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.

My Obsession

My Obsession
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
Please Excuse My Absence

I have not blogged since July of 2015 due to the fact that my Lovely Wife was diagnosed with 2 types of cancer. A new case of breast cancer which has metastasized and gone to her bones, mainly her back. She had a mastectomy of her left breast which showed the type of cancer that was in her bones. She has been taking an oral med. every day and she has a port under her skin to receive a liquid med. She has gone through one round of radiation treatments to stop some pain in her back. That gave her GERD and the med for that was nasty tasting. The bone cancer has caused the vertebra in her lower back to pinch her left sciatic nerve causing her pain, numbness and foot drag. She also has skin cancer that has only been partly addressed.

I have been busy taking care of her as the treatments have left her weak and sickly. She can not drive so I have to drive her to her appointments and treatments. I also have to do all the cooking and most of what cleaning we do. So I do not have a lot of time for blogging. However the installment of the review of the Schaeffer Ultrafine 0.3mm pencil marks what I hope will be a new review every month. However some of my future reviews may seem familiar as they may be a review of a pencil or pen that I have reviewed before just in another size due to my limited collection of writing instruments and the economic state of our nation.

I am grateful to George Fox for wanting me to do a review of another one of his pencils. I think that as a reader of my humble blog, may fine of interest as the Schaeffer Ultra Fine is a very unusual pencil.

So please excuse my absence and as a reader of my humble blog I hope that you enjoy the review of this unique pencil.

Coming Soon...

Thank you,

The Old Geezer.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Pentel Graph 600 PG603 0.3 mm Drafting Pencil

When I first saw the Pentel Graph 600 I was blown away! The photo of the pencil on the JetPens web site was making me drool! I wanted one, to say the least! And not only was it not yellow but it came in 5 different colors, not one of them was yellow! When time came for me to purchase mine I chose the dark blue. It was a choice between that and the mint blue. Maybe the next one will be mint blue.

As regular readers of my reviews know one of the very first things that I do with a new drafting pencil, aside from drooling all over it, is I break it down into as many user friendly parts that I am able to. The Pentel Graph 600 was no exception. I Removed the push button and inspected it. It is the over-sleeve type (the long chrome metal sleeve fits over the metal lead reservoir tube) with a lead grade indicator on top. The lead grade indicator is two tone plastic, in this case, a dark blue outer cylinder with a rectangular window and a black inner tube with the lead grades, B, HB, H, 2H, 3H and 4H in white. On top of the push button is the lead size, .3, in white on black. The outer tube rotates around the inner tube and locks in place with the window showing the indicated lead grade. The locking feature is a very nice touch.

I next removed the white, token, eraser and was delighted to find a clean out rod stuck into the bottom of the eraser. A Pentel rep. had informed me that Pentel was not going to supply clean out rods with their pencils any longer, so I was expecting not to see one! This is the same rep. who informed me that Pentel was no longer manufacturing the P203 0.3 mm pencil. However I see that they are for sale as a regular item on at least one UK web site.

I then removed the end cap/lead sleeve. This beautifully chromed metal end cap steps down twice before tapering down to the stainless steel lead sleeve, which is 4 mm long and fixed. The end cap is beautifully machined both outside and inside, a sigh of quality craftsmanship. Beneath the end cap lies the brass 3-jawed clutch with it’s brass chuck ring. This is imbedded in the plastic that makes up the body of the pencil. The body of the pencil is hexagonal in shape with the metal grip being cylindrical in shape.

I next tried to remove the grip but it is not made to be removed by the user. That’s no problem but just a little unusual as every other pencil that I have seen that has a plastic body and metal grip the grip has been removable, even some pencils with composite plastic/rubber grips and some with rubber grips the grips have been removable. There is no real reason for the grip to be removable by the end user. Usually the reason that the grip is removable is that it of a different material than the pencils body, or for ease of manufacturer. In any case the non removable metal grip on the Graph 600 was a bit of a surprise.

