Friday, April 11, 2008

Pentel PG1505AD Mechanical Pencil Review

Pentel PG1505AD Mechanical Pencil Review

For several decades the PG1505, sometimes known as the “Accu Graph”, has been one of Pentels top offerings in their draughting pencil range. I believe it was formerly distributed throughout North America and Europe, but sadly its range has now retracted to Japan and nearby places. Even there it is apparently no longer plentiful. Hmmm, population decline, range retraction…classic signs of a species heading for extinction. I assume poor sales, as design (and art) continues its evolution as a software rather than paper based activity, is forcing the PG1505 onto the ever expanding list of endangered species.
So as well as being a review, the outlook for the PG1505 is perhaps not all that rosy, so this all has a hint of eulogy and obituary about it. At first glance the PG1505 is a rather long, slender shaped pencil. The serious ‘technical aura’ is enhanced by the simple colour scheme of black and silver. The styling of this pencil has always reminded me of a long thin tapering calligraphy brush, and I’ve always thought that was appropriate for one of Pentels finest - I like to imagine that the Japanese calligraphy tradition played some role in inspiring the styling of this pencil.As a serious draughting pencil of considerable lineage, the PG1505 has many classic features. Starting at the tip, this is a 0.5mm lead diameter pencil and you will not be surprised to find we have a 4mm fixed sleeve. In the past, a couple of readers have raised the issue of “lead wobble” inside the sleeve. Well, I can assure you there is none with this pencil. The lead is rock solid inside that sleeve. Obviously though a long fixed lead sleeve makes this pencil pocket unsafe. Actually if you take the overall look of this pencil into account it’s sort of a mini-javelin so maybe I should rate it as super-pocket unsafe?
Moving on up from the sleeve the next feature of significance is the knurled grip. This of course provides excellent non-slip grip, but sometimes I did pick up a hint of roughness. Of course you must remember that I’m just an office-wallah, not a thick-skinned toughened engineer or mega-structure architect who would laugh at such lily-livered sensitivities. The grip is not a particularly large diameter so might not suit all. The grip and other componentry give this pencil a slightly tip-heavy balance point, but not so much that the tapering upper body feels like its flapping around in the wind. So, well balanced and weighing in at 21 grams, the PG1505 feels reasonably substantial in the hand.

At the top of the grip there is a lead hardness indicator window. You unscrew the grip just a fraction to allow rotation of the window. The indicator grades available are B through to 3H, including F. You have to screw the grip back up rather tight or it can work loose over time.

Above the hardness indicator the body changes from metal to black plastic. It’s a good hard shiny resin that obviously won’t break, dull or scratch in a hurry. Printed in silver on the black body just above the hardness indicator is “0.5 Pentel” and “PG1505 JAPAN”. As always I am a fan of good model identification on a pencil.

The pocket clip is a fairly plain simple piece of steel, not spring loaded, and is quite efficient and strong. Its visual austerity fits well with styling of the pencil.

Finally at the very top of the body we have the small metal end cap. This pencil is of course push top button ratchet mechanism. 10 clicks of the button will get 5mm of lead out the tip. And when I say clicks, I mean clicks. This is a very positive, loud “clicking” mechanism. Beneath the eraser cap there is…well there isn’t the small little emergency use eraser that one usually expects. Instead there is a needle for clearing lead jams, and the end of the lead magazine is right there so fill’er up. Clearly, users of this pencil are expected to be the type who are fully prepared with a proper eraser. Overall then this is an excellent pencil and I’m sorry to see it gone from Pentels general international range.
  • Best Points – The looks, and the courage to not put an eraser under that top cap.
  • Not So Good Points – I haven’t actually mentioned it above, but there was sometimes a bit of a rattle when using this pencil. The grip is perhaps a fraction too abrasive.
  • Price Range – Mid, if and when you can find it.

Dimensions – Length 149mm, diameter 9mm at grip section. Balance point about 65mm up from the tip.

Photo - The PG1505 free in the wild


spuddybuddy said...

hi dave, any ideas on where you can find one online or in the US?

Anonymous said...

A great review of a great pencil - thanks for it!
@spuddybuddy: PenWish still list some.
Does somebody know what the suffix "AD" stands for?

Pawel Bartuzi said...

As usually, thanks for a review. This pencil is indeed very nice and a classic design (produced since 1980 or even earlier; older versions did not have a lead hardness indicator).

