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.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Breast Cancer Awareness Month Giveaway

 October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and since my lovely wife is a survivor of breast cancer I wanted to give away these special uni Signo Pink Ribbon gel pens.  I wanted to do this earlier in the month to help promote Breast Cancer Awareness, but I could not find the pens until now.  So better late than never!
All you have to do to win these pens is to send me an email with Breast Cancer Awarness Month in the subject line and include your name of on-line handle.  Please, one entry per person, please!
The Giveaway will lastuntil midnight the 31st of October.  The winner will be chosen by the Randon Integer Generator. at the end of the blog.
You can also enter my other giveaway, the "October Giveaway".
Enter now before it's too, late!
Thanks to all who entered, but the Giveaway is now CLOSED.

Friday, October 26, 2012

October Giveaway

I know it's late in the month for a giveaway, but better late than never, right?...  Right?...  Brother, tough crowd.  Anyway this month up for grabs is a Mitsubishi uni a-gel HD 0.5mm mechanical pencil.  Get this, not only does it have a squishy gel grip that some people love, it's a shaker!  That's right, blog fans!  Just shake it to extend the lead!  Or just used the push button!  Either way, lead gets extended!  But there's more!  To prevent lead from being extended accidentally while the pencil is getting jostled, (jostled, does anyone use words like jostled anymore?) around it has a catch.  Literally, there's a catch!  By pressing the push button all the way down until an audible "click" is heard the mechanism is rendered inoperable!  This helps prevent the user from getting stuck with a length of graphite!  It also helps prevent lead loss by preventing lead from being accidentally extended then broken.

Anyway, it's a nice looking pencil with a blur gel grip, chrome tip and collar between body and grip, chrome & plastic pocket clip, blue transparent collar around the push button, chrome push button and argent (graphite gray) body with silver lettering!  It's new, never used and it's up for grabs!

All you have to do to have a chance of winning this squishy grip pencil is send me an email, theoldgeezer@live.com. telling me why you like squishy grip pencils!  Because I can't stand them and can not fathom why anybody would!  So enlighten me, please!  Oh, in the subject line of the email put October Giveaway.  That way I'll spot it and keep it!  Please only one entry per person per email addy!  That's all there is to it!  Entries will be accepted until midnight on Oct. 31.  After midnight I'll use the Random Integer Generator at the bottom of the page to select a winner.  Entries will be assigned a number from 1 to whatever in order in which they are received.

So, thanks for reading my humble blog.

Oops!  Is my face red!  I forgot to publish the Giveaway soon enough!  So I'm extending the deadline until Monday, November 5th at midnight!   Sorry, blog fans!  Even the Old Geezer makes a mistake every now and then...  Don't you say a word, Tommy Turquoise!

Pleas, no more entries as the giveaway is now closed.  Thank you for reading my blog.

The Old Geezer

Friday, October 19, 2012

uni Kuru Toga Family of Mechanical Pencils

Some years ago Mitsubishi came out with a unique pencil under the uni (uni-ball) label.  They called it the Kuru Toga, meaning auto rotation pencil.  The idea was a simple one, rotate the lead in the pencil rather than having the user rotate the pencil in order to keep the end of the lead, where it contacts the paper, from ovaling, or flattening, out.  When the lead ovals out the line it produces is wider than the actual diameter of the lead itself.  The lead also ends up with a sharp angular point that causes the lead to dig into the paper, when the pencil id rotated, and breaks the lead.  This is especially true with small diameter leads like 0.5 mm and 0.3 mm.  Draftsmen once were taught to rotate the pencil in their hand as they drew a line to give the lead a conical point and avoid lead breakage.  However with so many of us using drafting pencils and mechanical pencils designed like drafting pencils to write with the draftsman's technique does not work.  But the ratcheting mechanism of the Kuru Toga does.

