Saturday, September 25, 2010

Mitsubishi Uni M5-552

I’ve wanted to buy some MP’s from Jetpens for some time now. Saving some money aside, I was able to take advantage of their free shipping by buying 3 pencils altogether. The first pencil that I picked was this Mitsubishi Uni 552 for drafting. I chose this because I haven’t bought drafting pencils with metal grips for a while and I think metal grips are cool.

Like most drafting pencils, this one has a .4mm non retractable tip which is typical of most drafting pencils. It has a very nice and light knurled metal grip. It also has a red plastic lead indicator that you can turn to choose lead type.

I like the smoke black plastic barrel. It seems to give the pencil that drafting look and feel. Stamped on the side is the 3 diamond logo and name of Mitsubishi followed by uni in small letters, 0.5 MS-552. The short metal pocket clip is thin on the side but wide on the front. It’s plain except for the word JAPAN engraved on the metal part that wraps around the barrel.

The pencil also features a nice metal cap that can be removed to reveal a small blue eraser. The eraser itself is inside a metal casing holder with a cleaning needle for clearing jammed leads. The lead advances by clicking the top.

My first impression when I first picked it up was that it was very light considering that it had a metal grip. I’ve held others like the Alvin and the Berol but they weren’t light like this. I do like it though. The circumference of the barrel is just right for my hand. And I love metal grips. They have that high end look and feel that distinguishes them from cheap blister packed, over the counter or hanging on the shelf mechanical pencils. Writing with it, you can really make thin lines and it feels like using a .3mm lead.

Use for – Drafting and general writing.
Like it? – Yes, writing was very comfortable and the grip felt great to the touch.
Design suggestion – I like to see a spring mechanism in the lead so you can advance the lead by pushing it down on paper.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pilot The Shaker

Another awesome pencil from Pilot. I called in the order after I saw it in an online catalog from a local art supply store. It took about a week before they called me about it and I picked it up that weekend. The lady at the store asked about why it was called the Shaker as I was paying for it. She smiled in disbelief when I answered that it was because the lead can be advanced by shaking the pencil besides clicking.

The pencil has a smooth black plastic finish with orange accents and a grip diameter slightly bigger than the body. It has a pointed conical tip with a sliding sleeve that makes it pocket safe. Speaking about pockets, this has a soft, flexible wide metal pocket clip making it easier to slide into a shirt pocket sleeve.

I liked how the ribbed plastic grip is more than an inch long which makes for effective gripping when writing. Its stylish and has a great look to it. However I do prefer rubber grips over plastic since I have a heavy hand and I find it more comfortable.

I noticed how far the grip is from the tip. At more than an inch away from the bottom end of the grip, the balance, angle and control isn’t as good when writing. The farther away my fingers are from the tip, the less control I had in my writing and I’ve broken quite a few leads when I wrote. The picture on the left is a comparison with an Alvin Grippy.

The cap can be removed to reveal a small white rubber eraser which covers the lead compartment. I like how the cap has a wide top which felt very comfortable when clicking.

Clicking and shaking are the ways for the lead to advance. Shaking was quite effective in advancing the lead and I didn’t have any issues while I was using it.

Use for – Drafting.
Like it? – For drafting, yes but for general writing, no. The grip was a bit far from the tip which felt out of balance.
Design suggestion – Move grip closer to tip and redesign the grip to be more comfortable.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Uni Shift 1010

After seeing this pencil on Jetpens, I knew I had to have one. I finally had a chance to get my hands on this plus 2 other pencils and take advantage of their free shipping on orders over $25.00.

The first thing I noticed when it arrived was that the tip was retracted.

So I held the barrel with my left hand and with my other hand twisted the metal grip counterclockwise in which you will feel a click. This releases the lock from which you can slide the barrel up to expose the tip. This pipe lock has a spring action when you let go of the grip which brings the barrel down to retract and protect the tip. Twisting it further, you'll feel another click which locks it into place. It was pretty cool, very unique and definitely a great addition to my collection.

