLOGEE". There, now its off my chest. 2 1/2p

Anonymous said...

Kiwi: Very interested in the Delta DolceVita MP. Possibly you would like to sell me yours? Let me know. DAV

kiwi-d said...

Sorry DAV, it's not for sale.

Anonymous said...

Kiwi: Think about the points you will score with your wife by selling me the Delta DV, and how much closer that puts you towards the Montblanc you just wrote about. DAV

kiwi-d said...

Well I admire your tenactity DAV, but no, I'll be keeping the Delta.

Anonymous said...

Rea the posts and saw a few refrences to the Rotring 600. I have one and have carried it daily in shirt pocket for over 10 years, It's bulletproof. A shame they don't makle it anymore.

Rudy

Anonymous said...

Kiwi: Appreciate your consideration re: your Delta DV. DAV

wes said...

dave what is your favorite multifunction pen

kiwi-d said...

Hi wes. To be honest I don't have many multi-pens and wouldn't like to say. I think I prefer mechanisms that go round and round through 360 deg to those that are left and right. Sorry, not much help really.

wes said...

Dave,

I was reading your mc-franken article and noticed that you have have lamy accent. You should write one of your incredible reviews for it.
Please would you

kiwi-d said...

I have been using the Accent as my pencil of the week this week in preparation for writing a review. Couple of weeks away.

wes said...

awsome

Thanks

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,
I often read your blog with great interest. I am new to Mp's however and I have a question ... or a few ...

I just purchased a Sheaffer Prelude (or so it appears to be) 0.7 mm

The seller had no idea how to put leads into it other than from the tip.
I tried opening the pencil but there seems to be no possibilities to insert any leads anywhere.

I like the pencil for it's ease of use, i prefer 0.5 mm normally.

Do you know if there is another way to insert leads ?
Also, what is cushioned tip and continuous feed ?

Sorry for asking many questions at once, I really am new to this.

Thanks and great blog !!!

Catherine

kiwi-d said...

Hello Catherine
I don't have a Prelude so i can't be sure, but a I had a quick shufti at the Sheaffer website and I'd suggest that thw whole top half of the body just pulls off, or maybe screws off. They sell replacement erasers for the Prelude so there should be one under there. Then you will access to the pencil insert and should be able to refill "normally" by oulling off the eraser or something. Well thats my guess, maybe a prelude owner will add more, or you could email Sheaffer or a dealer.
Cushioned tip = some degree of "spring-loading" of the tip or lead to help reduce lead breakages from impact with the paper.
Continuous feed = many possible things.

kiwi-d said...

Hmmm, just read my comment. I need spell-checker!

Wynne and Wes said...

hey dave,

are there any easy to refill twist mechanism pencils?
i have never had luck with any.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

You were right, the top half unscrews AND pulls out !
I was afraid to pull it as it was very tight, but i couldn't see any other ways
(especially after you mentioned there maybe an eraser somewhere)

It eventually came off and the eraser was there and under it, the container to insert new leads !!! I felt stupid at that point.

Anyway, now I like the pencil even more !!
Thank you,

Catherine

kiwi-d said...

W & W - if by 'twist' you mean what I personally call a 'screw' mechanism (as in round and round and round, rather than a half-turn and it springs back) then no. They are often rather difficult and fussy, etc. There are some instructions via my sidbar link Pencil Refill Instructions.

Wynne and Wes said...

are the mont blanc pencils screw mechanism?

Wynne and Wes said...

dave, i have an important question. What is you favourite writing utensil that does not use LEAD?

kiwi-d said...

Well, I'm not sure I have a favourite ink-applicator, but I can say that the pen I use the most is a Cross Century II ballpoint (412WG-24), blue body with chrome trim, with black ink cartridge. I am of course also rather partial to my Caran d'Ache Varius Ivanhoe rollerball, but I don't use it very often.

Wynne and Wes said...

I have an review suggestion.
The Pilot center of gravity pencil available at jetpens i think.
Its a really cool pencil with a nice grip
a DOCTORS grip

PointFour said...

Ink applicators? Try the Lamy Swift, an unusual retractable rollerball (i.e. like a push-top ballpoint, doesn't need a cap). Nice instrument in a variety of finishes, with palladium most people's favourite. Wish they made a pencil version. Takes Lamy M66 refill (as does Lamy Tipo), different from the "capped" version for Lamy 2000 etc. rollerballs. The black ink gives a fine dark line, flows well and seems good against light fading, but I don't think its waterproof. Also wish they made (a) truly waterproof black ink and (b) conversely, a dye-based blue ink that you could erase with an ink eraser pen (though haven't tried their own blue yet).

