Thursday, December 17, 2009

Kuru Toga 0.7

Whats wrong with this Kuru Toga picture?
Uni Kuru Toga mechanical pencil

Here's a hint.
Kuru Toga 0.5 and 0.7

Uni Kuru Toga 0.5mm mechanical pencil with 0.7mm lead refills?
Kuru Toga modified 0.7mm

Way up there in Japan, Isu has been at it again. Out with his micro tools, modifying away, trying to make ever fatter Kuru Toga's. Thanks Isu, a unique addition to the collection.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ritepoint Mechanical Pencil

Ritepoint Perpetual Calendar Mechanical Pencil

One thing I like about vintage mechanical pencils is their link to history and how they can take me down paths I would otherwise never have explored. I recently became the owner of this vintage mechanical pencil.
Ritepoint Perpetual Calendar mechanical pencil - Oran
It is a Ritepoint Perpetual Calendar mechanical pencil. I don’t know much about Ritepoint of St. Louis, Missouri, but they were clearly a reasonably large manufacturer who, like Autopoint, made a lot of advertising pencils. A couple of years ago I reverted to wearing an analogue mechanical wristwatch which has only a date display. Formerly I wore digital watches that told me the date and what day of the week it was. Without wanting to sound like some sort of moron or absent minded type of person, when I first got rid of my digital watch I really did struggle with what day of the week it was, let alone being able to tell the time by looking at the hands!!!! I could have done with a perpetual calendar pencil back then.
Calendar pencil top - Narvik
On the first day of each month you pull the top cap up and rotate it around to set the correct day of the week for the first day of the month, and then you have a calendar set for that month. In the picture above, M (Monday) has been rotated to coincide with the 1st of the month.

This pencil is in near new condition. As you might expect it is a twist tip screw mechanism using 1.18mm leads. The front section pulls off to reveal an eraser.
Ritepoint pencil apart - Australia
Whilst it is visually in near new condition, unfortunately a previous owner has tried to refill the lead by jamming them in through the spiral top of the mechanism beneath the eraser, down the sides of the spiral, up through the tip…you name it…wherever you look there’s a lead jammed in there and despite my best efforts I can’t get it to work again.

Now, as for this pencil taking me down an otherwise unknown path…well this is a souvenir pencil, printed with an image of the M/S Batory.
MS Batory - The Channel
I had not previously heard of the Batory, but a quick Google search reveals she was a ship with an interesting past.
MS Batory - Dunkirk
Originally a Polish ocean liner, she saw service as a troop ship with the Allied navies in WWII and her honour role matches that of many a mighty battlewagon - transporting evacuee children from the UK to Australia, British troops to Norway, the BEF from Dunkirk, the UK gold reserves to Canada, landing troops for the invasions of Algeria, Sicily, southern France, and more.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

It’s that time of year again when all sorts of other things seem to need attending to and I have to put this blog on hold. So, I will probably still have some time now and then to publish a few bits and pieces, but normal transmission will not be resumed until mid/late January.

I would like to take this time to say thanks to all of you who read this blog, who comment, who email me, who send me things, who I have swapped things with…it is all much appreciated. I really enjoy my contact with other pencil folk around the world.

For those of you who celebrate Christmas and/or New Year then I send my best wishes for the season, and for those of you who don’t celebrate either of those, I send you my best wishes too.

I’ve enjoyed this blog through 2009, and I hope you'll still be reading in 2010.

Ka kite ano

Monday, December 07, 2009

The 2009 DMP’s

It’s that time of the year again, so welcome to the second annual DMP Awards.

Just to remind you, any mechanical pencil or other item featured on my blog in the 2009 calendar year is eligible for an award, but preference is given to mechanical pencils. Awards will not be given if there are no suitable candidates. The awards are:-

The “Bonus Slice of Pav” and “Last Nights Left Over Warm Flat Stale Ale” - special awards for anything judged worthy of an award, good or bad, respectively.

The “Pencil of Shame” awarded for the worst pencil (or item).

And the supreme award, the “Mordan-Hayakawa Trophy” for the best mechanical pencil (or item) of the year.

All decisions are final and the judge need offer no justification or defence of his decisions.

So, without further to-do, the envelopes please….
This year the initial long-list for the “Pencil of Shame” had three pencils on it. However the panel immediately decided against short-listing the Stabilo ‘s move easyergo and Beifa MC1002 - bad names and rotten erasers do not make a truly bad pencil. That left only one nomination, and after some deliberation the judge decided to award the “Pencil of Shame” to the eMicro Jedo M105.

Whilst a few candidates were initially discussed, ultimately the judge decided that this year there was (thankfully) no need to award any “Last Nights Left Over Warm Flat Stale Ale” prizes.

On the flipside the judge was happy to consider several nominees for a “Bonus Slice of Pav”, and decided to dish out two slices – one to the Vespiary notebook and the other to Ancient Kauri pencils. Then in an impulsive move a third slice was awarded, to Uni Nano Dia leads - the judge appreciated your efforts.