The tip was needle shaped which makes the 0.5 mm lead appear very thin when writing. It's perfectly balanced to the front which lessens fatigue when writing. I used this pencil for about 2 weeks and I must say that it's very comfortable to write with. This pencil solves the problem of needle tips breaking when dropped (unless of course the tip was showing when dropped) and it also helps makes it safe for shirt pockets.

The 1 ½ inch metal knurled grip is long and perfect for gripping. The black plastic barrel complements the metal accents of the grip and the pocket clip very nicely. To advance the lead, you simply click the top cap. The cap is removed to reveal a small black eraser . The eraser can be pulled out to add more leads to the pencil. The cap has a hole on top just to give it that unique distinct design.

Use for – Drafting and drawing.
Like it? – Yes, the shift pipe lock design is very unique among drafting pencils.
Design suggestion – Eraser could be a little bigger but I don't use it anyway so not a big deal.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Alvin Grippy

I visited one of my regular art stores a few weeks ago looking for new Mechanical Pencils to add to my collection. They had some Koh-I-Noor, Staedtler, Alvin and Pentels but didn’t find anything new until my eyes caught a catalog that was on the counter. The front cover had pictures of some art supplies – protractors, brushes and pens but there was also a black mechanical pencil. I eagerly looked more closely to find out if it was the right one for my collection. It was and although the design looked strikingly familiar I got excited when I saw the Alvin logo. I didn’t pay much attention to it and asked the lady at the counter if they have it. She came back in a few minutes after asking her manager and informed me that it was new and will be special ordered. I wrote down my name and phone number on a piece of paper to give my order and they told me that they will be in touch once it has arrived.
I had already forgotten about my order and thought nothing of it for the next couple of weeks. About a month after that, I got a call from a lady who informed me that my Alvin Grippy was already at the store. I went to pick it up a couple of days later. I was again looking at anything new on their pencil display window before I headed to the counter. I smiled a bit when I noticed about a dozen Alvin Grippy on the pencil display area. They must have ordered a dozen and now excluding mine, the rest are now sitting on the display area. I purchased 2 and left the store. I was so excited when I got home that I examined my new pencil thoroughly. I noticed that it was dark blue in color and I was right about the pencil being familiar. I brought out my pencil display case collection and removed the Mephisto Kohinoor and compared it side by side. Except for the brand on the barrel and the color of the band above the grip, they were basically the same pencil. I surmised that either both companies had the same manufacturer for this pencil or one took over the design of the other. I really don’t know.

This pencil is very comfortable to begin with and is one of my favorites for all around writing after using it at the office for a couple of weeks. It has a 4mm non retractable tip which is great for drawing precision lines. An inch of smooth rubber grip provides a fair amount of comfort and grip to your writing. Since the grip is smooth, it doesn’t leave marks on your middle finger like some of the plastic grips. Above the grip is a colored band which indicates lead diameter of either blue or red with silver rings on each side. Mine is blue which indicates .5mm lead while the red band is for .7mm. The Alvin logo and Grippy 0.5mm Japan is written in silver on the dark blue plastic barrel.

It has a wrap around silver metal pocket clip which slides in smoothly in my pocket but since it has a non retractable tip, it’s not pocket safe. Its eraser is that of the twist erase design. I’ve swapped it with the Staedtler Integrity 9505, Kohinoor Mephisto and Papermate Technician. The eraser sticks out by twisting the barrel to the right while holding the top part in place. Although the eraser is thin, it provides an inch of useable eraser and is longer than regular erasers. The lead compartment is accessed by pulling out the twist erase mechanism. The lead advances by simply clicking the top.

