Welcome To My Thoughts On Pens And Pencils

I will respect your right to disagree with what I have to say about Pens and Pencils as long as you respect the fact that I am an Old Geezer.

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A Beauty Every One... And There's More At Home!

All Jammed Up?

If you need detailed instructions on how to clear a lead jam from a mechanical pencil then click this link, "All Jammed Up?" or the link in the pages header.


Please enjoy your stay at my humble blog. Please feel free to leave a comment about any article that you read
. Also please notice that there are four reactions at the bottom of each article. If you find any article funny, interesting, cool or helpful please so indicate. Thank you for visiting my blog.

The Old Geezer

Saturday, April 12, 2014

rotring rapid PRO: Black vs Silver

Click to see scalable pic 
Everyone has their favorite.  I know that I do.  I'm sure that you do, too!  And everyone thinks that their choice is the best.  And they are right.  From their point of view that is.  We all have our reasons for choosing our favorite and each has it's own merit.  Sometimes our choice is not so much wrong as inappropriate.  Maybe it's the occasion, maybe it's the season, maybe simply it's just all wrong at the moment for whatever reason.  But when it comes to which rotring rapid Pro to choose, well there just isn't a "right" or "wrong" or a "good" or "bad" choice!  Whichever one you might choose you have made the "perfect" choice for you.

When it comes to elegance there are few colors (or lack thereof) that can top black. There is just something mysterious and alluring about the color black that always makes us look twice!  Especially something satin black, like the rotring rapid PRO in satin black. Pure black does not reflect light, it absorbs it.  But few things are pure black, like space.  Even so it's hard to see details of something black.  This is what makes a black object so alluring and mysterious.

Now when you want to be noticed right away, if you want to show some bling, then the metallic colors is the way to go and silver, white gold and platinum are very hard to beat when it comes to flash, sparkle and bling!  An object in a bright metal color stands out like nothing else can!  You can see it and make out details clean across the room!  Such a color is in-your-face and makes the bold statement, "I am here!  Deal with it!"  Unlike black, which sets in the background, awaiting to lure you in, Silver tones announce their intentions!

OK, so much for the romantic verbiage.  Lets get down to some hard facts about the rotring rapid PRO, shall we?  In either satin black of two tone silver this is a pencil that demands respect.   Made of solid brass then coated in either a black or silver finish (just what process is used I have been unable to discover nor can I find out just what the coating is.  Often metals are plated with another metal so the surface can be treated with a process that the underlying metal can not be treated with.  Often the coating is aluminum which can be anodized or heavy anodized a variety of different colors or treated in another fashion).  The satin black finish has an ever so slightly rougher texture to it than does the satin finish of the silver model.

However, to my delicate and sensitive finger tips, (stop laughing), the teeth on the grip of the silver model feel just a tad sharper than those on it's ebony brother.  This is probably due to the heavier coating on the black pencil.  Personally I prefer the sharper teeth as they afford me a better grip.  My finger tips may not be delicate but they are certainly not grizzled with calluses and they are still sensitive enough to feel the difference between the two grip surfaces.  This is one reason that I prefer the silver finish over the black.  Some of the others are it's over all look and the fact that minor scratches tend not to show up as well as they do on the black pencil.

One thing that I have noticed regardless of the color of the pencil and that's dirt in the grip's teeth.  I happen to think that knurling, also called cross hatching, is a very effective way to achieve a good gripping surface on the grip of a mechanical pencil.  But (there's always a but), it's also the worst surface to keep clean. 

The points, a natural product of the cross hatching, scrape the surface of the skin, pulling off dead skin every time the grip is touched.  This dead skin lodges in the grooves created by the Knurling process and build up.  The result is an ugly discolored grip!  While it's bad on a silver or gold tone grip, it's worse on a black or dark grey colored grip.  On the lighter pencils the discoloration dulls the luster of the metal and on the darker colors it lightens them up and makes the points look worn.