Basically the mechanism works much like the mechanism that operates a  "click" style pen.  Teeth in a clutch, under spring tension, hold the tip in place until pressure is put on the tip, such as what happens when one puts pencil to paper.  The clutch releases, rotates the lead a small degree the reengages, much like when one presses the push button on a "click" style pen.  As one writes the constant pressing and releasing of the lead to the paper causes a continual flow of energy to the Kuru Toga engine, rotating the lead continually, giving it and keep a conical point.  The result is less lead breakage and a written line with a diameter less than the actual diameter of the lead.  Thus a 0.5 mm pencil delivers close to a 0.3 mm line and a 0.3 mm pencil close to a 0.2 mm line.  Brilliant!

0.5 mm version

The original Kuru Toga was an almost entirely plastic pencil with a metal tip cover and a clear grip.  The grip was clear so the user could see the auto rotating mechanism in action and be amazed at the brilliance of Japanese engineering!  Or something like that.  The tip cover has a rubber ring around it to enhance the grip of the pencil.  This pencil was first offered in 0.5 mm only, then later in 0.5 mm and 0.3 mm.
0.3 mm version

But the pencil, as awesome as the design was, is as inelegant as it is functional.  Enter the High Grade.  This was the next phase in the Kuru Toga line.  It featured a more elegant looking and smaller diameter upper body as well as a metal pocket clip and more traditional mushroom style push button.  A metal conical ring separates the upper body from the lower, which retains much the same shape as the original Kuru Toga.  Only the clear grip is now opaque, being a sliver/white silken plastic with a small "port hole" window with which to view the rotation Kuru Toga Symbol.  The tip cap was also redesigned, being slightly longer with a tighter fitting rubber grip ring.

High Grade version

This was a major improvement over the original Kuru Toga as far as athletics goes. The auto rotation engine was unchanged in the High Grade.  There was no real reason to change it.  It works so why mess with it in order to make it slightly slimmer?  Or perhaps the design had reached it'd limits miniaturization wise while being made from plastic and using other materials may have not been cost effective!  Who knows?  This design may have been the final version had it not been for, in my opinion, the grip!

The grip retained the original shape and size as the original Kuru Toga, which in itself is not a bad thing.  The bad thing is the material it is made of and it's lack of any knurled surfaces makes the High Grades grip less effective than the original!  I personally find the grip hard to hold.  The pencil has a tendency to ride up in my hand making it hard to write with.  I have little idea as to why they chose the material they did to make the grip from.  It almost feels like a hard silicon grip!  Had they made the grip from a less slick material or had they put some type of knurling on the grip then the design may have reached it's peak.

Enter the Roulette.  This is what the High Grade should have been.  The upper body of the Roulette is the same as the High Grade, but in silver, and so is the tip cover.  The big difference between the two pencils is the grip.  Here they finally got it right.  The grip of the Roulette is made from aluminum and is a straight barrel with 3 wide knurled rings at the bottom of the grip where it meets the tip cover.

Roulette version

The knurled rings add a considerable amount of gripping surface to the pencil.  I find the Roulette by far the easiest Kuru Toga to grip and write with.  I really like mine and I use it all he time.  Up until the Roulette my "go to" pencil had been a Pentel P203 0.3 mm pencil.  But like all 0.3 mm pencils, the lead still breaks too often.  I really can not recall the 0.5 mm lead breaking on me while using the Roulette with the proper amount of lead extended.  So the Kuru Toga Roulette has now become my "go to" pencil.

Other than athletics the Kuru Toga family of mechanical pencils all share the same auto rotation engine.  The also share the same low capacity, hard to feed lead into lead reservoir!  Lead has to be fed into the reservoir one-piece-at-a-time and the reservoir fills up fast (well as fast as it can being fed one lead at time).  They also share the same basic take down.

The push button comes off, the eraser pulls out, the tip cover unscrews and the lead sleeve/tip pops off.  The lead sleeve/tips and tip covers are different between the two basic pencil designs and so is the end of the pencils where the tips/lead sleeves and tip covers fit.  The erasers and push button/eraser covers also are completely different.  So of the 4 removable parts none are interchangeable between the 2 designs.

Bottom line is that while all the Kuru Togas have their fine points, my favorite by far is the Roulette, for reasons already stated.  However the roulette may not be, and I'm sure that it isn't, every ones favorite Kuru Toga.  The best way to find out which one is best suited to you, the reader, try each one out and see which one fits you best.

