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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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.


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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, 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.