There are ways of cleaning this disgusting stuff out of the grooves of the grip.  One effective way is to brush it away using a short, stiff bristled brush and some alcohol.  From a hardware store purchase a good quality "acid" brush.  This is a natural fiber brush with bristles 1-1/2" long and has a sheet steel handle rolled into a tube.  A good quality brush can cost $1.00 or more.  The bristles are thin enough to get into the grooves of the grip but they are too long!  Carefully, using a good pair of fabric shears, cut the bristles down to 1/2" long.  A good straight cut is what you want.  From a drug store or department store purchase a bottle of 91% isopropyl  alcohol (rubbing alcohol).  70% is the most common strength for isopropyl alcohol is 71% so you may have to 91% it at a drug store. The higher the percentage the more alcohol and less water in the solution.  More is better!  You will also need a lint free cloth, like a man's cotton bandanna, washed several times to remove the sizing.  DO NOT use fabric softener when cleaning and drying the bandanna as the chemicals in the softener retard the bandanna's ability to absorb liquids.

Make sure that the newly made cleaning brush is clean and has not been used for anything else.  Pour a small amount of 91% isopropyl alcohol into a small disposable container.  Dip the cleaning brush in the alcohol and clean the brush using a paper towel.  Remove the grip from the pencil and set the rest of the pencil aside.  Hold the grip in a fold of the bandanna between thumb and forefinger of your opposite hand then dip the brush in the alcohol.  With a sweeping motion and traveling along one set of grooves, using medium pressure and turning the grip in the opposite direction, brush the alcohol into the grooves of the grip.   Be sure not to touch the metal of the pencil with the metal of the brush or you could scratch the finish!  You may have to use a light scrubbing  action to remove old, stubborn crud from the grip.  Use the bandanna to dry the grip.  Then check it to see if the grip is clean.  If not, repeat the procedure in the stubborn area until it's clean.  Be very careful not to over clean as this can damage the finish.

Cleaning my leave the finish on the grip clean, but dull.  To shine it up a tad, apply a liberal coating of Armor All on a cotton swab until the entire grip is coated in the milky white stuff.  Then use the bandanna to dry the grip by simply rolling it in the folds of the bandanna.  Do Not dry all the Armor All off the grip.  Allow some to dry.  This will give the metal a shine of satin look in some cases. Do not clean the grip too often as this will help erode the finish more quickly!

So, the choice is yours.  Elegant Black or Stunning Silver.  Either way you can't go wrong when picking a rotring rapid Pro as your instrument of expression!

Thanks ever so much to our friends at JetPens.com.com for the pencils used in this post.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Entry Level Pencil: The rotring 300, 0.3 mm Drafting Pencil

Every mechanical pencil maker has at least one entry level pencil.  Some may have more if they have different lines of pencils.  Most entry level pencils are much lower in cost than the next pencil in the series.  They are usually made of plastic with a metal tip and lead sleeve.  The pocket clip can be integral with the body or removable.  They most often lack features like a metal grip and a lead grade indicator.  Their internal mechanism is generally simple in design and made of plastic or polymers except for the clutch mechanism which is almost exclusively made of brass.  Construction can be a little less than desirable but generally they are well made as they represent the company and are often the only item from the company the user ever sees.

The rotring 300 is rotring's entry level pencil in the numbered series of pencils.  The next up is the 500, then the best known of the series, the 600 followed by the rapid PRO and then the top of the line 800.  At one time, when the pencils were made in Germany there was a 400 and a 700 in the series.  However these are no longer produced and fetch a pretty penny when found.  The rapid PRO, cost wise, fits in between the 600 and the 800.  This sort of fills the gap left by the out of production 700.  There does not appear that there is a replacement for the 400.

As far as entry level pencils (ELP) go the rotring 300 is a slightly above average pencil.  It features a design that is reminiscent of the 500 and 600 pencils.  While the later mentioned 500 and 600 pencils have removable metal grip areas the 300 does not.  The body is a single piece made of plastic, only the tip is removable and made of chromed brass and stainless steel.  The push button cap is also made of plastic while the removable pocket clip is made of chromed metal.  The pencil features a lead grade indicator which is something usually found on higher end pencils.  Unlike the 500, 3600 and 800 the lead grade indicator on the 300 is made of plastic, not metal.  There is no detent, but there is enough friction to hold the indicator on station during use.