The Old Geezer

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Retro 1951 Hex-O-Matic In White

Every now and then I come across a pencil that I'd never seen or heard of before.  That shouldn't surprise me as I am not arrogant enough to believe that "I've seen them all".  But when I do come across something strange or unusual it's generally something old or out of manufacturer or from a company that I've never heard of or has long gone out of business or has had a name change, etc.  It's rare that I come across a new, modern pencil that's still being made in one form or another that I've never heard a bout or seen.  But that's just the case with the Retro 1951 Hex-O-Matic drafting pencil.  Until I was gifted the pencil I didn't know they existed!  But then again, I've been away from blogging for a while, so anything could have slipped by me!

Apparently the company has been around since 1990!  But the reason they have slipped under my radar is because the manufacturer ball point pens!  They have a line called the Tornado, which seems to be their best seller, which also includes a few mechanical pencils.  The pens/ mechanical pencils all share the same basic shape!  They all look like a round metal spike!  The design of each is unique but the shape is always the same!  While not unattractive pens/pencils, they just aren't for me.  The Hex-O-Matic is more in line with what I look for in a drafting pencil.

The overall look is indeed retro.  As one can see the overall design on the outside looks a lot like the rotring 600 and family as well as the Koh-I-Noor Rapiodomatic series.  It has a hexagonal barrel forming the main part of the body, and a round knurled grip which is slightly smaller than the barrel itself.  Integral with and above the body is a pocket clip, which rests in a recess in the body.  Then there is the area above the pocket clip which on similar designs houses the lead grade indicator but on the Hex-O-Matic is just knurled bright metal with a satin bright metal push button with the numerals "51" painted on the end.  The pocket clip is also satin bright metal as is the tip with the lead sleeve being bright stainless steel.  There is a black band between the body and the knurled top ring where the two join.

The only wording on the pencil aside from the "51" on the push button is on the pocket clip, which has stamped into the ring, "RETRO 1951 HEX-O-MATIC".

The body is made from aluminium which on most pencils is clear anodized giving the pencil that raw metal look.  Or it is anodized black.  If the surface of the pencil is rough when anodized it has a flat, rough texture!  If smooth, then it will have a smooth texture.  But this version of the Hex-O-matic is not finished in the traditional way.  It's been painted white!  I have never seen a white drafting pencil before.  Now let's not confuse the color white with the term "white metal" or "In the white", which means in both cases, the raw color of the base metal.  This is usually a silver tone of some sort.  But this pencil has actually been painted white (backed on enamel, I hope).  While not an unpleasing color, it is unusual.  However it is not offered in white on the Retro 1951 website!

The only 2 finishes currently offered on the Hex-O-Matic pencils and companion pen, is black (anodized, I assume) and silver (clear anodized).  It appears that the white painted finish is no longer sold.  Probably because of paints lack of durability, especially on such an item as a pencil which is going to get banged a round a bit!  It's also a much heavier finish than anodize.  This means when it chips, there is a hole where the paint used to be.  Just like a chip out of a car body!  So I'm not surprised that the company dropped the painted white pencil from the lineup.

The Hex-O-Matic has one very nice feature, a sliding sleeve!  Most pencils will have a fixed lead sleeve about 4 mm long.  This can be a hazard when the pencil if placed into a shirt pocket!  Ouch!  So some pencil makers have come up with various ways of hiding the lead sleeve to protect it and the user!  One way is the hide-away or projecting sleeve.  Another is the sliding sleeve.  The difference between the two is that the former will lock in the extended position while the latter  is free floating and as the lead wears down the sleeve moves with it, protecting the lead.  The Hex-O-Matic is a true sliding sleeve pencil.

Some other features of the pencil are a smooth, but noisy, ratcheting action, smooth transition from hidden to extended lead sleeve and a hidden clean out rod under the eraser.  That's becoming a rarer and rarer find in drafting pencils now a days.  The grip is nicely knurled however I think that the fact that it's painted detracts from the bite it could have if it were anodized.  As is the grip is adequate.  The overall fit and finish is very good.  The paint job is even with no drip marks or runs.  All the joints are tight with no gaps.  Over all the appearance is very pleasing, it's a very attractive pencil, even in white.

