|Pentel Graph PMG (rear) and Pentel Graph PMG Import (front)|
I've had a few bloggers ask if they could submit a review of something and I've always told them OK but I'd have to screen it first and if I found anything objectionable that I'd either edit the review or not post it. I have yet to have a published review from another blogger. But here's a twist, George, from the blog, "My Supply Room" doesn't want me to publish one of his posts, He wants me to review one of his pencils that he wants reviewed! You see George doesn't review anything. He just has a lot of pens and pencils (and I do mean a lot) which he shares with the world by taking pictures of his treasures and posting them.
For some reason George, an old geezer like me, likes my blog and wants me to do a review of his Pentel Graph PMG "Import" Pencil.. Just why Pentel decided to "Import" (actually export) a pencil to non-Asian population I haven't a clue. It may have been an attempt to test the waters in the US and European markets, or one of a thousand different reasons.
You would expect that 2 pencils that look so much alike as these two do, to be clones of one another. However this is not the case with these 2 PMG pencils. At a quick glance one would think that they are indeed the same pencil. However there are some subtle differences. For instance the non-import model (mine) is 5 mm longer than George's pencil. The imprinting is different. On mine it reads "0.3mm PMG". On George's pencil it reads "0.3m/m". The concentric rings that make up the grip area are finer on my pencil than on George's. Finally the most obvious difference is the lead grade indicator. On George's pencil it is gold colored and a bit thicker than mine, which is orange. Both have the same pocket clip. Point of note here, George's PMG came in a gift box with the pocket clip unattached. Mine came as is in a disposable plastic sheath.
The 4 remaining parts are the tip, the LGI cover, the top cap and the point shield. The point shields are the only parts that are identical. The tips are internally different which is why they will not work when swapped. The LGI cover on the Import is thicker than the one on the PMG and is a different color. Due to the difference in threads the top caps do not interchange. These differences can be explained by the fact that these 2 pencils could have been built at different times with a design change later bringing them both up to the same specs. Or they were purposely designed to be different for some unknown reason. Whichever it is I prefer the PMG simply because I believe it is the newer of the 2 designs.
Stats. Everyone wants the stats. What would the world of pens and pencils be without the stats?... Do you know how laborious and time consuming it is to collect the stats?... Ah, it's nothing, really! I've either made or bought all the equipment I need to collect them. And though a little boring it's relatively painless and doesn't take long... "What are you doing?..." I'm just telling my readers that it's easy to take the stats... "You're giving away part of your status as a reviewer! The readers are supposed to think that a review is hard to do..." Eh, why? And who are you anyway... "I'm, eh, well that doesn't matter..." And neither do you! So, goodbye!... "But!..." I said GOODBYE!
I tell you, the nerve of some figments... The PMG is 146 mm long as opposed to the Imports 141 mm. Both bodies are 8 mm in diameter and both grip diameters taper from 8 mm to 7 mm. The tips are also the same length at 19 mm. However the grip lengths differ: the PMG measures 25 mm while the Import measures 23.5 mm. The balance point of the Import is 68 mm to the tip, making the Import a shade top heavy. The PMG measured 73 mm, exactly in the pencils middle! So the balance is neutral. A rare thing indeed. The Import weights 11.6 grams, making it the heavyweight in this comparison as the PMG weighs only 11.39 grams. So what do all these stats mean? Not much, unless you need to know how the pencil may feel and perform when you use it. Often pencils with similar stats feel and perform the same. So knowing the stats of a pencil can help you compare pencils before you try them.
The pencils disassemble in the same way. To clear a lead jam first remove the point shield from the top of the pencil and set it aside. Next unscrew the top cap, while holding the LGI in place, and set it aside. Next remove the LGI and set it aside. Next remove the lead from the lead reservoir so you won't spill it out while trying to juggle the pencil so as not to dump the lead (which will happen) and set it aside. Next remove the tip. Place the tip on a flat surface lead sleeve pointing up. Use the Clean Out Rod on the end of the push button to clear the lead jam by easily pushing it through the lead sleeve until it stops. Remove the COR slowly stopping about midway through. You should feel a slight resistance when pushing in and pulling out the COR. Release the push button. It should stay put. If it slides back down the LS then you are in trouble. Remove the COR then slowly lift the tip from the table top and check what is beneath it. If all you see is a short piece of lead and some lead dust Then things are fine. If you see a small black "top hat" looking piece of rubber, then you have dislodged the Lead retainer. See "All jammed UP" at the head of this blog. Reassembly is the opposite of the disassembly.