Time for some numbers and some glowing descriptions! The pencil is 147.8 mm’s long for push button to lead sleeve. The diameter of the grip is 9.2 mm’s. The distance across the flats of the pencil is 7.8 mm’s. The balancing point of the pencil is 84.1 mm’s from the push button, making the Graph 600 a little bottom heavy, just the way I like a drafting pencil. The grip is satin finished which makes a beautiful contrast between it and the bright chromed finish of the end cap. It’s 32.6 mm’s long and segmented by 15-0.5mm groves and one 0.5mm step. The resultant rings are 1.5 mm’s in width. The combination of rings, grooves and satin finish make the grips surface very graspable! On the side of the body near the top of the pencil in white lettering is: GRAPH600 PG603 Pentel 0.3. The pocket clip is satin finished chrome and has “Pentel” stamped on one side of the top clamping ring and “Japan” on the other. Over all the look of the Pentel graph 600 is very attractive.

The pencil balances well in my hand, being bottom heavy as I’ve already mentioned. It glides effortlessly across the paper, will turn on a dime and give you 9 cents change! One of the most outstanding features of the Pentel drafting pencils is the small incremental lead advance. It takes four clicks of the push button in order to produce enough lead to write with. This is a feature that I like a lot as I have a habit of advancing lead often while using a drafting pencil. By having the lead advance in such small increments I’m far less likely to over advance the lead and break it off while writing.

Bottom line, the Pentel Graph 600 is a very attractive, well made quality instrument that is equally at home on the writer’s desk or the draftsman's table. It’s light weight of only 11.3 grams makes it a pencil that I can write with all day long. It’s well designed grip is easy to grasp giving me very good control over the pencil. Small incremental lead advances mean less lead breakage and it’s over all balance helps the pencil glide across the paper. So, if you are after a good drafting pencil for just about any purpose then mosey on over to JetPens and check out the entire line of Pentel Graph 600 Drafting pencils. You’ll be glad you did!

Many thanks to JetPens for the use of the photo.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Clearing A Lead Jam From An Ohto Super Promecha PM-1503P Drafting Pencil

The Ohto Super Promecha PM-1503P Automatic Drafting pencil is what appears to me to be a 3rd generation Super Promecha. It's by far the best looking and the best designed of the series. The 2 predecessors that I'm aware of, the PM-1000S and the PM-1500S (see fig. 2) both have the unique feature of being able to set the maximum lead sleeve exposure length via a spring loaded threaded adjustment tubular wheel in the end cap of the pencil.

The PM-1500P Series lacks this feature and for a good reason. It was redundant (and probably costly to make) so it was unnecessary. The threaded tube sets the maximum length of the lead sleeve that is exposed when the lead sleeve is exposed regardless. The lead sleeve is exposed or hidden by turning the grip. With the grip all the up the lead sleeve is fully exposed, within the limits set by the adjustment in the end cap. With the grip all the way down the lead sleeve is completely hidden. But the grip can stop and expose only a portion of the lead sleeve any where along it's length of travel. Starting to get the picture? There were 2 devises that could do the same job, but in slightly different ways, so why keep both? So the lead sleeve length adjustment in the pencils end cap was finally drooped on the current model. So while this article focuses on the current model Super Promecha, it can easily be applied to the other 2 models with a slight variation.

Lead jams are not as common as they once were. This is due in part to better quality pencils as well as better quality lead. They also occur more readily in the smaller diameter lead sizes, mainly the 0.3 mm size. Despite this some pencil manufacturers have decided to leave clean out rods out out their pencils. Ohto is not one of them. So if you do experience a lead jam and have to clear the lead sleeve you'll have the proper tool to do the job. When lead jams do occur they can stop up a pencil instantly and the only thing that will get it working again is to clear the jam.

To clear a lead jam from the PM-1503S (and any other 1500S series pencil) follow these simple instructions. First remove the push button to expose the eraser. Remove the eraser and beneath it will be a very small diameter length of wire called a clean out rod. Keep the eraser and clean out rod out but replace the push button before proceeding or else you'll dump the lead from the pencil! Next rotate the grip counter clockwise, lowering the grip and hiding the lead sleeve (see fig. 2).