Hum... I suppose that you, the reader,  would like some stats, huh?  Well, OK, here goes...  The pencil,with tip hidden is 134 mm long, 137 with it extended.  Across the flats the body measures 8.4 mm while the diameter of the grip is 8.2 mm.  The pencil weighs 21.8 grams and the balance point is64 mm from the tip and 72 mm from the bush button.  Technically this means the pencil is top heavy, but in reality when held in the writing position the pencil feels quite well balanced. From a "cold start" (lead sleeve hidden) one push of the lead advancement button (push button) extends the lead sleeve. a second push extends a minimal amount of lead while a third extends enough to write with. The lead reservoir is of average capacity and can hold 6 leads easily. All things considered the Hex-O-Matic delivers a pleasant writing experience.

The only time you may need to break down the Hex-O-Matic is to clear a lead jam.  but in order to do so you practically have to break it down completely!  First, hold the grip and body in opposite hands and unscrew the two apart.  Next, separate the tip from the grip in the same fashion.  Now do the same to separate the tip from the clutch assembly (hint: they separate at the point the metals change colors).  Now hold the tube so that the clutch is pointed down and remove the push button to reveal the eraser.  Remove the eraser and replace the push button to avoid spilling all the lead from the reservoir.  See All Jammed Up for further instructions.  To put the pencil back together simply reverse the breakdown procedure.

My over all impression of the Hex-O-Matic is a very good one.  I like the way it feels and writes as well as how it works internally.  The white paint issue aside there is just one thing I dislike about the Hex-O-Matic.  And that's the fact that it comes in one lead size only!  That one size is 0.7 mm!  The only thing, for me, that could make the pencil less appealing is if it came in 0.9 mm only!  Having said that, well, regular readers of my humble blog know my prejudice against any lead size above 0.4 mm!  So with that in mind I'd say Retro 1951 has a winner in the over all design and construction of the Hex-O-Matic!  Thy would reach a broader customer base, however, if they would produce the pencil in the full range of available lead sizes.  But, if you are in the market for a 0.7 mm drafting style pencil, then by no means overlook the Retro 1951 Hex-O-Matic.

For Hans and Penelope.  Thanks for reading my blog.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Lexmark 100 XL Ink

When my old printer/copier/scanner became to expensive to buy ink cartridges for I went shopping on-line for a new one.  This time I wanted one that was also a fax.  I was also looking at one that had individual ink cartridges for the colors!  I hated running out of one color in a cartridge while there was still ink of the other 2 colors in the cartridge and having to go out and buy a new cartridge!  What I found was a Lexmark Pro 200 series that fit the bill and didn't break the bank!  It has been a great machine but now it's time to think about finding some replacement cartridges!  In comes Viking Direct. 
They seem to carry ink and toner cartridges of all kinds!  And sure enough they sell just what I'm looking for!  Lexmark 100 XL ink cartridges!  The XL cartridge differs from the standard 100 series cartridge in that it's high capacity.  The black XL is a double capacity cartridge, which makes sense because it's the highest usage color.  Viking has them in stock and ready to ship so when the time comes for a replacement cartridge or 2, I know where I can find just what I need.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Compact Digital Camera

My lovely wife wants a digital camera, one, unlike mine with all sorts of features and SLR style and large size, is a compact.  Well I myself didn't have much use for a compact because of the macro feature I need in a digital camera!  But then I got to looking around and found Jessops.  There I found a host of compact digital cameras at varying prices!  Well, I've been rather happy with my Fujifilm FinePix SLR style camera so I looked at a Fujifilm at Jessops.  There, at a price closer to what I'm willing to pay for a compact camera, I found a Fujifilm FinePix JX510!

This little camera is a 14 mega pixel camera!  That's as much as mine!  And it can get as close as 4".  That's pretty darn close!  It has a host of other features that impressed me as well.  Jessops offers this little gem all by itself as well as a host of bundles not offered in stores!  And the bundle prices are attractive!  So it looks like there may be another camera in the Mrs. Old geezers future!  So if you want a new camera then by all means check out Jessops.

Picture used without permission.