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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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. 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.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Pentel Sharp Kerry and the Mad Mathematician

Miss Tussy Pink
Click to enlarge...  On second thought, don't...
Miss Tussy!  Well I haven't seen you in some time!  You sure are looking good, Tussy!, Eh, but where are my manners?  Ladies and gentlemen, Miss Tussy Pink!
"Oh, Geezer!  You sharp tongued fox you!  I've missed you!"
Well, Tussy, I've missed you, and Tommy and Zedragon the Zefoid? 
How are they, by the way? 
"Oh, they are doing just fine, Geezer.  Tommy and I are officially engaged!"
Well this is wonderful news!  When's the wedding?
"Oh, we've not set a date just yet."
Well, will I be invited to the wedding?
"Of course, Geezer!  I couldn't get married if you aren't there!  I want you to give me away!"
Tussy!  I'm honored!  I'd be happy to give you away!
"Thank you, Geezer!  You know how much you mean to me!"
No problem, Tussy.  By the way, to what do I owe the honor of this visit?  Oh!  I see!  You have the Mad Mathematician's gift to me, the Pentel Sharp Kerry!  I guess this means that you want me to give my review of the pencil?
"Geezer, you are so astute."
Tussy, you flatter me.

Miss Tussy Pink and my
Pentel Sharp Kerry
Click to enlarge

"By the way, Geezer, who's this Mad Mathematician you refer to?"
Oh, that would be Tim McLarnan.
He's some crazy pencil-loving math professor form Indiana who read most of my blog in one sitting!  He e-mailed me one day asking if I'd do a review of the Pentel Sharp Kerry.  When I informed him that I didn't own one he was gracious enough to send me one of his!  Nice guy, huh?
"He sounds like a very nice man indeed, Geezer!  I'll bet he and I could crunch some numbers together!"
TUSSY!  This is a G-rated blog,
remember?  Besides, didn't you just tell me that you and Tommy Turquoise just got engaged? 

"I'm so sorry, Geezer!  I don't know what came over me!...  I... I feel a little woozy!" 
Are you alright, Tussy?
"Yes, yes!...  Perhaps I'll go and lie down in my room."
Well, alright, Tussy.  I'll check in on you later.
"Thank you, Geezer, but there's really no need.  Tommy will be by shortly."
Alright, Tussy.  Take care.
"Thank you, Geezer.  I surely will.  Bye, for now."
Goodbye, Tussy.
Boy, she can be a handful sometime!  But at least she did bring me the Pentel Sharp Kerry that MathProfMan sent me, (don't ask).  So, I guess it's about time that I did my review...
It's rare that I get a request to review a certain item but when I do it is always to do a review of an item the requester already has!  Such is the case with the Pentel Sharp Kerry.  I get an e-mail form this guy who has a couple of requests concerning the stats that I provide.  Then he proceeds to school me in a grammar lesson!  And yes, I did need it!  By the professional tone of his e-mail I figured him for at the least an English teacher.  Nope.  He's a Math Professor from Indiana.  He must be a speed reader because at the very beginning of his e-mail he confesses to reading most of my entire blog in one night!  Wow!  Now that's a compliment!
He had several requests the most significant being that he wanted me to do a review of the Pentel Sharp Kerry.  As I told Tussy I told him that I didn't have one so he graciously decided to send me one of his!  But not just any Sharp Kerry, but one that has historical significance.  According to Tim, "...I read somewhere that they’re called Sharp Kerry because (a) “sharp” just means mechanical pencil in Japanese, and (b) the black ones were the original design, and they reminded the designer of the black Kerry cattle he had seen in Ireland.  So I’m sending you the most historically significant kind".  Cool!  So for all you Pentel Sharp Kerry fans, especially the Mad Mathematician, her is my review of the Pentel Sharp Kerry, finally.
I am a fan of the slender drafting pencils in 0.3 mm and 0.4 mm.  They are a bit scratchy when used, but that's the price one pays for super fine lines.  So normally I shy away from the "mechanical" pencil with few exceptions, the Mitsubishi/Uni Kuru Toga line of autorotation mechanical pencils being the most outstanding.  So under normal circumstances I would never would have considered  a Pentel Sharp Kerry as one that I would enjoy using.  That was a mistake.
Pentel Sharp Kerry
Click to enlarge