Even finer is PG2003 (0.3mm version) and in Japan there is/was also PG1804 (0.4mm version). Those Pentel pencils are absolutely top class (I own only 0.5 and 0.3mm versions but assume 0.4mm is very good, too). Some additional information:

BTW: do you plan to review some other Pentel classics such as Mechanica, PMG, PG2 (PG4, PG5, PG7)?

Kiwi-d said...

Hi pawel - thanks for your comment. No, sorry, no plans for other classics juat at the moment - partly becuase I don't have many of them :-)

Germ said...

"lily-livered sensitivities"
Put the pink bow down, too. :)
Outstanding pencil, I am glad I recommended to you, and shipped it to you. :)
Let me know if you need a PG5 to review. No problem sending a pencil out "On Tour" :)
Pawel, check Gunther's page out. he has a .4mm. they are still available in japan. They go for about 30 to 70 us, IIRC.

Germ said...

Pawel: If you wanted one of the .4mm, auction# P104123745 on the yahoo japan auction site. the seller has some other cool stuff as well: tw_p_nagatabungu

Pawel Bartuzi said...

Thanks for the information and user ID, I've managed to find his auctions although it required some work. :-)

I tried to use Japan Yahoo some time ago, however I found it to be very difficult and time consuming using Google translate. And then a lot of the sellers say "we will not ship overseas" anyway... Did you have any success dealing on Yahoo Japan?

Kevin's Pencil Box said...

Dave- beautiful, insightful review and excellent photography. This pencil is from the golden age of the mechanical/automatic/thin leadholder pencil era as far as I'm concerned. Well done. If I only knew then what I know now, my box would be full of 'em. -Kevin

Germ said...

Pawel-may be getting some stuff in from japan. (well I am actually, wait for the blog post. You all will drool enviously)
not the accugraph, but those are on the list for future.

email me:

lastwinj at yahoo dot com

its a good addy to have. i offer my doubles up thru email b4 i put em up on ebay. dependent on their value of course. :)

Anonymous said...

I've used all types & brands of pencils & lead-holders, but I've owned THIS pencil for 20 years, and it's the absolute BEST pencil I've ever used! It's just now starting to stick a bit when advancing the lead (not bad with that age & daily use), so I'm looking for a replacement. Was hoping to find the same again...

baktasch2007 said...

Hi, This is also one of my favourite pencils. I have all versions:
-0.5 (two versions, one without lead degree indicator)
-0.5 (with silver aluminium barrel)

I have a very rare version which is "PG15". Does anyone have a clue when it was produced in Japan?

My favourites are:

-Hi-Uni 0.5 3051FF
-FC Tk-Matic 0.5
-Tombow Variable 0.5
-Rotring 600
-Hi-Uni 2050 0.5
-Pilot H2005,H3005,H5005
-Rotring 500 0.5(old style)

Great pencils are disappearing. What a shame!
Dave you have done a great job with your blog. Could you review one of my favourite pencils?

Cheers or "Tschüss"


Kiwi-d said...

Hi baktasch2007
Well thats a good list of favourites. No promises, but I'll keep it in mind when thinking of something to review.

Anonymous said...

thanks for regiew. I want to buy but i don't know where i can buy

Mayln said...

Anyone have or know where to get one?
Please email me!

2nd_astronaut said...

I had a PG1804 for a while, and it was complaining at me about feeling lonely. So when I saw a whole Accugraph family hanging around at ebay and willing to emigrate, I invited them to my home...

It is a fine family, perhaps one of the most honorable families ever produced... The members clearly form a family, but are not identical multiples like in other pencil clans -- all retain their personality (different barrel color/material/stripes).

But: There is a heredopathia in the family -- why have both children (0.4 and 0.3) two color shades (the metal part above the clip is slightly darker, see Gunther's photo )? The clan chief (0.5) is not affected by this illness, but I prefer metal barrels...

Besides that, I agree that the grip is too abrasive, if you fondle your pencil at certain angles...

Kiwi-d said...

Good to know you are helping house the unwanted and the homeless of the world.

Anonymous said...

I want to know where can you get those lead pencils

Anonymous said...

when you get a chance could you do a review on the Pentel PG5?i think it looks like an interesting pencil and i think it is about to become discontinued in the, becuase jetpens stopped carrying one of the models...but idk if it was just that one because of low sales...

2nd_astronaut said...

I have a question on pentel vintage pencils so I just put it here (I don't want to register to reddit/GotLead, there was a PSD5 shown) :-). Maybe someone of the experts here knows:

What is the difference between Pentel PWP15 and PSD5? I can't determine a difference w/ photos in the web.

baktash said...

@2nd there is no difference apart from the fact that the PWP15 was for the domestic Japanese market and PSD5 was an export version.