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Mechanical Pencil Choices?

Discussion in 'Pens, Pencils, Notebooks, and Notebook Covers' started by Theskyiscrying, Sep 27, 2016.

  1. Theskyiscrying

    Theskyiscrying Loaded Pockets

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    Hi all,
    I'm looking for a nice mechanical pencil. I see the Rotring and Pentel Kerry are a couple of nice options. What about weight, durability, etc?

    Anyone have a comparison of the two?

    Any other good options?
     
  2. Moshe ben David

    Moshe ben David Loaded Pockets

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    There are far too many choices out there to give you a suggestion based on your question. It would help us to help you if you can describe a bit how you will be using it; any preference for lead thickness, budget, bias towards metal vs plastic, etc.

    If you like the Rotring, you should take a look at a couple of products from Retro 51 that are basically knock-offs of the Rotring (the Retro 51 Hexomatic).

    Personally, I like the Pentel line overall. The Kerry as you should be able to tell from a picture, is a bit unique in that when closed for pocket carry it is not long and there are no sharp ends to poke through shirt pockets, stab oneself, etc. But really, if you can't find a Pentel product that works, then I will be surprised. The only exception being if you want a mp that is styled (and usually priced!) to match the mid to high end pricing of better pen sets. For example, the high end Parker Duofold line can run easily in the $200 range; similar for items from Pelikan, Montblanc, etc.

    So, back to the orginal question. What is your budget? How will you be carrying it? How will you be using it?

    L'chaim!

    Moshe ben David
     
  3. flatline

    flatline Loaded Pockets

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    The Kerry is an excellent pencil for daily use.

    The various Rotring models are all fine pencils, but people seem to either love them or hate them so it's better to try them out before buying them. I happen to like the Rotring Rapid Pro and the Rotring 500, but don't like the 600 because of the weight and balance. The Rotring 300 2mm lead holder is excellent, but probably not what you have in mind.

    Do you like light pencils or heavy pencils? If heavy, how do you like the pencil to be balanced (top, mid, bottom)?

    Is a fixed pipe okay or does the pencil need to be safe to put in your pocket?

    --flatline
     
  4. Theskyiscrying

    Theskyiscrying Loaded Pockets

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    Thanks for the input.
    I plan to carry it everyday in my briefcase. After I get it out for the first time, I tend to clip it to my shirt when not in use. So, a pen that has the pointed end is not desirable. The Kerry has potential for that use.

    I do like a somewhat weighty pen when writing. Not sure about balancing.

    What does "fixed pipe" mean?
     
  5. Sachsen

    Sachsen Loaded Pockets

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    The small metal tube that the lead extends from is called the pipe. If the pipe is fixed, it does not retract into the pencil grip when not in use. The opposite, of course, is a "sliding" or retractable pipe. Having a sliding pipe is nice, because you won't poke holes in your shirt pocket, but it does require a bit of extra effort before you can use it; you have to deploy the pipe first and then click the lead out. Also, some sliding pipes are not made with perfect tolerance and thus have a bit of "tip wiggle" which can be annoying to some (like me).

    I have several mechanical/drafting pencils: Rotring 600, Pentel Sharp, Uni Kuru Toga, Uni Shift Pipe Lock, and a Pacific Arc DP. All are 0.5 except the Pacific Arc which is a 0.3mm. All of them see regular use in various situations.

    Heavier pencils with sliding pipes are generally more expensive than the alternatives (lighter, fixed pipe). You didn't mention your price range or what size of lead you would prefer. I do think the Uni Shift Pipe Lock might be a nice pencil for your preferences. The cost is mid-range at $16.50 (jetpens), it has a sliding pipe, and while the body is plastic, the grip and tip are metal, and the balance and weight are very good.

    I might recommend you play around on jetpens' site. Check out both the drafting pencil and mechanical pencil categories. (The difference is rather arbitrary in many cases; both are essentially the same in most respects.) Play around with the filters and see what comes up with your preferences, and then maybe come back with questions about a specific model or two.
     
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  6. flatline

    flatline Loaded Pockets

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    Mechanical pencils made for drafting purposes typically have a 4mm fixed sleeve so make using stencils and such things easier. That's what I meant when I said "fixed pipe". Fixed sleeves are not pocket friendly. They can hurt you poking through your pocket and can also be damaged.

    Some pencils have retractable sleeves that still support the lead during use, but are stored inside the pencil to protect them from damage (and to protect you from them when in your pocket). Sometimes a retractable sleeve is a little wobbly, but on quality pencils, a retractable sleeve is typically just as solid as fixed sleeve.

    The Rotring Rapid Pro is an example of a retractable sleeve pencil. The Rotring 300, 500, and 600 all have fixed sleeves.

    --flatline
     
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  7. earthman

    earthman EDC Junkie!!!

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    I've learnt a few things about these pencils just from this thread. I remember being fascinated by them whilst at school some 40 plus years ago now, I have a couple of no doubt cheaper/basic ones in my pencil case, I'll have to search the loft for them.
     