Once the grip is all the way down, remove the end cap. Be very careful
at this point as the end cap is under spring tension from a large spring housed inside the grip. This spring is what allows the grip to stop at any point in its length of travel and maintain its position. To remove the end cap tightly grasp the grip in one hand while grasping the end cap in the other and twist the end cap counter clockwise to unscrew it from the grip. Make sure that you do not lose the grip spring (see fig. 3)! The grip spring may stay in the grip or come out with the end cap, either way remove it and secure it and the end cap somewhere safe for a short period (see fig. 3A).

The lead sleeve is now partially exposed . To fully expose the lead sleeve reverse the direction of the grip, stopping just short of fully removing it from the threads (see fig. 4).

Now you are ready to remove the lead sleeve. Be careful here as well as the lead sleeve is also under tension by a small spring that sets tension for the tubular wheel that sets the max. length of lead exposed per click. To remove the lead sleeve, which is polished stainless steel, you may need something to give you added grip, such as a rubber jar lid opener, as the lead sleeve is on extremely tight. Grasp the body tube with one had, right where the rubber "O" rings are positioned (I used to think that these rubber "O" rings were purely decoration, but I've since learned that they serve a purpose. They are the grip used to help the user remove the lead sleeve). While grasping the lead sleeve in the other hand turn it counter clockwise to remove it (see fig. 5). Once the lead sleeve is free of the pencil, remove the spring and secure both in a safe place (see fig. 5A).

At this stage any further handling of the pencil proper will probably cause changes in the setting for the max. lead length per click as the tension has been removed from the tubular wheel that controls the setting. Secure the rest of the pencil in a safe place.

Next, take the lead sleeve and place it large end down on a hard surface like a desk or counter top. Hold it there with one hand and while using the eraser as a handle, insert the clean out rod into the mouth of the lead sleeve with the other hand and push down. You should feel some resistance as the clean out rod encounters the lead jam. Push past this resistance, it shouldn't take much force at all to clear the lead jam. When pulling the clean out rod out of the lead sleeve you should feel the resistance of the rubber lead retainer on the clean out rod suddenly give way. That's fine and should be expected. If you feel no resistance at all while removing the clean out rod then check the debris under the lead sleeve for a small black "top hat" looking device. Without the lead retainer the pencil will not work.

Should you find that the unlikely has happened and the lead retainer has become dislodged, click on this link to find out how to replace it.

Should all go well, and it should, retrieve all the pencil parts and reassemble the pencil simply by reversing the steps for disassembly. Once assembled the pencil should now be in working order. You may have to reset the amount of lead exposed per click as the disassembly and reassembly procedures may have disturbed this setting.

For the 2 older models that I have mentioned in this article the procedure will be very much the same with the following exceptions: There is a tubular wheel that controls the max. length lead sleeve espouser in the end cap of the 2 pencils along with a spring, visible through the opening in the end cap. Use caution when removing the end cap as the spring in the end cap slides inside the spring that is inside the grip. The 2 springs can become entangled, pulling the smaller spring from the end cap. It could therefore get lost causing the lead sleeve espouser function to become non functional. This part of the pencil will not work without the spring; The lead sleeve is not under spring tension as in the newest model and does not have as wide a base. Take extra care when pushing the clean out rod into the mouth of the lead sleeve as the lead sleeve can easily move and the thin wire of the clean out rod easily punctures skin.

For the full line of Ohto Drafting Pencils please visit our friends at JetPens.com.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Does Size Make A Difference?

While browsing through a local Office Depot the other day I happened to see some Faber-Castell PITT Artist Pens. My eye fell upon the words on one of the packages: "Superfine Nib". Well that's all it took (for me to ask my lovely wife if I could spend the $2.00 asking price). Even before I got home I had the pen out of it's blister pack and was trying it out. It looked "Superfine" in the car but once I arrive home I immediately began to compare it to my other technical and non-technical porous point pens. That's when I discovered that "Superfine" wasn't as fine as I'd thought.