The 300 breaks down into 4 major components: The main body which includes the pocket clip and the internal mechanism; the tip; the eraser and the cap or push button.  The internal mechanism at first appears to come out of the body tube but is stopped part way out.  The lead reservoir is transparent plastic while the clutch assembly is wrapped in white plastic and adhered to the lead reservoir.  There is no clean out rod stuck to the eraser.  The plastic cap fits snugly onto the lead reservoir covering the eraser.  The lead reservoir has a plug in the top of it with a small hole restricting the flow of lead into the reservoir to a single piece at a time. The eraser is a standard size white vinyl eraser available just about anywhere.  It is surrounded by a thin silver tone piece of sheet metal.

The exterior of the 300 is a semi gloss black with red figures on one of the six sides of the body, just under the pocket clip.  The grip area is cylindrical and molded to simulate knurling.  It is not very sharp but it works because of the pencils very light.  The pocket clip is removable, but I would never do so as it has to be pulled over the plastic LGI which is also molded to simulate knurling.  The pocket clip would, I'm afraid, ruin the LGI by scratching it or gouging it.  The tip is small with not a lot of gripping area.  Removing it the first time or later if it had been replaces to tightly, will require the assistance of a rubber jar opener.  When replacing it tighten it only enough to keep it on.

Now for some of that dry stuff, the stats.  The pencil weighs a mere 8.4 grams, making it a light weight indeed.  It is 141 mm long, has a diameter of 9 mm across the flats and has a balance point 72 mm from the tip of the pencil which gives it practically perfect balance.  2 strong presses of the cap expels enough lead to write with.  The lead reservoir has room for a full container of lead (12 pieces) but it will have to be fed in one piece at a time.  The mechanism  is fairly quite due in part to it's almost complete plastic construction.  Should you have a lead jam, common with 0.3 mm pencils, you'll have to supply your own clean out rod as the 400 does not come with one.

Being such a light pencil, many will find it an enjoyable experience to write with the 400.  I however find it a bit light for my taste.  I have to hold the pencil too tightly for extended use which hurts my hand.  Holding the pencil higher up at the point where the body meets the grip area helps but when using HB lead the print seems too light.  The use of grade B lead will help out also by making a darker impression with less pressure.

Overall I like the look of the 300 as it has the appearance of the beloved 600.  The pencil still come in 0.3 mm but for how long as the 600 comes only in 0.5 and 0.7 mm lead sizes.  While the extremely light weight of the 300 may be heaven for some users, but not for me.  I prefer the feel of the 600 because it has some heft to it..  That said, I think the rotring 300 is a dandy little entry level pencil that offers the user features found in some higher cost pencils without the higher price tag.  It's light weight makes it easy to carry in the breast pocket of a shirt without the need of a pocket protector.  So if you are in the market for a lightweight 0.3 mm drafting pencil that offers nice features then seriously consider the roting 300.

The rotring 300 and the entire numbered series of rotring drafting pencils can be seen and purchased from our friends at Jetpens.com.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

roting rapid PRO 0.5 mm Drafting Pencil in Black

Click on any photo to see a full sized image
Grace, elegance, sophistication, beauty, no, I am not talking about my lovey wife, this time, although she is all these things, I'm talking about a drafting pencil.  Namely the rotring rapid PRO 0.5 mm in Black.  Like my lovely wife, the rotring rapid Pro is all these things and more.

First introduced in 2010 it's price range puts it in between the rotring 600 and the rotring 800 drafting pencils, the spot once held by the now discontinued and rare rotring 700 drafting pencil.  So I am going to take a wild guess here, mind you it just that, and say that the rotring rapid PRO was designed to fill the gap between the rotring 600 and the rotring 800.  But I could be wrong.  At any rate it fits the gap well.

Now, why would I apply such words like grace, elegance, sophistication and beauty to a drafting pencil?  Because they fit.  The rotring rapid PRO is everything one would expect from the International known and loved rotring family of pencils and pens.  It has graceful lines, is n elegant design, has a sophisticated look and is a beauty to look at and use.

Yeah, I know what you're thinking!  You're thinking that because he likes drafting pencils and rotrings that he's going to give this one a glossy review!  Well, I could see why you would think that way, but you'd be wrong!  I'm going to give it a satiny review.  Get it?  Satiny review!  The pencil's a satin black...  (Sigh)  Why do I even bother?

OK, enough dry humor.  Lets get down to some hard facts....