For the supreme award, the “Morden-Hayakawa Trophy”, the judge felt that overall the calibre of this years candidates was perhaps down a little on last year, but from the initial field of 18 candidates, 9 nominees that made it through to the short list.
  • Cross Tech 3 multi pen
  • Faber-Castell Propelling pencil
  • Lamy Accent
  • Pentel Smash Q1005
  • Pentel ‘The Bat’
  • Rotring Tikky
  • Stabilo ‘s move easyergo
  • Uni Shift 1010
  • Zebra Tect 2way
The judge noted the irony of the Stabilo ‘s move easyergo being an initial candidate for both the Pencil of Shame and the supreme award.

Drumroll please....the winner of the Morden-Hayakawa Trophy for 2009, the Supreme DMP award is…the Faber-Castell Propelling Pencil. You don’t have to be big, techo or fancy to be cool.

Saturday, December 05, 2009


Here's a new pencil related blog you might want to cast your eye over - "Bleistift". Despite the name, it is in English.

Hopefully you have noticed over the last month or so I've done quite a bit of work on Labels etc over in the sidebar. I'd be interested to know if you think the current order of the various sidebar elements is OK, or if some other order would be more user friendly. Also if you think there should be other Labels, etc.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009


Olá a um leitor de Portugal.

("Hello to a reader from Portugal". - At least according to Google Translate)

5 November 2009 you viewed this blog from Vila Nova De Gaia, Porto, Portugal.

If you think this was you, I would very much appreciate it if you would contact me using the email address in my blogger profile - see the sidebar.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Filofax Organiser Mechanical Pencil Review

Filofax Organiser Mechanical Pencil Review

Until recently I didn’t even know there was a Filofax range of mechanical pencils and other writing instruments. For their organisers, Filofax’s website claims a heritage heading back towards World War 1 and an initial popularity with the military and the clergy - “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition”? In the field of mechanical pencils Yard-O-Led have arguably the oldest and most prestigious lineage. “Ummm, what’s your point?” I hear you ask. Well, these days Filofax and Yard-O-Led are both part of the Letts Filofax Group. Filofax brand and Yard-O-Led brand mechanical pencils are both detailed on the Filofax website. So, with that heritage and association you would expect a Filofax brand mechanical pencil to be better than average.
The mechanical pencil featured in this review is the Filofax Organiser pencil, which is listed on the Filofax website as the Mini Classic Pencil – Ribbed (Filofax), item code 561152. The website notes that it fits all Filofax organisers.
Filofax Organiser mechanical pencil
Well first off, a big tick for Filofax. Right there, with the pencil, there are five spare erasers. Now they are only small emergency use erasers, but it’s great to see someone supplying spare erasers with the initial purchase. It always strikes me as extremely cheap and penny-pinching that the prestige brands don’t chuck in a few spare erasers and a tube of lead refills when you buy one of their expensive pieces of jewellery that doubles as a mechanical pencil.
Filofax pencil and Field Notes

Filofax Organiser Classic mechanical pencil
The Filofax Organiser pencil is of course a mini pencil so it is clearly only intended for short duration use. If you have smallish hands you could probably use it as an everyday pencil, but those with extra large hands will struggle. The ribbed design on the bright shiny silvery body certainly looks smart and it won’t look out of place in any situation where you had your Filofax organiser out for the world to see. I should be clear that I don’t have a Filofax organiser, but I do see them around and so have a passing familiarity with them.

The shiny metallic body doesn’t provide fantastic grip, but for short duration note taking that’s probably not an issue. At 22grams the Organiser pencil is quite weighty for a small mechanical pencil, and combined with its short stature this does give it a reasonably substantial feel in your hand. It is certainly one of the noisiest mechanical pencils around. It always seems to have a rattle or ring when you pick it up, use it, twirl it in your fingers, etc. Some may like that, some may not.
Filofax Organiser pencil pocket clipThe pocket clip is good and strong; you need not worry about your pencil slipping off whatever you clip it to.

The top cap is a bit of a weak point in the design of this mechanical pencil. Firstly it’s clearly not the same metal as the body so it sort of looks dull or tarnished compared to the bright body. Secondly when you push fit it back onto the pencil it can go on at quite a wide range of angles and thus frequently isn’t on straight.
Filofax Organiser pencil tipThe lead advance mechanism is a standard push top ratchet. It is quite a noisy clicky mechanism. Ten clicks will only get you about 5mm of the 0.7mm lead, which is a rather short amount. The lead sleeve is a short fixed pipe, but for a pencil designed to be carried in a folder, pocket safety isn’t really an issue. There is a lot of spring cushioning on the sleeve so combined with 0.7mm lead its pretty hard to have a breakage. The eraser is beneath the top cap, and you remove it to access the lead refill chamber. I had some trouble refilling the leads as the chamber and entrance hole are quite small and tight such that new leads may interfere with the stick of lead already in the mechanism. I would personally suggest no more than 2 spare leads at any one time.
Filofax pencil eraser

Well, that’s about all I have to say, so to close this is a good mini pencil as part of your organiser system.
  • Best Points – It looks small but classy.
  • Not So Good Points – The top cap as discussed above.
  • Price Range – Mid.
  • Does this pencil make it into the Top 5? - No.
Dimensions – Length 112mm, diameter 9mm.

This Filofax Organiser pencil was supplied by Euroffice, an office supplies specialist in the UK, in exchange for a review of the pencil and an acknowledgement.

Filofax and Yard-O-Led
Filofax mechanical pencil and yard-O-Led pencil
Filofax centre ring
Filofax organiser pencil centre ring