The Pentel Sharp Kerry is a very unique pencil with unique features.  At first one might easily mistake the Sharp Kerry for an elegant fountain pen or other fine pen because of it's design.  It is one of only 2 pencils, that I am aware of (which doesn't say much), that has to be "posted" in order to work properly!  That is the cap is removed from the pencil and posted on the back in order for the pencil's ratchet mechanism to function properly and for the pencil to be balanced and fit comfortably in the hand.
The pencil has 2 push buttons.  An inner and an outie, eh, outer.  The inner push button connects directly to the lead reservoir/clutch system.  When the pencil is not posted you can push the button to advance lead but it's sort of clumsy due to the pencils short length.  When posted, as intended by the designers, the outer, self contained, push button activates the inner push button.  This is quite the innovation, considering.  But apparently either not a very popular one, like the Shaker, or Pentel holds the patented on this and almost all variations.  Either way the Pentel Kerry stands out as a misunderstood and under appreciated mechanical pencil.  For the design lends itself to one very unique characteristic.  It can easily help prevent ovaling. 
Ovaling is where the lead from any pencil (except the Kuru Toga) goes from making a sharp, rounded mark to a wide oval one.  This is due to how we, as humans, write (chimps may write differently, but I don't know any chips so I can't ask).  We hold out writing instruments at an angle to the paper as opposed to perpendicular.  We don't normally twist the pencil in our hand, as some in the drafting/architectural  field are taught, but rather grasp it firmly in hand in a static position and grind away until our writing is illegible due to the fact that we write very small and our pencil now writes very big! 
By turning the pencil a quarter turn every few line of text we can keep the lead from a mechanical pencil from ovaling-out.  But turning a normal mechanical/drafting pencil a quarter turn means that at least one in 4 turns the pocket clip is in an awkward, even painful position pressed up against the web of the hand.  But what I have discovered with the Sharp Kerry is that in order to turn it one quarter turn is to turn the pencil down into my fist and turn the cap in either direction (hopefully the same direction every time) before returning it to a writing position.  With use this can become almost automatic.
I'll bet you didn't know that, MathProfMan!
Well, I've managed to fill up more space than my usual post and given you all very little useful information.  So with out further ado...  The Stats!
The Pentel Sharp Kerry is 123 mm long, closed, 131 mm long posted.  The diameter at the center is 11 mm tapering to 9.5 mm at the end of the grip.  The grip is 24 mm long and the tip, including lead sleeve, is 19 mm long.  The main body of the pencil is 104.5 mm long.  The diameter of the cap is 11.5 mm at the widest tapering to 7mm at the push button and is 64 mm long.  The pencil weighs 21.6 grams and the balance point, posted, is 63.5 mm from the pencil tip, making the balance of the pencil a scooch.bottom heavy, but hey, can you feel a scooch?
I was quite pleasantly surprised at the Sharp Kerry.  It is well balanced, making it easy to maneuver, the plastic grip, which is unadorned, is a good grip surface and the width of the 0.5 mm led make the pencil very smooth writer.  It's a little on the short side for my personal tastes but that doesn't seem to be a problem, the length of the pencil, bot my personal taste.  The pencil nestles in my hand well and is a genuine pleasure to write with.  Because the lead sleeve is only 2 mm long it would be hard pressed to use as a drafting pencil, but well suited for freehand drawing.
The pencil is not at all unattractive, except maybe the inner push button.  The indented rings make the inner push button look odd, but they serve a very good purpose.  They are needed as grips in order to get the push button off in order to fill the lead reservoir with lead.  Under the outer push button is the obligatory eraser, no clean out rod though (so what else is new?).  The glass black finish of the
Pentel Sharp Kerry Disassembled
Click to enlarge
plastic parts contrast well with the bright chrome of the metal parts for a very pleasing appearance.  The only slight mar to this is the satin finish on the tip of the pencil,  Why did they not just keep the look going with a bright finish on the tip is a question to ask Pentel (if you could actually contact someone who knew).  To me it would have made for a nice looking pencil...  Yes, Tussy, it would
have been prettier.