 The Construction..  The rotring rapid PRO is of all metal construction on the exterior and a combination of metal and plastic on the interior.  The metals are aluminum plate over brass (my best guess) which is anodized a satin black.  The barrel is hexagonal while the grip assembly is round.  The top of the pencil where the pocket clip resides is round as is the push button.

The Look.  The finish is a satin black with a smooth texture on the barrel and a rough texture on the grip portion of the grip assembly.  This is due to tiny spiral cross hatching intended to provide the surface a good grip. A red plastic ring separates the grip assembly from the barrel.  This is part of the interior assembly. On the left side of the pencil, in gloss gray paint, are the rotring logo and the name of the pencil, "rapid PRO" and the lead, size, "0.5" (mm).  Embossed on the pocket clip is the company logo.  All in all a rather attractive pencil.

Point of Interest.  The "red ring" around the pencil is the companies trademark.  It literally means "red ring".  The original manufacturing company, based in Germany, changed the company name to "rotring" in the early stages of the company's life.  The company is now part of Newell Rubbermaid and the pencils are made in Japan.  To the best of my knowledge the quality of the German pencil has been upheld by the Japanese version.  As far as interchangeability is concerned, I haven't a clue.  If you know of anything different please write me and let me know.

 The stats.  The rotring rapid PRO is a solid, high end pencil worthy of the rotring name.  It is made of metal, probably a combination of brass and steel.  I'm certainly NOT going to take a carbide scribe to it to find out for sure, but most metal pencils have brass bodies as well as other parts made of brass while things like the pocket clip, lead sleeve and push button are made of steel.  Generally the interior is a combination of metal (brass and steel) and plastic of some type.  Such is the case with the rapid PRO.  Don't disdain plastic in a high end pencil as plastic can dampen sound and it makes far less noise than metal when surfaces contact one another, thus making for a quitter pencil.

The rotring rapid PRO is a heavyweight weighing in at 24.5 grams.  It's 144 mm with the sliding sleeve retracted and 148 mm long extended.  That gives the rapid PRO a 4 mm lead sleeve. the diameter is 8.5 mm across the flats and has a balance point of 73 mm from the extended point.  This means that the Rapid Pro's balance point is almost in the exact center of the pencil.  This makes for a better writing experience. 

The black satin color is probably the result of the brass being plated with a thin coating of Aluminum and then hard anodized.  Brass itself cannot be anodized.  Anodize is a process where Aluminum is oxidized.  Anodize is applied in layers and is harder than the under lying Aluminum.  During the process the anodize can be dyed or colored, thus a black pencil!

The push button on the rapid PRO is a bit unusual and there is no explanation, that I can read (I don't read Japanese) in the pamphlet that accompanies the pencil, in that the push button is a tube, not a cap!  The top is open.  What's up with that!?  I don't see the purpose in the open top, but the metal is rolled down towards the inside so there is no sharp edge, but a nice smooth edge to press against.  Under the push button is a tiny eraser (useless in my book, then any follower of this blog knows how I feel about such erasers).  The eraser hides the fact that instead of a wide mouth for the reservoir there is a metal cap with a small hole in it so that the lead has to be delivered one-at-a-time!  Much like the Mitsubishi Kuru Togas.  Again, what's up with that!?  If anybody knows the reasoning behind this, please let me know!

Now if you go pressing on the push button, and I know that you will, then you will get a surprise. The first depression lets down the hidden sliding sleeve (Ha!  Told you there was a surprise!) along with a small amount of lead.  A second depression releases enough lead to write/draw with.  The mechanism is not loud, while not being silent either.  Shall we say it's on the quiet side, but audible. The sliding sleeve is a true sliding sleeve, not just a hide-a-way sleeve.  This means as you write, the lead wears away but when it reaches the sleeve the sleeve moves back up into the pencil allowing the lead to still make a mark.  However this is more use when drawing with a straight edge than anything else for the pencil is held almost perpendicular to the paper when drafting or doing mechanical drawings.

4 mm sliding sleeve
Now You See Me, Now You Don't!

The rotring rapid PRO breaks down into 4 major components.  The grip/end cap/lead sleeve, the push button, the eraser (without a clean out rod) and the main body.  The pocket clip is removable, but should one do so I am afraid that the finish would be scratched.  To disassemble the pencil in order to remove a lead jam, simply remove the grip assembly, then using a suitable clean out rod, remove the jam and reassemble the pencil.  No need to remove the push button and eraser to gain access to the clean out rod because there is none (did I mention that the pencil doesn't come with a clean out rod already?).