Use for – Drafting and general writing.
Like it? – Yes, the diameter and length of the pencil fits perfectly on my hand and the smooth rubber grip feels great when writing.
Design suggestion – Automatic lead advance when writing. Add lead degree indicator on the band.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Pilot Dr. Grip Ltd

I was at my neighborhood Staples a couple of weeks ago and chanced upon a Pilot Dr. Grip package hanging on the Pencil aisle. I was looking for one in black for a long time and after several visits, they finally came out with one. Mine was a Dr. Grip 0.5 Ltd. I opened it up after a week and started using it at the office.

For starters, this pencil belongs to the fat/husky pencil category. I’ve owned 2 other fat/husky pencils before (Pentel Clarius and Uni Alpha Gel) and I always find them to be a bit heavy and uncomfortable to write with for longer periods.

This one is no exception, for as soon as I started writing whole pages of notes that my hand started feeling uncomfortable holding it. The grip which is a soft clear white rubber was quite good though although the Uni Alpha has a better Gel grip.

I wouldn’t recommend that you put it on your shirt pocket even though it comes with a very nice steel pocket clip that has the word Pilot and its logo engraved on it because the point is non retractable. I’ve noticed my shirt pocket pull forward when the pencil is there and the non retractable tip might poke a hole in your shirt or even worse your chest. It happened to me once when a heavy pencil is pulling the shirt pocket forward and I went under the table. When I came back up, the pencil got caught by the table end and ripped the left side of the shirt pocket as well as leaving a scratch on my chest.

It does have a shaker advance system which is quite useful when writing for long periods of time. Just shake it up and down once and a small lead will come out. The steel cap still functions as the regular click advance and holds a small white eraser underneath.

You can add more leads by pulling the cap and the eraser out or you can also twist the barrel open into 2 to reveal the plastic lead holder inside.

Use for – General writing. Good for arthritis sufferers as it is commended by the Arthritis foundation for ease of use.
Like it? – Not really a fan of fat/husky pens and this one is no different.
Design suggestion – Retractable tip.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Zebra Tect 2Way Light Frisha

Wow! This is one cool looking pencil. I really got lucky on a visit to the Tokyo Tokyo gift shop featuring items ranging from toys to stationery items. My son goes there to look at their cool Pokemon and Mario Bros toys while I have bought my first shaker pencil there. This time around, I chanced upon the Zebra Tect 2way light. It was in a simple plastic packaging with a free Zebra eraser. I’ve had a couple of mechanical pencils that both advance leads using both clicking and shaking mechanisms but the Zebra Tect 2way goes further by putting in a lock on the barrel that depending on the setting will enable or disable the shaker system.

The barrel is made of shiny black plastic and is complemented by chrome tip, pocket clip and band around barrel. Very classy.

The grip has 3 thin concentric rubber rings followed by 2 circular impressions on the barrel where there could have been 2 more rubber rings. The 3 rubber rings make quite an effective grip without making the entire grip out of rubber.

The lock twists to the right to enable the shaker and does not disable the clicker on top. Twisting it to the left disables the shaker.

The wrap around pocket clip has Japan engraved on it and is shorter compared to most mechanical pencils. Here is a picture comparison with the Pentel P205.

Having a 4mm non-retractable tip makes it ideal for drafting purposes but is actually even good for normal everyday writing. I’ve used it for a couple of weeks and other than the shaky cap, it is one of the best all around drafting/writing mechanical pencils I’ve used. The diameter and length is just perfect for writing.

The eraser as expected is small and is under the cap. The lead is refilled by pulling off the eraser.

Use for – Drafting and general writing.
Like it? – Yes, the concept of having a lock on the shaker system is really nice.
Design suggestion – Modify the cap so as it is not so shaky.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Parker Jotter

Here I have a Parker Jotter Mechanical Pencil. It’s the third pencil that I bought along with my Pentel Forte Pro and Pentel 120 A3. The store I bought it from also gave me a black pen box with a clear plastic on top to store it.

I’m sure most of us are familiar with Parker Jotter’s. They’ve been around for a long time and for me is the most famous pen in the world. Naturally being a pencil collector, I would want to have the pencil version of it. I believe these only came out in .5mm lead size which works great for me.