PointFour said...

Dave, as you're a big Pentel fan but use ballpoints as well as pencils, did you know Pentel make a ballpoint that matches the Graph
Gear 1000 pencil? Here's the Cult Pens link:
http://www.cultpens.com/acatalog/Pentel_GraphGear_Ballpoint.html

kiwi-d said...

Thanks PointFour.

Anonymous said...

Dave,

Nice blog. I thought you should know that Bic has a new technical pencil - the Bic Quantech - available in 0.5mm and 0.7mm.

Retractable sleeve - it stays fixed with the lead out. When the lead wears down the sleeve doesn't retract - you have to click out more lead. Perfect action for templates. The retractable sleeve makes it pocket safe. The tip is also cushioned, press hard and the lead springs back into the sleeve, and springs out when pressure is removed. Results in less lead breakages.

Quite decent professional pencil for the price. It comes with a container that holds 12 spare leads and 5 spare erasers.

You can see it here:
http://www.wheresmybic.us/writing/
(search for "quantech"

Jaz

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave love the site. Stumbled across the Rotring Initial pencil on eBay this past weekend and it caught my eye. Prices are very discounted so I ordered one. What I can't find on the web is any information such as history, year of introduction or much else for that matter. Rotring site is of no help. Do you know anything about this pencil?

MP

kiwi-d said...

Thanks for the link Jaz.
Sorry MP, I don't have any Initial details.

Wynne and Wes said...

does anyone know any really cool pencils made out of cool modern materials like carbon fiber or high tech composites or ceramics?

Anonymous said...

Dave: great site. wondering if you know of anyone who can ID or give values to antique mechanical or porte crayon pencils

kckdan

2nd_astronaut said...

@Wynne and Wes: Caran d'Ache Varius Carbon. Of course with Caran d'Ache price tag;-)

Wynne and Wes said...

thanks for the input, ill look into it.
does anyone own the caran d ache varius carbon fibre

kiwi-d said...

kckdan - sorry I don't.
Wes - personally I'd cruise around Caran d'Ache, Porsche Design and Graf von Faber websites and retail sites.

Wynne and Wes said...

i will check that out thanks, i was looking at the brand namiki who makes the stanza. namiki is the high quality version of pilot so i expect a goood functional design out of them.

2nd_astronaut said...

Wes - since I was interested in these carbon thing, too, I did a small "research" in google:
Caran d'Ache Varius Carbon 3000 Pencil $$$
Caran d'Ache Hexagonal Carbon Fiber Mechanical Pencil $$$
Coles Deluxe Auriol Carbon Fibre Pencil $
Coles Deluxe Millerand Carbon Fibre Pencil $
Montblanc Meisterstuck Solitaire Carbon Steel Pencil 5835 $$$
Namiki Stanza Carbon Pencil $$-$$$
Monteverde Invincia Chrome with Black Carbon Fiber Pencil, 0.7mm (MV40040) $$
Sensa Carbon Black Mechanical Pencil $

I am not sure, if there are some "fake" carbon print in my list, and the last has a review here. Since the list assembles some of the most stratospheric pens, even a "$" pen is not in an "economic" range...

2nd_astronaut said...

...MB Meisterst├╝ck of course...

2nd_astronaut said...

Does this (http://store.nexternal.com/shared/StoreFront/default.asp?CS=swisher&StoreType=BtoC&Count1=743023097&Count2=660163521&ProductID=1665&Target=products.asp) really work? Can I buy a Parker Ballpoint pen and the Schmidt converter and then I have a mechanical pencil??

Anonymous said...

I often check where my future mechanical pencil is made. If it says China, I don't buy it - regardless of the the manufacturer. Sometimes however, I forget to check, and the experience reminds me why I shouldn't forget.

Here is a an interesting review of book entitled "Poorly Made In China"

==========
Outplaying your partner
Poorly Made in China by Paul Midler
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/KG18Ad02.html

Poorly Made in China: An Insider's Account of the Tactics Behind China's
Production Game provides fascinating and disturbing answers. Chinese
manufacturers cut corners wherever they can, from product quality to factory
equipment and maintenance. They unilaterally change product and packaging
specifications to trim costs. They raise prices after the deal is signed,
leaving the importer to absorb the added cost. They reproduce their
customers' products for sale at higher margins in other markets. With support
from government, bankers, and networks of fellow manufacturers, they conduct
manufacturing and customer relations as a game, treating the other party as a
patsy not a partner, playing for the short term of making an extra penny at
the risk of product quality but also taking a long-term, multidimensional
outlook that outflanks the hapless customer.
===========

kiwi-d said...