Top: Grip/End Cap/Lead Sleeve
Bottom from left to right: Front Row, Push Button, Eraser.  Back Row:  The Main Body And Internal Works
Now besides the obvious grudge I have against pencil makers no longer putting clean out rods in thin lead pencils I have one other complaint about the pencil  But first a word from our sponsors... Please visit jetpens.com often and when you do you can mention my name, The Old Geezer!  And the name of my blog, Pens and Pencils!  It won't get you any discounts or anything but it might get and my blog some attention! (Just kidding,...).  The second, and more importantly is the grip part of the grip assembly.  The knurling is very fine and was intended to provide the end user with a good griping surface.  But for me the knurling is almost to fine.  Almost but not quite.  It's not that the pencil slips in my hand when I use it, it's just that I prefer the feel of a courser knurling!  To each his own. 
However, there is one thing that I have discovered.  With use the grooves tend to fill with exfoliated skin!  This turns the black to gray!  An"acid" brush, form a hardware store, with it's natural bristles shortened considerably, is good for cleaning this out of the grooves of the grip. A little bit of tap water used with the brush helps remove the dead skin and wash it away. The natural bristles are easy on the finish.  NEVER use any type of metal brush to do this as this would ruin the pencils finish!
Bottom line.  The rotring rapid Pro make a good writing pencil.  it's well balanced, has some heft to it which helps keep in in the hand and in the correct writing position..  The grip issue aside the pencil is a keeper.  It's a very well made pencil, made from quality materials with an attention to details.  The pencil is also suited for mechanical drawing but I personally feel that the rotring rapid Pro is worth the money.  One day I'll buy one in silver and I'll have a side by side comparison.
I hope that this review has been helpful, interesting, informative and that you, the reader, liked my since of humor.  If you didn't, then by all means don't email me a bout it!
Many thanks to our friends at jetpens.com for the pencil used in this review.  Please visit them for some of the finest pens, pencils and stationary items that Japan makes. 
Thank you.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Faber Castell TK-Metal 903 0.3 mm Drafting Pencil

Faber Castell is a name that I am familiar with in that I grew up with the
brand.  I mostly knew the company for it's erasers, especially the long white typewriter erasers with the blue plastic bristles on top.  I used these to clean the contacts on battery cases and circuit board contacts.  Sadly these are no longer available except on eBay and the like and were last made by Sanford Brands.  The few that I have left are probably all I'll ever find.  But I digress.  Faber Castell has long been a name that meant quality, being made in Germany, as are and were some of the finest drafting pencils in the world.  A visit to the Faber Castell web site reveals that there is only one the series of drafting pencils I am most familiar with, the ones that are dark green and gleaming bright metal, still made, the TK-Fine Varol L in 3.5mm.  So the one that I have is no longer available, the TK metal 903, as are a host of other such pencils.

When I first got into buying and collecting drafting pencils I neglected buying the Faber Castells in favor of the Japanese made pencils.  I guess I was thinking that the Faber Castells would be available for longer than they have been.  Many of the vintage pencils are selling for $150.00 and up!  I guess I had better get the TK-Fine Varlo L 3.5mm soon or I'm not going to get one!  All the others are out of my reach, financially.

I am always reluctant to write something bad about a pencil seeing as I am just one lone man in a sea of writers, would be writers, artist and those who wish they could draw and the like, all who would have an opinion on the pencils that I review.  You must remember that what I write, though I try to be as objective as possible, is always somewhat subjective.  I've only trashed 2 mechanical pencils on this blog, and I believe that they deserved it!  I write this in order to say this: I'm a little disappointed in my first Faber Castell drafting Pencil!  Why, you ask?  Well I'll get to that in a bit.  Right now some stats!

The TK-Metal 903 is approximately 144 mm long, 9 mm in diameter at it's widest point and weighs 16.7 grams making it a medium weight in the drafting pencil arena.  The balance point is approximately 70 mm from the tip of the pencil which gives it nearly perfect balance!   Now for the first disappointment.  The body of the pencil is not metal as the name would imply, but plastic! Now being plastic is not a crime by any means!  Some high end pencils have plastic bodies.  It's just that because of the name, TK-Metal 903, I expected an all metal pencil! 