On this visit to the stationery store, I was lucky to have bought the last piece which was actually the one on the display case. I’m sure they’ll have more and these are common on eBay so it’s not going to run out of stock as of this writing.

The pencil is simple and elegant at the same time. From barrel top to bottom, the smooth lines flows well.

It’s design is simple, just click the top cap to advance the lead. As I clicked away, the mechanism feels solid and well made as would be expected from a Parker brand even though it’s not an expensive pencil at under $10.00.

As you can see from the picture, the tip is protruding from the barrel. It is non-retractable and can be dangerous to the pocket shirts.

The barrel is made up of half plastic and half steel and since there are no rubber grips here, it actually makes the look very classic.

As the name suggests, it is not suited for long writing but for short notes here and there.

The pocket clip has a simple arrow design parker is famous for. Engraved on the stainless steel side of the barrel is “Parker and Made in UK P II”.

The top cap can be pulled out to reveal a small red eraser. The rounded cap is also engraved with the parker insignia.

Use for – Quick notes.
Like it? – Yes for short writing but not for essays.
Design suggestion - Make the tip retractable.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Pentel 120 A3DX A315

I got this the same day I picked up the Pentel Forte Pro II and Parker Jotter. This pencil reminds me of the Pentel Sharplet with its thin black barrel. The words Pentel 120 A3DX 0.5mm A315 Japan is written along the barrel.

I like how it has a .4mm metal tip which is really perfect for tracing lines along a thick ruler. A standard wrap around metal pocket clip is mounted on the other end of the barrel although you wouldn't want to carry this around in your pocket shirt.

The rubber grip looks like an alligator skin wrapped around the barrel although its surprisingly soft and grips well.

Being thin and lightweight, I felt like the tip would break if I wrote too hard and with a small angle against the paper.

To advance the lead, its the usual click at the plastic top which also covers the small eraser. To access the lead chamber, you simply pull the cap and the eraser out.

I've used this in the office for a couple of days and other than being too lightweight for me, I do feel that for general drafting and short writing that it does a good job. Its also at the lower end of my pencil budget so its easy to decide if I should buy it or not. I guess since all three were in my pencil budget price range that I decided to buy all at the same time instead of coming back.

Pentel Forte Pro II A75

I picked up the Pentel Forte Pro II A75 at Swains a week after I bought its cheaper brother the Pentel Forte which I reviewed last time. Its an upgraded version of the same pencil which eliminates a lot of the problems I mentioned in my previous post.

So its basically the same pencil – 3mm non retractable metal tip, wide metal pocket clip, smooth black barrel and removable stub eraser. For the upgrades you get – a smooth rubber grip replaces the hard ridged barrel grip, lead compartment is now easily accessed by removing the stub eraser instead of pulling off the upper barrel and a big plastic cap now covers the eraser which also effectively increases the length by a few mm therefore adding more comfort to writing. The forward advance mechanism has also been improved so lead advance is more consistent every time.

I've used this in the office for a couple of days and I must say that its very comfortable to use. For longer and more comfortable writing, the Forte Pro does a much better job than the Forte.

Now, if only the tip retracts….

Friday, April 23, 2010

Pentel Forte A55

I visited my neighborhood staples store last week and picked up a pack of the Pentel Forte A55. Mine is the black barrel but they also have this in blue. A pack contains 4 Pentel Forte pencils and is very cheap at under $10.00. Pentel makes some of the most affordable and best looking mechanical pencils. I liked the shiny smooth black barrel very much and the diameter also felt just right. The 3mm non-retractable tip and pocket clip are made of metal which is always nice.

For the grip, they cut the barrel where you grip it into 12 sides, half smooth and half having lines cut along the barrel. It doesn’t really provide that much good a grip and was painful after a long time writing.

The wide wrap around metallic pocket clip with the word Pentel nicely engraved on the side was easy to slide into my breast shirt pocket.