I was curious as to the actual line width of the pen so I hauled out all my other technical pens along with a few other porous point pens and started to do write with them all in an effort to determine the actual line width of the Faber Castell PITT. I was able to find out that it laid down a line similar to the Alvin TechLiner #03, The Sakura Pigma Micron #03, and the Pilot DR #03. The problem is the Alvin claims it makes a 0.3mm line, the Sakura claims it makes a 0.35mm line and the Pilot claims no line width at all. So which is it? Or am I splitting hairs? No matter. I drug out my trusty dial calipers and did some measuring.

I measured the diameter of the plastic coated fibrous tip in an effort to see what the relationship between shaft diameter and line width was. My results were surprising to say the least. It seems that in the world of porous point pens size is relative!

I measured 17 different pens and the
results are posted below. The pens tested were the Sakura Pigma Micron (SPM), the Pilot DR Drawing Pen (PDR), the Mitsubishi unipin Fine Line (MUP), the Kuretake Zig Millennium (KZM), the Alvin TechLiner Technical Drawing Pen (ATL), the Faber Castell PITT Artist Pen (FCP), the Saford Sharpie Pen (SSP), the Pilot V Razor (PVR) and the Sanford Liquid Expresso (SLE). Other abbreviations used, Line Width (LW), Tip Diameter (TD), Not Given (NG), Superfine (SF), Fine (F) and Extra Fine, (EF).

SPM #005, LW = 0.20mm, TD = 0.33mm. PDR #005, LW = NG, TD = 0.33mm. MUP #005, LW = NG, TD = 0.43mm. SPM #01, LW = 0.25mm, TD = 0.57mm. PDR #01, LW = NG, TD = 0.48mm. KZM #01, LW = NG, TD = 0.53mm. ATL #01, LW = 0.1mm, TD = 0.53mm. SPM #02, LW = 0.30mm, TD = 0.71mm. PDR #02, LW = NG, TD = 0.61mm. ATL #02, LW = 0.20mm, TD = 0.64mm. SPM #03, LW = 0.35mm, TD = 0.79mm. PDR #03, LW = NG, TD = 0.79mm. ATL #03, LW = 0.30mm, TD = 0.79mm. FCP SF, LW = NG, TD = 0.76mm. SSP F, LW = NG, TD = 0.79mm. PVR EF, LW = NG, TD = 0.76mm. SLE EF, LW = NG, TD = 0.76mm.

It appears that there is not much of a correlation between tip diameter and the size of the line the tip makes except that in general the greater the tip diameter the wider the line. With the notable exceptions of the #03 technical pens and the two Extra Fine non-technical pens none of the groups with the same reported size have the same tip diameter. The unipin, which has the finest line of the #005 pens has the largest diameter tip! In the #01 and #02 pens the Microns seem to have the largest diameter tip but lay down a line at least as equal in width as the others, if not finer.

As for the non-technical pens the Razor and the Expresso seem to make the same width line, while the Sharpie makes a slightly finer line. Yet the Sharpie has the larger diameter tip. There just doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to the size of the tip and the width of the line, at least in general. But tip width is only part of the story. It's the shape of the end of the tip that has a lot to do with the line width.

Two pens the same designated size can be and often are of different tip diameters yet they lay down the same width line, as we've seen. The reason for this is that the nose of the smaller diameter tip is blunter than the larger diameter tip, yet they booth have the same size opening in the plastic sheath that allows them to have the same line width. The advantage one design has over the other is debatable. One could argue that the larger diameter tip affords the tip greater strength yet the shaper nose is more easily crushed while the nose of the smaller diameter tip may be more crush resistant the smaller diameter tip is weaker over all. But in the long run, does it really matter? It might, as seen under the eye loupe some of the tips were considerably shorter than the others. This also has a factor in the over all strength of the tips.

