Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Faber-Castell TK4600 Leadholder Review

A while ago Vikram from Illinois got in contact with me and I persuaded him to do an article or a review for this blog. Well, the end result is that he sent in two articles, both on leadholders, because he quite rightly thought they were under-represented on this blog. So, this week is Virkam’s Leadholder Week, with two postings to publish. Here’s the first one.

Faber-Castell TK4600 Leadholder

Firstly, I would like to thank Dave for this great opportunity! I have been interested in pencils for a while, and at 16, I think I am the only one of all my friends to love pencils so much.

Faber-Castell: a name highly regarded in the pencil and writing instruments industry for high quality yet affordable products. As a drafting student, I was eager to try out one of their leadholders, the TK4600.
faber-castell tk 4600 leadholder clutch pencil
Faber-Castell TK 4600
This 2mm leadholder is a normal, economy grade pencil. The balance point is almost exactly at the midpoint, making this an ideal drafting instrument. A forest green, hexagonal body, similar to that of their Castell 9000 series of drawing pencils, makes it clear that Faber-Castell associates this leadholder to that high standard. The all plastic body of the TK4600 is very solid, similar to the Pentel P205 - able to withstand abuse and still deliver - a student model, for sure. The foil stamping on the body clearly states “TK4600 Faber-Castell” with “Germany” stamped in small letters on the clip. The metal tip section, (removable?) clip, and pushbutton show that Faber-Castell did not skimp on quality with this one.
faber-castell tk 4600 leadholder and wooden pencils

The grip of the TK4600 is aided by the ridges toward the front of the pencil, but they do not really help; when drafting, the draftsman generally holds the pencil farther away from the tip-closer to the midpoint. Maybe this was conceived as a multi-use pencil; one for occasional writing and sketching as well as drafting? While writing with the TK4600, it was very clear that it is not a writing tool primarily - after a half page, my hand started to develop a painful cramp. Sketching and drafting is comfortable, and this is plainly the TK4600’s forte. Another, slightly shorter version, the TK9500, has “HB” stamped into the body, making it seem like more of a sketching and writing tool than the TK4600.
faber-castell tk 4600 and tk 9500 leadholder clutch pencils
Faber-Castell TK 4600 and TK 9500
The TK4600 is a student leadholder, and a good one at that. However, the lack of a built in sharpener, higher price point (about USD $16, $12 for the TK9500) and the small grip section push me toward the Staedtler Mars 780 technico leadholder (USD $3-5) as a general leadholder. However, this one remains highly recommended!

Pros: -solid design and feel, great for drafting and sketching, solid metal clip

Cons: -high price for student leadholder, ridged grip in inconvenient place, no built-in sharpener

Overall: highly recommended, but consider Staedtler as well.

Thanks Vikram. Posting No. 2 coming in a few days.


Anonymous said...

This could be a regional difference, of course, but in the TK4600 I have you can pull the end cap off and it functions as an emergency sharpener... Rather messy if you're not near a wastebasket, of course.

2nd_astronaut said...

Thanks for the review. Concerning Faber-Castell: In a regional news paper here was a nice photograph of the Faber-Castell castle in autumn mood. Maybe I can scan it... I didn't find it in the web. But I found 2 nice shots of the Minenfabrik (leads factory) http://www.industriegeschichte.net/fileadmin/industriegeschichte/museen/alte_mine_faber_castell/galerie01.jpg and http://www.industriegeschichte.net/fileadmin/industriegeschichte/museen/alte_mine_faber_castell/galerie06.jpg

The other large Nürnberg companies (Staedtler, Lyra, Schwan-Stabilo) moved to new buildings. AFAIK the old factory buildings are not well-preserved.

Anonymous said...

The body is indeed able to withstand abuse but
is made of a kind of plastic that gets scratched
very very easily. Almost all new pencils (!)
have scratches on them due to shop handling.
Also most of these scratches are not just
surface lines (in which case I would say nothing
at all) but have a little depth as well.
I find this a big turn off (:)) and I must say
I have not seen anything like that in any other
pencil model (even Faber Castell).
Certainly something must be fixed here...


Time Waster said...

Alvin Promatic is teh best =) it has a sparkle paint job and it's all metal. Stadelter 780c technico is just as good but it's not all metal.

razide said...

Nice review Vikram. I've a trusty TK4600 and also a yellow 4600N. It looks the same except that there is a thin white plastic ring at the top of the barrel and the metal clip is differently shaped.
There is a black one at Leadholder:

Julian English said...

The best thing about these F-C leadholders might be the green barrels; what a great shade of dark green it is.

I really like the Staedtler 925 and a few different Koh-I-Noor leadholders, but I would still go with the Caran d'Ache FixPencil (22 or 884 models) as my favorite. They look great and though the barrels are slim, their hexagonal shape makes up for it.

@2nd_astronaut - Thanks for the great pictures.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. In Europe the TK4600 is sold with a built in sharpener and a removable clip. It has an almost identical twin, the a classic TK 9400 model with the same barrel and inner mechanism, however has no clip and sharpener.
They both are good and reliable tools, however to me the grip of the TK feels a bit too narrow. Lately I prefer the Staedtler Mars780 or the rotring300.

Anonymous said...

Hi fellas,
I've been using this pencil for well over 10 years. As cluctch pencil this is the Rolls Royce. It's tuff and its elegant enough to use consistently for tech drawing. If you use a hard lead which I do it will shapen and hold a point very very well for tech drawing. Not for proffessional projects but plenty good enough for your own works. On top of this I use mine in teh construction industry and it is always in my pocket I can write on concrete or paper. I love this pencil I just love it. Its hard to get now and I have to buy it over the net but in past times I've in desperation bought other brands Steadler etc. But nothing comes close to this for durability eitehr I've droped them 6 and 10 meters and other then breaking a lead ... keep using it. great post thanks.

Anonymous said...

You can remove the clip if you apply a litte force. Start with turning the clip around the axis of the pen. It should start moving. No worries you can't break anything as it's only clipped not screwed! Then slowly move it towards the end of the pen in circular movements. Two seconds and you're done.

DarkArtDesignister said...

Mine has built in sharpener CAP. The diference With the mars technico Is the hole in the CAP. In the fb tk4600 the leas sharpener Is looking inside the cap

DarkArtDesignister said...

O have both. Fb tk4600 AND mars technico 780c (black edition).
Tk4600 has 18 years ago With me.
Mars technico about 4 monts.
Both are gread leadholders.
I use both almost Every day.
Tk4600 has weight balance Bnea the midpoint but a Lite bit to the cap.
780 c balances to the midpoint to the tip.
Tk4600 has faded the gold paint but the name has Yet visible because Is carved in the plástic body. And the metal point (not the clutch) has loose some of the sylver brigtness due to the sharpener friction (i use Staedtler 502 lead sharpener). Another than That Is solid AND i use almost Every day forma drawing AND sketching.

Mars téchnico 780c. In 4 monts the paint Is gone. Is only a black barrel now. The metal grip Is some dirty because the lead sharpener 502 of Staedtler Is plastic, AND due to the friction with the knurled metal grip of 780c it acts like a Sand paper.