  8. Moshe ben David

    Moshe ben David Loaded Pockets

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    Uni Kuru Toga, iirc, does also come in 0.7 mm lead sizing. One of the neat things about this line is that it has a mechanism that 'rotates' the lead so that you don't build up a flat side which would distort the lead. If you have trouble visualizing this, imagine a round dowel that is held at an angle to an abrasive surface. By rubbing said dowel across the abrasive surface, instead of the dowel having a round cross-section, you eventually get an oval elongated cross section. This sort of describes the result of always writing with a pencil lead held at the same angle relative to the paper -- which is when most of us describe the pencil lead as becoming dull.

    L'chaim!

    Moshe ben David
     
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  9. Scoman

    Scoman Loaded Pockets

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    I used mechanical pencils for years at sea, the greatest bearing on your choice should be the thickness and hardness of the lead. I preferred the Parker jotter pencil which is 0.5mm, most of my colleagues preferred a 0.7mm and used the Staedler micro or graphite range of pencils. One guy did like a 0.9mm lead for planning the navtrack. We were navigating ships so only a 2B lead was used which is v soft. If you're going anything larger than 0.7 you'll have to manage your lead tip as mentioned by Moshe Ben David.
     
  10. Replete

    Replete Loaded Pockets

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    If you're going to be clipping the pencil to your pocket, you almost certainly want a retractable sleeve. The Rotring Rapid Pro was mentioned upthread, but that's definitely a more expensive purchase and should ideally be handled before you buy it. The build quality is supposed to be really good, but the grip is knurled and that doesn't work for everyone.

    The Pentel Sharp Kerry would be a great option because it does have the cap and clip - the lead sleeve won't poke you or damage your shirt. TWSBI makes some mechanical pencils that are basically take-offs on Rotring, and they're qless expensive ($25 on JetPens for either fixed or retractable tip - again, you probably want retractable).

    I personally love the Kuru Toga pencils that were mentioned upthread, and they have a retractable-tip version marked as the "Pipe Slide" on JetPens. They're inexpensive, but the bodies are plastic. The Kuru Toga mechanism really does keep the lead from getting dull, and I find that it produces a thinner line as a result.

    tl;dr The Pentel Sharp Kerry is a great option, and I would also look at the TWSBI Precision pencils with the retractable tip.
     
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  11. bj warkentin

    bj warkentin Loaded Pockets

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    Pilot vanishing point H1005 is a great pencil... combines the best of a retracting sleeve and a fixed sleeve... :)

    It is a fixed sleeve mechanism that retracts into the body of the pencil for both sleeve protection and much better pocketability. Big click to extend the sleeve, and then it functions like a fixed sleeve, until the next big click. Unfortunately, they are not made any more but I am sure they can be found on "the bay". Mine is now 30+ plus years old and still going strong. It is a very comfortable pencil to use.

    The Pentel Graphgear 1000 is also very nice (is a more technical/drafting pencil). Has a similar retractable fixed sleeve. I really like it but the knurling is not for everyone.

    I love Rotring... and the 600 is a great pencil, but as others have noted it is not pocket friendly with the fixed sleeve.
     
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  12. SomeEngineer

    SomeEngineer Empty Pockets

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    I really like the Pentel Graphgear 1000. I use it daily for my classes. It does have a retractable tip, but the eraser is oh so small! I carry three different size erasers with it. A block Pentel Hi-polymer eraser, a Pentel Clic eraser, and another eraser I found at a Japanese store that is, I think, 3mm in diameter, to erase small mistakes. Since I am a college student, I carry them in my backpack, but that may not work out for you. It is a light pencil, but if you wanted a mechanical pencil with some weight and a nice eraser, I would recommend to check out the PhD mechanical pencil. It has a jumbo triangular grip and a nice twist eraser on top, so you will always be able to erase. I've tried the Rotring 800, but couldn't get used to it and felt I had to baby it. After a day or two of being in my pencil pouch, some of the black paint started to scratch off! So I just stick with my Graphgear.
     
    Last edited by SomeEngineer, Oct 12, 2016
  13. Towanda

    Towanda Loaded Pockets

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    Alvin Draf-Tec Retrac.
     
  14. flatline

    flatline Loaded Pockets

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    How do you like it? Is there any tip wiggle when writing?

    --flatline
     
  15. Sachsen

    Sachsen Loaded Pockets

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    So did you end up buying one yet? Curious what you might've decided on.
     
  16. Theskyiscrying

    Theskyiscrying Loaded Pockets

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    I've not decided yet. I would like to hold them and see about balance, etc.

    Thanks for all the input!
     
  17. Reidar Chr. L. Guttormsen

    Reidar Chr. L. Guttormsen Loaded Pockets

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    Might I suggest OHTO Horizon, the Faber-Castell tk-fine Excecutive or tk-fine Vario or even the Caran d'Ache Metal 844 Pencil
     
  18. Reidar Chr. L. Guttormsen

    Reidar Chr. L. Guttormsen Loaded Pockets

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    [​IMG]

    A few options


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  19. Theskyiscrying

    Theskyiscrying Loaded Pockets

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    Now, that's a collection!!
     
  20. graham_s
    • In Omnia Paratus

    graham_s Loaded Pockets

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    My current favourite is an OHTO Super promecha 0.5
    Best balanced pencil I've ever used.