To advance lead, you simply click the top of the barrel. The top can be pulled off to access the lead compartment. About 6 additional leads could fit inside.

A small rubber eraser sits on the top cap. Pentel didn’t include an eraser cover so field work is a no no for this pencil where grimy fingers could easily leave the eraser unusable when you click forward. You may also want to replace the eraser as usage nears halfway because the other half is inside and you might not be able to take the remaining half out. The package didn’t include spare erasers so you have to purchase those separately.

There are a couple of reasons why I don’t like this pencil. First is that it is a little short so the balance isn’t good even though the overall weight is fine. Second and most important is that the hard plastic grip can be a pain for longer writing on the finger where you grip it. Third is that half of the eraser is unusable. You would have to remove the eraser to use the other half. Fourth is that they didn’t include an eraser cover which can be useful when on the field. Lastly, there are times when clicking that the lead would not advance.

Use this as your scribble pencil but not for longer writing and definitely don't use the eraser. You're better off using the Pentel Clic Eraser.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Pentel Twist-Erase III

I stopped by my neighborhood Staples store the other day to grab a pack of the Pentel Twist-Erase III mechanical pencils. They sell these in black and blue colors and in .5, .7 and .9mm lead diameters. Mine is the .5mm black. The package contains 2 Twist Erase pencils with 2 extra erasers. The model number on it says QE515BP2-K6. I’ve been trying to hold off buying one for the past couple of months now for the simple reason that it didn’t appeal visually to me. The design looks a lot like the Logo 4 pencils from Papermate.

As I start to write with it, I could tell that it felt a little out of balance. The weight of it is fine but for its weight, I would have liked it if they made the barrel a little longer. The clip and the 3mm non retractable tip are made of metal which fits perfectly in my collection. The wrap around removable clip has 3 holes on it which kind of reminds me of the papermate hearts logo. I had a little difficulty trying to clip it in my shirt pocket as you sort of have to open the clip a little bit for it to go in. Anyway, since it has the non-retractable tip, it’s not pocket safe anyways so you’d want to carry this around in your bag or pencil case.

It has a smooth rubber grip which had no ridges but it kept my fingers in place and is very comfortable when writing.

It’s a click pencil so you push the entire upper barrel to get the lead out as you write. The good thing about the eraser is that its completely inside the barrel unlike the Logo series where part of the eraser sticks out.

The twist action to use the eraser hence the model name is sadly not very smooth as I had to put a little effort in twisting the eraser out. I don’t know if it’s just because my pencil was new or what. Anyway the eraser is quite big, unlike those puny erasers on some cheap mechanical pencils. However, the eraser itself leaves a lot of residue which I personally have no problem with as long as it has a big eraser.

Adding more lead to it is the easiest part as you just smoothly and effortlessly pull the upper barrel off to get to the big lead chamber could easily fit 24 leads. Two extra leads are included with each pencil which uses the Super Hi-Polymer Lead.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Papermate Logo 4

I go to art stores a couple of times a month to check out their stock of mechanical pencils. Most of their inventories are usually relatively cheap in the less than 10 dollar price range. There are a couple of those stores in my neighborhood within walking distance and I usually go there when I get a chance. A month ago, I had some time to visit one and check out their stock.

Besides the Alvin Draft/Matic, and Papermate Technician, they also have the Papermate Logo 4 and Logo 2 in stock. I originally bought the Logo 2 on my first visit and then bought the Logo 4 on my second visit. I initially thought that I would only want the Logo 2 because of similarity in the design. However after writing with it, I decided that I need to buy the Logo 4 just because I felt something was lacking. And that something is a good rubber grip. The Logo 4 has a good 1 and 3/8 inches long contoured rubber grip that’s very effective when writing. This pencil has a good length for its weight which I felt was a good balance. I wrote with this for a long time and I must say that it is very comfortable. Now if they only made the rubber a little softer.