So, does it really matter to you, the end user, if the tip on your porous point pen is larger in diameter than another of the same size? Or shorter? As long as they lay down the same width line then it shouldn't. But without a greater standardization of size designations I am afraid that we will be faced with slight variations in line width among the same size designation of pens for some time to come.

Friday, February 6, 2009

How To Refill A Pilot Takoizu Green Petit1 Fountain Pen With Pelikan 4001 Brillant Black Ink From An Old Bottle

(This is a lighthearted look at something every Penaholic who has ever owned a cartridge fountain pen has done)

For this project you will need the following: One donated Pilot Takoizu Green Petit1 mini fountain pen (Ah, where would we be without the kindness of others?); An old bottle of Pelikan Brilliant Black ink; An eye dropper; A pair of long noise tweezers; A sink (free of cats who drink from the sink) with running water; One facial tissue; One paper towel.

The procedure: Open the pen by unscrewing the back of the pen and removing the ink cartridge. If it's not empty then move to the sink and empty the ink out of the tube using gravity and water pressure. Turn the cartridge so that the mouth is facing down and allow the swirling water in the bottom of the sink to pull the ink from the cartridge. See the pretty green water? Squeeze the cartridge to siphon up more water. Turn the cartridge up and allow the water stream to force out more ink. Keep at it until all the ink is gone. Bye bye green ink! Once the cartridge is free of the green ink use the tweezers to remove the little green disk of plastic from the cartridge. Now you can shake any excess water from the tube and set it a side.

Next clean out all the green ink from the nib and the feed tube by running water through it and blowing the water and ink out the nib end. Your lungs supply the air, your lips go on the back of the feed tube and you blow. Repeat the process until all that comes out is clear water, or you pass out. Then blow out the water. You can also shake the nib and feed tube to help rid it of water. But no matter how hard you blow or shake, there will still be water in the feed tube. Dry the exterior of both the nib and feed tube as well as the now empty cartridge. Use the paper towel.

Dry the interior of the cartridge by rolling up one corner of the paper towel to form a long skinny spike. Stuff the spike into the cartridge. See how the paper towel absorbs the water? Remove the spike. Roll a second spike from a different corner of the paper towel. Dry the space between the outside of the feed tube and the inside of the connector. Use the spike. See how the paper towel absorbs the water? Once the nib and feed tube and the cartridge are dry it's time to refill the cartridge with fresh ink from the old bottle of Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Black ink.

To refill the refill open the ink bottle and using the eye dropper siphon up some ink from the ink bottle. Very carefully poke the end of the eye dropper into the mouth of the cartridge. Don't poke it in too far! You need an air space so the air can escape the cartridge as the ink goes in. If you fail to do this you'll end up with ink spurting from the end of the cartridge! What a mess that would be! Don't fill the cartridge beyond the point where the cartridge widens out! If you do you'll be sorry! The wide part of the cartridge is the part that fits onto the feed tube. If you get any ink in the mouth of the cartridge remove it with a paper towel spike.

Now you are ready to attach the newly filled, with fresh ink from an old bottle of ink, cartridge to the feed tube. Hold the feed tube so that the nib is up, towards the ceiling. Take the refilled refill cartridge, holding it vertically, so the ink doesn't spill and make a mess, and shove it, gently, up the connector until it completely covers the feed tube. Now, holding the partially assembled pen over the sink, gently squeeze the ink cartridge to force the ink into the pen. Let gravity assist you by turning the nib down toward the sink. Once you see ink start to flow into the nib proper, stop squeezing! Now you'll notice that only bubbles of ink remain in the cartridge. It needs to filed again. Remove the ink cartridge and set the nib aside for the moment. Taking the eye dropper, siphon up more ink and holding the cartridge over the sink, use the eye dropper to force out any air pockets before refilling the cartridge for a second time. Once refilled replace it back onto the feed tube. There may be some watery ink between the cartridge and inner wall of the connector. If there is, yep, use the spike. If there are no more unused spikes on your paper towel, then get another one. Once the cartridge is seated and the pen dried, replace the tail piece and post the cap. You are now ready to write.