Putting that aside, the green plastic is an attractive color, a British Racing Green I'd call it, even though it's of German make.  The body is round and smooth with the manufactures name and logo, the pencils designation and lead size being imprinted in a silver tone on the barrel below the chromed metal removable pocket clip. The push button and ring between it and the pocket clip are also metal as it the chromed ring and chromed grip and pencil tip.  The band between the ring and grip is plastic.

The grip is the area of the second disappointment.  Being metal does not assure that a grip will have grip, thought it usually does as it is often knurled and not bright chrome!  One day mechanical pencil manufactures will learn that slick chrome grips, while they may look pretty, are not a good gripping surface!  The TK Metal 903's grip is unique in that it has 18 narrow evenly spaced rings cut into it.  It itself not a good gripping surface.  The rings need to be wider and a little deeper to provide a better gripping surface.  Between the narrow rings are a number of micro cut rings almost to fine to see with the naked eye. (A magnifying lens will reveal them).  The idea is that the micro cut rings will provide a sort of micro prickly surface that will act as a good griping surface!  If you have baby soft skin it might.  but for the average person I do not feel that it does.

The take down.  WARNING!  The end of the pencil disassembles into 4 parts!  None of then except the end cap/lead sleeve are attached in any way!  To remove the tip in order to remove a lead jam for instance it is best to grasp the pencil body ABOVE the metal ring with one hand.  Then with the other LOOSEN the end cap (it's the smooth bright part below the ringed grip) then STOP!  Now grip the grip along with the rest of the pencil in the palm of the hand and continue to remove the end cap.  The remaining 3 pieces are now very loose and should be carefully removed and stored in a safe place such as a small container.  Once the lead jam has been taken care of reassemble the pencil in reverse order.  However don't go looking for the lead clean out rod under the eraser as there is none.  You'll have to provide your own.  But removing the end cap/push button and eraser will allow you access to the cavernous lead reservoir.

Click picture to enlarge

The writing experience and the rest of the story.  The pencil only needs 2 clicks to advance enough lead to write with.  The clicks are smooth and not overly loud.  The balance of the pencil is off set by the fact that I have to either hold the pencil above the long grip area or grip the pencil overly tight in order for my fingers not to slide down the grip.  Over gripping cause my hand to tire easy, so I've never had the opportunity to use the TK-Metal 903 for extended periods.

My conclusion.  Well, I am afraid that you, the reader, are on your own on this one.  Because of the grip situation and the way the end components are assembled, I can not in all honesty recommend this pencil for the average user.  It's a shame for the pencil has some fine qualities, but not enough, for me at least, to overcome the one major flaw, the lack of grip in the grip.  If you do buy a Faber Castell TK-Metal 903 ( or any of the other sizes it comes in) or if you have one, please drop me an email, theoldgeezer@live.com and let me know your experiences.

Bottom line is that they all can't be winners.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

We Have A winner!

We have a winner of the JetPens and Pens and Pencils Giveaway!  Congratulations to Jenny Mabee of Milton, MA for being the winner of a brand new Platinum Pro Use MSD-1500A 0.3 mm drafting pencil!  Jenny has been contacted by JetPens and will receive her new pencil directly from JetPens via snail mail!  So from all of us here at Pens and Pencils, and I am sure form JetPens as well, congratulations Jenny on winning your new Platinum Pro Use MSD-1500A 0.3 mm drafting pencil!  We hope that you will enjoy using it for years to come!

Remember the Platinum Pro Use MSD-1500 A, as well as all the Platinum Pro Use models in lead sizes 0.3 mm, 0.5 mm and 0.7 mm, are available from our friends at JetPens.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