Hello 2nd_astronaut - that link only takes me to the store front, but since you mention Schmidt converter then that is reviewed on this blog, and so I guess the answer is maybe / probably.

So, "2nd-astronaut", that makes you Alan, or perhaps Buzz?

2nd_astronaut said...

Thanks Dave (I found the review), I think I will give the converter a try... Alan was first, so I am Buzz :-)

dfunk said...

Dave,
After my last trusty Staedtler Remedy .5 that I bought in music school fell apart (Hey, 10 years ain't bad for a $2.50 pencil!) the other day, I've suddenly become a pencil connoisseur in my search to replace it. Your site has been extremely informative, entertaining and just a big help in my search. Thanks!

I was hoping you could give me a recommendation on a replacement. The iRemedy that replaces my old Remedy has an antibacterial barrel that I don't want and only comes in colors to match an ipod that I don't own. Features I want: .5 lead or smaller, retractable sleeve, metal tip and clip, rubber grip, chunky overall profile, wide, twist-out eraser that advances from a small dial on the top, push-button lead advancement also from top, overall sturdy/professional feel and look and inexpensive enough that I don't have to worry much if a sticky-fingered student walks away with one. I've tried the Pentel Twist-erase and it feels like a flimsy toy because the whole barrel twists and depresses to advance the eraser and lead respectively. Trying a Pentel Side FX but it looks kind of unprofessional and I don't like the lead advancement on the side of the barrel. Considering the Papermate PhD but it looks like it might be too big for my smallish hands. On the other hand, the Staedtler Integrity looks too small. Staedtler came out this year with a pencil called the Graphite 760. It's the closest I've seen to what I'm looking for. But it doesn't seem to be available in the states. Anything else I should consider?

Thanks again for maintaining such an informative site!

P.S. I think I may pick up a Pentel Graph Gear 1000 for protecting myself from box cutter-wielding planejackers when I fly. :-P Looks like a fun pencil, if somewhat impractical for my needs.

PointFour said...

dfunk,
Take a look at Cult Pens' http://www.cultpens.com/ "PenFinder - Find Your Perfect Pens & Pencils" feature. They're in the UK, but ship worldwide, and if you don't want to do that, at least it may give you some more ideas.

Henrik said...

@ dfunk,
You might consider the Faber Castell Grip Plus - It is 0.7 only, though.
I think it is available in the States and it has the other features you want.
You might also like the second generation of the Kuru Toga. Take a look while you are at Cultpens. I think it looks classy :-)
Regards Henrik

dfunk said...

@PountFour: Thanks for the info. I already spent several hours drooling at cultpens.com. A fun site indeed. They carry the Staedtler Graphite 760 I was looking at. But they want 6-pound 50 for it. Ouch, unless it's a much nicer-made pencil than it looks.

@Henrik: I looked at the Grip Plus. If only it came in 0.5... 0.7 transforms my handwriting from ugly to illegible. :-(

Haven't seen the Kuru Toga yet. I'll have a look. Thanks! :-)

Anonymous said...

@dfunk : Try Sakura sumogrip. Clone of Staedtler Remedy, but with larger grip. Same price range.

@dave: What's with all the manufacturers dropping the lead clearing tool from the erasers in their pencils? It was useful and much better than using another lead to clear the pencil. What if you don't have another lead?

If it's a safety issue, then drop it from the cheaper pencils, but keep it on the professional line of pencils.

I was relieved to find that Koh-I-Noor rapidomatic still has this useful tool. Kudos to them.

Keep up the great work Dave. This is a great and useful blog.

kiwi-d said...

Hello Anonymous - yes, lead clean out rods are certainly becoming rarer these days. Actually, I feel that lead jams happen less and less these days. Maybe mechanisms, and perhaps more importantly, leads are getting better such that jams are not so common? Still, given the choice. I'd prefer paying a few extra cents to have a rod included.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I found an old Pentel P205 in a drawer. It was black one and hazy - ie scuffed up with tiny micro scratches. So I thought I 'd share this solution to bring back the orginal look of faded pencils.

Solution: Turtle Wax - Scratch and Haze remover.

Use the liquid one, not the paste kind in the tin. Dab a little on a soft cloth and rub the plastic body of the pencil until scuff marks are gone. Repeat as necessary to other parts of the pencil. Wash pencil body thoroughly. Finally, enjoy your rejuvenated pencil.