Other useful stats about the pencils are it takes 2 clicks to extend lead from the PMG and 3 from the Import to produce enough lead from the Import. The Import is quieter than the PGM but there is more resistance to the push button making it harder to press. Both have cavernous lead reservoirs but resist filling them up. Most pencils work best with about a dozen or so pieces of lead. The larger the lead diameter the fewer the number of leads it will hold. And finally you may have noticed that neither pencil has an eraser. instead they have a clean out rod beneath the push button. A great idea! To bad Pentel didn't feature this on the rest of their pencils.
As far as how they write, well...The PMG has a neutral balance point. This means that the pencil stays in my hand a lot easier that the Import. The pencil feels lighter than the Import by more than the .21g difference between the two. I like the way it feels and writes. That is the pencil does not fight me, which allows for a lot of fatigue free use. The Import is bottom heavy and it feels heavier than the .21g difference between them. But lets face it, the differences are not that dramatic. To the average user, there will not be that much, if any differences, but to someone like me, a pen and pencil geek, we can tell the difference, and the difference matters.
The Import, to me, is feels bottom heavy and it feels heavier than the PMG. It's controllable, in part,
due to it being bottom heavy. The PMG, on the other hand, feels light and easy to control. The courser rings on the grip area of the Import feel better to me though than the finer rings on the PMG. I have a tendency to rotate the pencil when I write, normally, with other, more standard pencils the pocket clip rarely gets in the way because it is placed higher up the pencil that the pocket clip on the PMG and the Import. These pocket clips hit my hand right at the web and get in my way. So rotating the pencils causes the pocket clip to irritate the web of my hand. Yes, I could remove the pocket clip, but then I could not carry the pencil in my shirt pocket nor make use of the tip protector.
The tip protector is a unique item. It is an unpolished cone of punched sheet metal. I am assuming that the crudeness of the surface of the cone is for easy gripping. The surface is exceptionally suited for this. If it were chromed or polished then one would have a hard time removing it as it snaps in place rather strongly. The idea behind the cone is to protect the tip of the pencil from sticking the user when the pencil is carried in the breast pocket. Manufacturers of drafting and mechanical pencils have been trying just about every way possible to provide this protection. I can see the reasoning behind it, but to me it's a mute point as I use a pocket protector. In it I keep a 0.3 mm pencil, a refillable stick eraser, a ballpoint pen with a touch screen pad, a click type fine point gel pen, affine point permanent marker a twin tipped screwdriver and a small expendable magnet. I used to carry an X-Acto knife as well but I lost it. My lovely wife calls it my "Geek Stuff:.
The Import seems to be a bit weighty and wants to slip out of my hand if I loosen my grip in the slightest. Not so much the PMG, which seems to require a little more looseness before slipping away from me. The Import also feels heavier than the PMG, while it is heavier by a few tenths of a gram, it feels much heavier. I think this is due in part to it's balancing point, which is well below center. Combined with it's heavier the weight causes the pencil to feel heavier. Either that or I'm as crazy as a Loon! Which is quite possible.
Bottom line is I like the PMG over the Import for the above reason as well as the fact that it just seems to fit me better than the Import. However as a collector I would very much like to be able to talk George out of his Import as they, along with the entire series, are no longer made and have become very rare. This is due in part to the probable fact that fewer Imports were produced than the PMG and that collectors are holding onto them, driving up the value. Whether you would like the Import or the PMG you will have to go to places like eBay in order to find them. The PMG will be considerably less than the Import and much easier to find.
In fact the entire series of Graph, Slimline pencils are now out of production. One, the PG7, has been out of production since the 70's while the others have been out of production since the late 90's and early 2000's and some have become very rare and hard to find like the PG7. One the original Graph Pencil, in 0.5 mm was made apparently only in 1969. It is a little different in appearance than the others and is probably the rarest and most expensive. The others in the series are the PG2 0.2 mm, PMG, 0.3 mm, PG4, 0.4 mm, PG5, 0.5 mm and the PG7, 0.7 mm. There is no 0.9 mm. To see pictures of the entire series follow this link to the page on the web site "Leadholder". Thanks to Dennis B. Smith for the information on his site, "Leadholder".
And of course much thanks to George of "My Supply Room" for the loan of the Import and the original idea of reviewing it. Hang in there, George.