JetPens & Pens and Pencils Giveaway


Geezer: Jet-Do and Jet-Da!  What are you two pixies doing here!?  Aren't you a long way from home?
Jet-Do: Hello, Geezer!  We're here to help you give away a Platinum Pro Use MSD-1500A 0.3 mm drafting pencil just like the one you reviewed recently!
Geezer: Get out!  Really?
Jet-Da: Really, Geezer!  We're going to give away a Platinum Pro Use MSD-1500A to one of your readers!  The Giveaway is only open to readers of your blog, no one else can enter!
Geezer: Cool!  How does the Giveaway work?
Jet-Do: It's easy, Geezer.  All your readers have to do is click on the link below and follow the instructions on signing up for the JetPens news letter.  They have to sign up to receive the news letter in order to enter.  All you need is a valid e-mail address to enter.
Geezer:  That's great!  How long do they have and how will they get their pencil if they win?
Jet-Da: The contest is open from Friday, October the 4th at 10:00 AM through Friday, October the 11th at noon when it will close!
Jet-Do: The winner will be picked at random and contacted by e-mail for a mailing address so a brand new pencil can be mailed to them directly from JetPens!  And you get to announce the winner on your blog!
Geezer:  Guys!  That's just great!  Wow!  I'm stoked (eh, do they still say "stoked" any more?)  And Let me guess, the "link" is like, right below me!?
Jet-Da: Oh, Geezer you're so clever.
Geezer: Thanks, Jet-Da.  And thanks for the 2 of you stopping by and helping me set up this Giveaway and for giving away such a beautiful pencil to my readers!
So faithful readers here is your chance to win a brand new Platinum Pro Use MSD-1500A 0.3 mm drafting pencil just like the one I reviewed recently (the previous post) directly from JetPens!  Help spread the word about the Giveaway by telling all your friends to read my review of the Platinum Pro Use MSD-1500A 0.3 mm drafting pencil and then to enter the Giveaway!  It's free and it's easy!  "My the pen force be with you" (JetPens).
Jet-Do and Jet-Da are trade marks of and are the sole property of JetPens.com.  Used here without permission (I sure hope they don't mind or I'm in deep do-do).

Monday, September 23, 2013

Platinum Pro Use MSD 1500A

The Platinum Pro Use MSD-1500A is the Pentacle of my Platinum Pro Use collection.  With the gifting of this pencil I now own all 4 Platinum Pro Use Drafting pencils, in 0.3 mm. I have only blogged (so far) about the Platinum Pro Use MSD-1000A.  As I get back into the swing of things I will review the other 2, which are on the lower end of Platinum's line.

I was struck by the pencils odd hypodermicesk look it has about it.  In that I mean that it has a rather bulbous grip that suddenly and sharply becomes the tip and lead sleeve!  The gradual narrowing of the body at the pocket clip does nothing to belie this mental image!  Neither does it's lack of stature!  Yes my readers, the Platinum Pro Use MSD-1500A is a shorty!  At 128 mm  it falls shot of it's cousins stature of 143.3 mm!  It is also larger in girth being 11 mm in diameter at the widest point on the grip.  It's also heavier than the MSD-1000A, coming in a t21.9 grams compared to the MSD-1000A's mere 16.1 grams. The chubby pencil's balance point (from lead sleeve) is 62 mm making it 4 mm's  top heavy, but you'd never know it!  There!  I've gotten the stats out of the way!  Important as they may be, they are still stats and still boring (well, to some they're boring).

While being fat and stubby (honestly, it's the shortest drafting pencil in my collection) it is far from being ugly!  In fact, I find the Platinum Pro Use MSD-1500A  rather attractive.  If you take a real good look at the MSD-1500A, I man an in depth look, then you see the true beauty of the design.  First, like the other high end Platinum, the MSD-1000A this pencil has had quite a bit of thought put into it.  It's form is really elegant and sensual!  It's not only pleasing to the eye but to the touch as well.  The anodized satin finish is high tech and a pleasure for the fingers and hand.  Unlike many drafting pencils it has no rough edges or sharp corners.  Nothing to cause an unpleasant sensation to the skin.  I just keep running my fingers over the surface as I'm typing!

Despite the almost teflonest surface the MSD-1500A is surprisingly easy to hold mostly due to the design of the grip.  It has 8 rings that are approximately 4 mm apart.  The base of each ring (pointing downward) is larger than the top.  This gives the appearance of trapezoidal rings stacked atop one another.  The edges are nicely curved and for me the grip provides a surprising nice surface to hold onto!  The slimming of the upper body at the pocket clip has a unique function in that the curve falls right at the web of my hand and helps nestle the pencil in my hand thus keeping it in place while I write.  Due to it's light weight (it is made mostly of aluminum, not brass) and it's near center-of-pencil balance point the MSD-1500A is a pleasure to hold and to write or draw with.