The Sharp Kerry is unusual in another way.  It easily, with minimal effort, breaks down into 9 separate components.  From left to right, back row, of the pic above they are the: tip with 4 mm lead sleeve; grip; connector; upper body; cap with attached pocket clip; eraser, which resides under the outer cap in the cap; outer push button cap; inner push button cap; and in the front row the all metal lead reservoir and ratcheting clutch system.  The Sharp Kerry follows the Sharp Series (P203 - P209) in that the reservoir and clutch are one unit with a captive spring.  An over sized hex just above the clutch aligns and keeps the clutch system spinning so that the tip can be screwed onto the clutch thus holding the system together..  However there is no interchangeability of this unit between the 2 pencils.
Unlike a lot of mechanical pencils of it's price range, and some above it, the reservoir and mechanism are made entirely (as far as I could see) of metal.  The lead reservoir is a bright chrome and substantial enough to withstand the rigors of years and years of lead advancement.  It's also big enough to hold a dozen leads.  However don't put any more than 1/2 a dozen leads in the pencil, this pencil, or any other mechanical pencil.  The reason being that to many leads can prevent one from aligning with the mouth of the feed tube inside the reservoir.  To access the reservoir the pencil must be un-posted.  The rings in the cap allow you to use a fingernail to pull up on it thus removing it.  To access the eraser (Please don't!  Buy a good stick style eraser like the Uni E-Knock, from jetpens.com), the pencil has to be posted so the inner push button can push the outer one up enough to grasp.  The fake here is that since eraser does not fit in the reservoir, the pencil can be turned upside down without lead spilling out!
To advance enough lead to write with, once the clutch has been fed, simply push down on the push button twice.  Now you're ready to write (or draw, or doodle, or whatever you do with a mechanical pencil)....  What I mean by, "once the clutch has been fed...", is once lead has been advanced to the point of exiting the pencil it is pushed back flush with the end of the lead sleeve with the finger tip or table top or the back of your little brother's head.  The clutch has now been fed and the end of the lead rests at the tip of the lead sleeve.  From this position each press of the push button to advance the lead should advance an equal amount,  So now you can tell how many "clicks" it will take to produce enough lead to write with from a cold start.
The Pentel Sharp Kerry comes in only 2 lead sizes, 0,7 mm and 0.5 mm, two of the most popular lead sizes for general use.  I would prefer to have had one in 0.3 mm but they don't make them in 0.3 mm.  In a way that's a good thing.  0.3 mm pencils tend to be scratchy due to the fine lead.  The lead also breaks easily.  But the 0.5 mm and 0.7 mm diameter leads are the most popular sizes for general writing and freehand drawing.  When I wrote with the pencil I found it to be a very smooth and well behaved pencil.  By well behaved I mean I did not have to push or drag it across the paper.  It is so well balanced and light it is a down right pleasure to write with!  If it came in any finer a lead it would not perform quite as well.  The sharp pointed 0.3 mm lead would drag and scratch, unless a soft grade of lead was used.  But anything softer than grade HB (closest to a #2 pencil lead) would smudge easily.
Bottom line?  Well I'll have to eat crow and admit that I really like the Pentel Sharp Kerry in 0.5 mm HB.  It feels good in the hand, it's easy to write with, delivering a smooth performance.  I especially like the way that I can turn it a quarter turn with one hand in order to keep the lead sharp.  It's an elegant looking pencil as well as being a solidly, well built and designed.  Believe it or not, the pencil has been around for 43 years!  Amazing, isn't it?

Well, if you want one of your own you'll have to find your own crazy pencil-loving Math Professor to con one out of, eh, I mean to manipulate into giving you one.... NO!  No!  That's not what I meant at all, eh, gee whiz, I've really gone and put my foot in it now...

Seriously, you can find plenty of Pentel Sharp Kerry's at our friends at jetpens.com in 6 different colors and 2 lead sizes (not all colors available in both lead sizes).

Well, I hope that you, the reader, has enjoyed my "review" of the Mad Mathematician's (now my) Pentel Sharp Kerry.  Please feel free to leave a comment, check a box and/or e-mail me and tell me what you thought of both the pencil and my review.

To the left shows the Sharp Kerry about to be posted and then posted.
This additional information is at the request of one of my readers.  It shows the relationship of the 2 pushbuttons.  As you can see the outer pushbutton is not fully extended until the cap is posted, making firm contact with the inner pushbutton.  I hope that this clarifies the relationship between the 2 pushbuttons.

Thank you for reading my humble blog.