To get the ink flowing through the nib I like to draw circles, or rather one long continuous spiral, until the ink is flowing properly. You may choose the design that you like best. At first the ink will be watery, maybe even black/green. Keep moving the nib until you see solid black. When you do you can do some writing or drawing or cap the pen and move onto something else with the knowledge that you have accomplished, with minimal mess, a feat dear to every Penaholic's heart! You can now use the tissue to wipe the tears of joy from your face!

Many thanks to Nosferatuia for her generosity in giving me the Petit1 (Please visit her blog, Abysmal Musings), and to JetPens.com for the use of the photo.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Super Glue Solution

My most recent purchase from JetPens included 4 Pilot DR Drawing Pens. These are "felt tip" technical pens. Actually the tip is a fibrous material (felt was used in the past and is still used in some pens, hence the name "felt tip") encased in a plastic sheath. The "felt" gives the tip it's porosity while the plastic gives it strength and stability. The result is a relatively strong, porous tip that is very free flowing and which can be made very fine. These pens are made with a 5mm long shaft, similar to the lead sleeve on a drafting pencil, which supports the tip and allows the pen to ride up against the edge of drafting tools such as triangles. But while the main purpose of these fine pens is mechanical drawing they are quite often used as writing pens for the same reasons that they are used for drafting. I like them not only for their excellent drawing qualities but also because the tips, when compared to other pens such as rollerballs, are not as strong thus I am forced to use a lighter hand when writing.

The 4 pens that I purchased were the 4 finest tips available, the #005 (0.20mm), #01 (0.25mm), #02 (0.30mm) and #03 (0.35mm). Any larger and I can use gel pens or rollerballs. Of the 4 I like the #005 the best as it is the finest. However when the DR's arrived and I began to use them I noticed two things about the #005 pen. It wrote a bit wider than it should and it made a scratchy crackling sound when used. Both of these are signs of a tip with a cracked or split plastic sheath. This spells death to a "felt tip" pen. When notified JetPens was kind enough to ship me another one, free of charge without requiring the return of the defective pen. So now I had a good set of pens and one defective one. What to do with the defective one? Well most people would just toss it, but not a true penaholic! I didn't toss it, so what does that tell you about me?

Ever thinking I quickly came up with the idea of using super glue to fix the defective tip. This is not as crazy an idea as it may sound. Because of the way super glues work and harden they are best applied in a very thin coat, unlike other types of glues. The idea was to over apply the super glue then remove most of it allowing the tiny bit remaining to seal the crack in the plastic sheath. Because super glue hardens almost instantly when exposed to water it is ideal for this kind of repair. It was the technique that was to be the key to the solution.

Besides the super glue I needed some tools: a strong light source, a toothpick as an applicator and a 10 power eye loupe that attaches to the temple of my glasses so that my hands were free. Fortunately for me I have all those things. The procedure was as follows: I used the eye loupe to magnify the pen tip and the light from a small lamp to illuminate the tip. Using just a tiny drop of super glue on the end of a toothpick I applied it to the entire circumference of the tip in the general location of where the metal shaft intersects the tip and along the sides of the tip itself but not on the very end of the tip (see illustration). Waiting only a second or two I quickly removed the super glue with a tissue and then waited another second or two before I began to rub the sides of the tip against a sheet of paper in order to remove any excess super glue that might prevent the tip from writing at an angle.

Well my first attempt at the fix was only partially successful in that the line width seemed to have improved a bit. But the crackling was still there. That's when I noticed that the super glue was thicker than normal. The tube of super glue was too old and had partially set. Using a new tube of super glue I repeated the process. The glue flowed much better this time. And this time I had complete success! Not only was the line width as thin as it should be but the crackling was gone! I had saved a $2.50 pen with less than $0.02 worth of materials! Now that would bring a smile to any penaholics face.

Many thanks to JetPens for the replacement pen and for the use of the photo.