Posts Tagged ‘mechanical pencil’

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On My Desk – July 2021

07/31/2021

Five fountain pens were my tools of choice for July. It was a stub and fude month with a varied assortment of inks. Iroshizuku and Herbin contributed two each with a Diamine ink for the fifth. The Delike New Moon fude got the most love and a review should be finished in a couple of days.

Not pictured is the pink Tombow MONOgraph 0.5mm mechanical pencil with Uni Nano Dia HB lead. Its companion is a MUJI hard type, black plastic eraser.

In the category of non-writing tools are a Metro Stylus, a Silver Black Velvet 3/4″ flat brush, and a Princeton Neptune 1/2″ square wash brush. A cinnamon oatmeal cookie scented candle, an e.l.f. cooling under eye refresh rollerball plus four rolls of washi tape round things out. Oh, and lots of photos so I am never alone.

What’s on your desk?

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Pen, Ink and Paper Links (Hide Your Credit Card Before Reading)

04/01/2021

It is way, way, way too easy to blow your budget when there are so many goodies calling your name. Can you resist or have you been enabled?

Camellias through my kitchen window and matching pen.

 

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It’s National Pencil Day. What Do I Use?

03/30/2021

Do mechanical pencils count? I use them daily and have a decided need in my journal for easily amended notes. The no fuss MP writes without hesitation and requires no special care, perfect for my Traveler’s Notebook Diary.

Recently, I switched from 2B to HB lead to reduce smearing and breakage as well as downsize from 0.7 to 0.5. However, the 0.7 is easier to read so a test of HB at that size is pending. Uni Nano Dia is smooth and relatively sturdy making it my lead of choice. 

Having the right diameter, weight and balance for my hand has made the Tombow MONO graph the mechanical pencil I return to time after time. Next in line is the Zebra DelGuard 0.7. For variety, a Uni Kuru Toga and a Pilot Opt round out my rotation. Yes, I have a mechanical pencil rotation just like a fountain pen rotation. 

A Pentel Clic Eraser (ZE21T) is an essential tool with all of them considering my fickle nature and obsession with editing.

The fact that a pencil will write on any paper is very convenient. However, I still favor quality paper although writing with MPs has made it possible to use some of the lesser quality notebooks like the Moleskine that have come my way. 

Did I mention mechanical pencils are economical? Few cost more than $10 and most cost less than $7. A package of 120 leads costs about $7. Not bad, eh? It isn’t a fountain pen but it will do nicely for everyday use.

Shopping list for products mentioned. Inkophile may earn a tiny commission and I do mean tiny.

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Mechanical Pencils In The Spotlight

07/05/2020

Cult Pens has deemed July 5th as Mechanical Pencil Day making this a good time to review a few models beyond the ubiquitous Pentel.

Autopoint, Pentel, Ibis Sketch, Tombow MONO graph, Pilot Opt., uni Kuru Toga, Zebra DelGuard

For years, an Autopoint has been a staple in my rotation while a few uninspiring MPs accumulated in a drawer. No love for that lot. Then came the quarantine and the time to play with the unloved bunch to which I added one that is especially comfortable in my hand. Much to my surprise, I now like all of them if to varying degrees.

Just as pens and inks need to be matched for best performance and a satisfying writing experience, mechanical pencils and leads benefit from similar consideration. How could I have missed this?

Lead properties include diameter, lead darkness, smoothness, sturdiness and durability. Pen characteristics include grip, diameter, materials, lead advancement, and eraser size. Color and form are less varied than in fountain pens as MPs are more workhorse than eye-candy though there are a few pastel and neon models in addition to black, white, and red. Doesn’t that sound simple compared to the vast world of fountain pens and inks?

Best features:

uni Alpha-Gel Shaker Soft Grip – Lead advances with only a gentle shake but the mechanism broke quickly.

Pilot Opt. – Shaker advance with wide barrel.

Tombow MONO graph – Locking shaker advance with long needle tip.

Zebra DelGuard – Tip design reduces breakage to zero for me.

Uni Kuru Toga – Lead rotates producing a very uniform line.

Pentel icy – Best value and availability.

Autopoint Jumbo All-American – Very sturdy. My first one lasted 15 years.

Ibis Art Sketch – Wide 1.8mm rectangular lead.

Zebra DelGuard, uni Kuru Toga, Pilot Opt., Tombow MONO graph

Comments:

Only the Autopoint 0.9mm with HB lead stood up flawlessly to heavy-handed use.

The Zebra Delguard 0.7mm with 2B lead did very well with soft to medium pressure. With HB lead, the tip did not break easily. This pencil is a very comfortable diameter for long writing sessions.

The uni Alpha-Gel Shaker Soft Grip 0.5 HB has a gel grip and advances the lead with a gentle shake rather than having to press a button. This significantly reduces the interruption of writing flow. Uni Nano lead is less inclined to break in it. Unfortunately, the shaker mechanism broke after only two weeks of modest use.