It has a black plastic at the tip of the metal pocket clip. This makes pocketing the pencil easier and smoother. The metal tip is also retractable by clicking on the top barrel and then pushing the pencil down on a surface. This makes it a pocket safe model. The tip is shaped like a ballpen unlike some that are needle shaped.

The eraser is inside the upper barrel that comes out through a simple twist of the barrel. Its very smooth and I’m very impressed with how much eraser it holds. My only complaint with it is that a piece of the eraser sort of sticks out of the barrel so if you’re doing field work and your fingers are dirty, then that dirt transfers to your eraser as you click the lead out.

You pull the upper barrel to reveal the lead chamber which holds only a couple of leads. My opinion on this is that they should have made it a little bigger to fit more leads.

And there you have it folks, a very good writing instrument worthy of any mechanical pencil collection. Get yours now.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Rotring Tikky

This is the third one I bought and added to my collection. By this time, I was already hooked on collecting. I searched eBay looking for similar black mechanical pencils. Then I remembered that in college in the Philippines there were 2 popular brands when it comes to drawing pencils: Staedtler and Rotring. Each was packaged in a college set with 3 Technical Pens, an eraser and ink. The Staedtler Micro pencil was easily recognizable with its blue color while the Rotring Tikky had the familiar brown color with the wave grip. I didn't like the wave grip on the Tikky since it felt like it would hurt your fingers the longer you use it so I opted to buy and use Staedtler for my college drawing classes. My friend Jonathan and I bought our Staedtler College sets at Pecton Mercantile in New Manila. Along with the purchase, they gave us free T-Shirts. So, I searched Ebay and found the Tikky sold in black. I quickly made my purchase for only $3.00. Since its made for drafting, the Tikky had a fixed sleeve. The grip had the familiar wave design and as I expected, it wasn't very comfortable for longer writing since I am a heavy gripper. Like most of drafting MP's, the metal cap is clicked to advance the lead and also hides the small eraser underneath. However, I must say that this is one classic pencil that is a must have in any MP collection.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Staedtler Integrity 9505

The Staedtler Integrity 9505 was the second pencil in my collection. I bought this one back in 2006 at Office Depot and was the first to have a twist eraser mechanism . I haven't seen this kind of eraser back in college in which all mechanical pencils had erasers under or on the cap itself. I was in awe as I twisted the top and the eraser came out. It came in a two pack blister package and advertised as using 97.5% of the lead because of the double clutch mechanism which holds the lead in two places. However after using this at the office, I was disappointed that it was very prone to lead breakage. Thinking that it was just bad pencil, I used the other one but it too had lead breakage after a while. I quickly went to Office Depot to buy another pair but found it wasn't sold anymore. I checked eBay and ordered another package but the first one also had breakage. After I changed the lead from HB to H and used the Pentel Super Hi Polymer on the last one, it seems to have stopped having lead breakage and so this is the one in my collection. The rubber grip makes for a nice cushion on the fingers while writing and the chrome pocket holder is very nice. Its made in Japan which is stamped in chrome on the side of the barrel. Too bad about the lead breakage experience for it is one of the most comfortable writing pencils I have but definitely worth having in my collection.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Pentel Clarius AX605BP

One of the places I usually check out for new mechanical pencils is the 99cents only store. Every once in a while, they would replace their pencil stock with an entirely new line. I previously had bought 2 other pencils there. Yesterday I went to the store to buy the usual groceries for the house when I visited their stationery section. Previously, they sold the Papermate Apex here but today they had a new line of Pentel mechanical pencils. I bought one to check out and quickly took a picture when I arrived home. The Pentel Clarius seen here with its blister pack is sold in 4 different barrel colors named after crystals - onyx, emerald, saphire and ruby. I bought mine in onyx.

