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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.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I own the 2mm version of the pen both in black and silver. What you say about dirt on the black one is sad but true.

But I found the perfect cleaning process:
use an ultra sonic cleaner. All that gunk will just come off cleanly.

You can get the consumer type (think reading glasses) for around 20 EUR on ebay.