Pilot Opt. 0.5 has the shaker mechanism so lead advances easily. It is a bit heavier than many of the other pencils with a slightly wider diameter than most and has a soft grip. The clip is far and away the easiest to use. Just push the top against the barrel and the clip opens.

Tombow MONO graph 0.5 is another pencil with a shaker advance but this one locks so the lead won’t advance if jostled in a case or pocket. The metal sheathing for the tip is very long making it especially suited to precise lines and for use with rulers. It is paired with Uni Nano Dia 4B lead for a dark line.

The Pentel Icy 0.7mm with Pentel B or HB lead is a little more prone to breakage but it is inexpensive and available everywhere.

The Uni Kuru Toga 0.5mm has a unique tip that rotates the lead so that it maintains a consistent line shape. The tip gives a little to accomplish that feat and for me worked best with a light touch. I like it best with Uni Kuru Toga 2B lead.

The Ibis Art Sketch Mechanical pencil is unique. It comes with a flat 1.8mm 2B lead that puts down a very wide line.The lead is too solid to break and very smooth.

Ibis Sketch 1.8mm lead

Conclusions:

I already own four Autopoints, so there is no need for another. If I were to purchase a second pencil from one of the other models, it would be the DelGuard 0.7mm. In addition to lead not breaking easily, the grip and balance suit my hand very well. Uni Nano Dia lead is strong and a good match for it whether HB or 2B.

The shaker pens are very convenient to use. The Tombow MONO graph with its needle point is perfect for tiny writing and fine details because the lead tip is highly visible.

As for 0.5 and 0.7mm leads, I used Kuru Toga, Pentel, and uni Nano Dia. The latter wins as it breaks less easily in the 0.5 size than the others.

At 0.9mm, the Autopoint HB lead does not break at all. For those who are heavy-handed, this lead in an Autopoint pencil might be just the thing. The line is a bit soft but that for me has been an acceptable trade-off.

The erasers are very similar in size with the Pentel and the Autopoint being somewhat larger. I rarely use them and prefer a Staedtler Mars Plastic eraser when needed.

Not a day goes by that I don’t use a mechanical pencil. It is an essential tool in my kit and a bargain at the price.

Teoh review of the Uni Kuru Toga.

Product Links:

Available at Amazon from which I might receive a tiny commission should you purchase through these links.

Autopoint All American 0.9

Tombow MONO graph 0.5 pastel, neon or gunmetal

uni Kuru Toga 0.5 colors or black

Pilot Opt. 0.5

Zebra DelGuard 0.7

Pentel icy 0.7 (newer model)

Uni Alpha-Gel Shaker 0.5

Ibis Art Sketch 1.8mm

Autopoint 0.9 HB lead

Pentel 0.7 HB and B leads

Uni Kuru  Toga 0.5 2B lead

uni Nano Dia 0.5 4B and 0.7 2B leads

Staedtler Mars Plastic eraser block or stick

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Pentel Libretto Pen Sets For Cyber Monday And Beyond

11/25/2012

Sometimes even an inkophile has to look at other options and Pentel gave me just that opportunity with an offer to review the Libretto pen and pencil set.

Pentel Libretto Pen Set

Pentel Libretto Pen Set

The new Libretto features a sleek metal barrel accented with elegant silver trim. The sets are available in Black, Crème or Silver barrels and include a 0.7mm roller gel pen (black ink) and a 0.5 mm pencil preloaded with five (5) Super Hi-Polymer™ leads. The pen is refillable with any color KFR7 ink refill from Pentel.

Pentel Libretto Written Sample

Pentel Libretto Written Sample

Both instruments are easy to carry and work perfectly right out of the box. The sample was written on Rhodia paper without a warm up and shows none of the globs of ink that some gel pens deposit. The pen definitely works best on very smooth paper and needs a little time to fully dry. It didn’t smear with normal writing but could more readily with a thick application. In fact, the longer I used it the better it wrote. The Super Hi-Polymer™ lead is very smooth and works nicely for writing as well as layered drawing. Both the pen and the mechanical pencil are well-balanced. Stainless pens are often too heavy for me but this set is not.

If you hesitate to loan a fountain pen to someone who might be too rough with it, tuck this set in your handbag or brief case for a sturdy substitute. I love my fountain pens, but the Libretto would be an easy choice for air travel. Need a gift for a teacher or co-worker? The Libretto will impress with its sleek, professional style and silver-toned trim. I am partial to white paired with silver and find the Crème version especially attractive. Of course, the black and silver models have universal appeal so you can’t go wrong with any of them.

These sets will be available on Pentel.com just in time for Cyber Monday, see here: http://www.pentel.com/store/libretto-pen-pencil-set!

Tessa did a quick sketch to test the rollerball on Clairefontaine GraF it Sketch 90g.

Pentel Libretto Gel Pen Sketch by Tessa Maurer

Pentel Libretto Gel Pen Sketch
by Tessa Maurer

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