Jaz

kiwi-d said...

Interesting. Thanks, Jaz.

Anonymous said...

Hi

Correction. The correct name of the product is called Turtle Wax Scratch and Swirl remover. Get the liquid kind in the bottle. It's designed to remove scratches and swirls from your car finish. Check your local auto store.

Naturally this only works on those mechanical pencils with hard solid colour bodies like the Pentel P205.

Jaz

Californian said...

I just wanted to say thank you for this blog! It has helped me significantly in my choice of a replacement for my (sadly misplaced) Pentel Graph Gear 1000. I might actually end up with a pencil that you haven't yet reviewed: the Ohto Super Promecha 1500P. You reviewed the 1500S, but I've read that they are significantly different; are you planning on writing one? Any thoughts on a better .3mm pencil? Price isn't really an object (it's only tens of dollars), but I don't want to pay for materials or rarity. I like your top five idea, but perhaps you should have one for different sized pencils as well.
By the way, thank you so much for the lead reviews, too! I never even thought there could be a difference, and never knew about Ain!

Wynne and Wes said...

who sell the 1500s model "californian?"

kiwi-d said...

Hello Californian
Sorry, no current plans for me to buy and review a 1500S.

Wynne and Wes said...

anyone have an opinion on the ecridor xs pencil?

Californian said...

I think I'm getting my 1500P from jetpens.com.
That's alright; can I email you with my impressions when I get it though?

kiwi-d said...

Californian - yes, please let me know what you think. Even better, a small or long guest article on the subject :-)

Anonymous said...

What are the differences between 1500S und 1500P?

-Arne

Wynne and Wes said...

i recently found an oldie pencil in my house. i only have the bottom part of it. so i have no idea of what brand it is. it looks much like a classic cross century but it is not. it is possibly chrome or rhodium plated. it is very old and takes 2 3/4 diamiter leads. anyone have an idea

Anonymous said...

hey dave, is the lead sleeve on the lamy scribble retractable

Californian said...

I just got it today, but it may be a while before I can truly put it through the paces. I'd love to write an article on it though! I'd say in about a month (I'm starting college) I'll have enough writing time to objectively evaluate it, and by then, the initial excitement may have worn off.

@Arne
I think the biggest difference is that there is no maximum sleeve length adjustment. That is, you can still adjust the sleeve length, but you can't limit the amount by which it is extendable. This should mean fewer problems than the 1500S because there are less complications, but I'll have to see about that.

kiwi-d said...

Anaonyous - yes Scribble sleeve is retractable.

Techniclick said...

Hi Dave,

I noticed a search of your blog for Scripto yields zero results. Do you have any plans to review a Scripto pencil in the future?

-Techniclick

kiwi-d said...

Hi Techniclick. I'm under the impression Scripto ceased selling pencils a long time ago. I do have a couple of their old common models but hadn't currently planned anything regarding them. Are they still available somewhere which has prompted your interest?

Prateek said...

Hi Dave,

I'm fairly new to the blog, and I'm thoroughly enjoying it. Keep up the great work!

I've tried many mechanical pencils in the past, but I keep coming back to the .5mm Sanford/PaperMate PhD pencil that I've been using for about 7 years now. I am curious to hear your opinion of it, as I have not seen a review of it on your blog. And though I relish this pencil for its comfortable triangular grip and jumbo eraser, I'm ready to try something thinner. I was wondering if you could provide me with some suggestions? My apologies if this has already been asked.

Regards,
Prateek

Techniclick said...

Scripto did stop producing pencils a long time ago. My great grandfather owned a Scripto pencil, and when he died years ago I somehow wound up with it. It was most likely my first mechanical pencil. When I started reading your blog, I got to thinking about that old pencil and started looking around the internet to see what Scripto was and when they were around. I also wondered how widespread Scripto pencils had been and figured you were a good person to ask. As for their current availability, old Scriptos are unfortunately mostly only available on ebay.

-Techniclick

kiwi-d said...

For Scripto knowledge I'd head over to RR's Scripto page. There's a link in the sidebar. It goes to the Norma page, but from there you can find his Scripto pages.

Techniclick said...

Thanks, Dave. I will take a look.

-Techniclick

kiwi-d said...

Hello Prateek. Yes there are no reviews of PhD on my blog, but a little something is in the pipeline. I don't have a "normal" PhD so can't say too much. As for something thinner, well if you want to stay triangular and with extendable eraser then Staedtler Triplus comes to mind.

Prateek said...

Thanks for the help, Dave! I'll try it out.