Something else that enhances the pleasure of writing with the MSD-1500A is the fact that the protruding lead has very little movement within the stainless steel lead sleeve.  This helps give the pencil a more solid feel when in use.  The pencils rock solid construction is another factor in giving the user such an in control feel when using the pencil.  The tip body, grip, lead grade indicator ring, upper body, pocket clip retainer and push button are made of aluminum while the lead sleeve is made of stainless steel and the pocket clip is made of spring steel.  The tolerances are such that the pencil fits together very well and all the parts seat solidly and stay that way.  Dear readers, this is a very well constructed pencil.  Impressed yet?  I am!

The Platinum Pro Use MSD-1500A breaks down into 8 separate components/sub assemblies.  The are (A) the tip/lead sleeve, (B) the lead indicator ring, (C) the grip/clutch assembly/lead reservoir, (D) the main body sleeve, (E) the pocket clip, (F) the pocket clip retainer, (G) the eraser and (H) the push button. The tip/lead sleeve unscrews and the lead grade indicator slips off it.  The  push button is removed then the upper body sleeve can be unscrewed and removed.  The pocket clip retainer can be unscrewed and the pocket clip removed and the eraser can be removed.  In order to fill the lead reservoir simply remove the push button and the eraser.  In order to clear a lead jam it is necessary to remove the tip and the lead grade indicator ring, which can easily be lost as it is a simple ring with indication notch.  It is not threaded.

However, the MSD-1500A DOES NOT come with a clean out rod!  This is one of my pet peeves and it, to me, is a mar on an otherwise excellent pencil.  I'm also not a fan of the erasers that come with drafting pencils.  Originally the first mechanical drafting pencils did not come with an eraser at all!  However there is a solution to  both problems.  JetPens.com sells erasers for the MSD-1500A and they sell some thing unique in the world of drafting pencils.  Pilot makes 3 different packets of 5 erasers for some of their pencils that also contain 2 stand alone clean out rods.  One for 0.3 mm to 0.4 mm and one for 0.5 mm to 0.9mm lead sizes.  The HERFS-10 set contains 5 erasers that will fit the Platinum Pro Use MSD-1500A as well as the 2 aforementioned clean out rods.  This is a better buy in my opinion.  For detailed instructions on how to clear a lead jam from the tip of a drafting pencil see the link "All Jammed Up" at the top left of this blog.

One feature of the MSD-1500A is it's uniquely designed and placed Lead Grade Indicator.  The LGI is located on the tip of the pencil.  The grades are impressed on the body of the tip and the open base of a triangular notch in the LGI ring is set to the lead grade being used. The LGI is not easily set with fingers such as mine while trying to screw the tip back on the pencil while holding the notch base on the lead grade in use.  So what I ended up having to do is use a wooden toothpick as a sort of pry tool.  By placing it in the "V" shaped notch  in the LGI ring at an angle perpendicular to the pencil, I maneuvered the notch into position above the selected lead grade.  To me this is a minor annoyance but it does detract from the pencils overall grade.  But then again, how often does one change the grade of lead one uses?

Let's see, have I missed anything?  Oh yeah!  It takes only 2 pushes of the button to advance enough lead to write/draw with which is nice.  The mechanism is a little noisy and has a definite metallic sound.  The lead reservoir is cavernous but like most mechanical pencils of it's type the Platinum Pro Use MSD-1500Afeeds best with a half dozen pieces of lead or fewer.  The pencil is available in one color/finish, satin Aluminum and 3 lead sizes, 0.3 mm, 0.5 mm and 0.7 mm.  It and all the linked items in this review are available from out friends at JetPens.com.

Over all I am impressed with the Platinum Pro Use MSD-1500A.  It is a unique, good looking design, attractively finished, well designed and constructed.  The 2 issues I have with the pencil are minor and do not detract from the pencils over all appeal.  In fact, I believe that the pencil would make a fine addition to any collection of fine mechanical/drafting pencils.  It would also be an excellent choice as a writing/drawing instrument.  So if you are in the market for a high end, but not terribly expensive mechanical/drafting pencil then you should consider the Platinum Pro Use MSD-1500 series of pencils.  Thanks for reading.