As I opened the pack and took out the pencil, it reminded me of a doctor's pen when I was a child. It has a nice executive look, contoured rubber grip, chrome accents in the pocket clip, logo, cone tip and the top and middle of the pencil. The tip is retractable and the lead advances by pushing down on the top cap. I was pleasantly surprised with how smooth and quiet the lead advanced as I pushed down on the cap. The long rubber grip has 3 contoured sides for gripping the pencil in any position which was nice for big hands. A big black plastic cap on top covers the large eraser underneath. Chrome lettering informed me that the pencil was made in Japan. Writing with the Clarius was pleasant but there were occasions where the lead broke while I was writing. The barrel is bigger in diameter than my other mechanical pencils obviously because this was designed to be a writer's pencil and not for drafting purposes. Writing for a long time didn't fatigue my hand at all and after a few pages I was still comfortably writing with it.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Pentel P205

This was the first pencil in my collection. I had bought this about 9 years ago in the Philippines where it is very common. For me, the P205 is the classic mechanical pencil. It has a non retractable 4mm tip for drafting but is also suitable for writing. Clicking the metal cap advances the lead. Underneath the cap is the eraser with a needle pin for unclogging stuck leads in the tip. I've used this needle a couple of times and I must say it works well. A metal pocket clip keeps the pencil in your pocket but since its non retractable, it usually makes a few pencil holes in my shirt pocket so I usually keep this in the ring binder of my notebook. Writing with it is very comfortable with its grooved grip to hold the pencil steady even with sweaty hands like mine. Its not the best mechanical pencil but I like it for it gets the job done without the fancy lead indicators or twist advance erasers. This is a must have in any mechanical pencil collection and is usually available in any office supply store.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Pentel Technica-X PW-45

On my way to the market every weekend, there is a very nice stationery store called Swains that I visit every couple of weeks. Last Sunday I was there to check out if they had any new ones. Fortunately, they had a couple but I chose this Pentel Technica-X PW45 - in .5mm black of course.

At first I thought that the tip was non retractable but when I returned home and started to write with it, I was surprised it had a retractable tip. Basically, if you push the cap from a retracted tip position, the tip will come out without the lead. Then you push the cap until you hear a click to advance the lead. Pushing all the way down you would hear a second click and it would retract the tip back inside the barrel for safe pocket storage. This reminds me of the Papermate Apex I have which had the same type of retractable tip. It has a nice chrome pocket clip that wraps around the top of the barrel. The cap is easier to pull off to reveal the eraser if the tip is out. In retracted position, the cap can be a little hard to pull off. The eraser is small and covers the lead storage compartment. The barrel is grey, smooth and shiny. It has about an inch of contoured rubber grip and is very effective for my standards. The words Pentel and Japan is written on the top of the barrel behind the pocket clip. I've used this pencil a couple of times writing notes here and there in the office and I find it very comfortable to use. Since I have big hands, the bigger barrel diameter fits my hand better although my personal preference is a longer barrel and a narrower tip instead of the conical tip this one has.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Staedtler 9605

Happy New Year! Its the start of the year and I'm really excited towards the pencils that will be part of my collection this year. Two days ago, I shared with you how I got this Staedtler 9605 with my visit to a local stationary store to pickup the Papermate Technician II. I think that one of best things about collecting is that you go to a place and you never know what you might find there. Which is why I'd rather visit local stores than buying it online.
The Staedtler 9605 is the first in my collection to have a push advance lead that is located on the grip instead of being on the cap. The top metal cap instead covers the eraser and the lead compartment. The cap clicks into place when placed back to cover the eraser. The black barrel has a shiny finish and the silver Staedtler markings on the side is similar to the Integrity 9505. It has a nice long chrome pocket clip that protrudes from the barrel and is non-removable. The long rubber grip is good for big hands and is suitable for writing. I found that the side lead advance button though sometimes gets in the way as I twirl the pencil around when writing as I tend to do this to balance the lead sharpness when writing. The tip is retractable so its safe for pockets. Overall a nice pencil and a good addition to any MP collection.