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.



NOW THE BLOGGING BEGINS...

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, March 20, 2015

The rOtring 500 0.3 mm in Black


The rOting 500 is the middle pencil between the 300 and the 600.  While all 3 pencils share a similar appearance the 500 looks more like the 600 than the 300.  In fact side by side there is only the designation on the side of the pencils and the shininess of the 500's plastic barrel that gives it away.  That and the fact that the lettering on the LGI in the top end of the pencil is silver, on the 600 it's white and the rings between the red one are silver, not black.  But at a glance or to the uninitiated it looks like a 600.

But when you take a look at the insides of each pencil they appear nothing alike.  The 500 breaks down into 5 major components.  The metal end cap/grip/lead sleeve.  The body, which contains the 3 jawed clutch and ratcheting mechanism as well as the lead reservoir .  And finally the eraser and the push button.  The 600 breaks down into 5 major components as well, but very differently. The breaks down into the end cap/grip/lead sleeve.  When you unscrew the end cap the 3-jawed clutch, ratcheting mechanism, lead reservoir, eraser and push button all follow.  The interior must be unscrewed from the end cap/grip/lead sleeve next.  The eraser and push button are the only remaining parts to  remove.

The interior of the 500 is an integral part of the body.  This is a simple design as the body is modeled to accept the mechanism.  The down side to this type of design is that repairers can not be made to the interior of the mechanism.  This is construction that I would have expected of the 300 as it is such a basic, inexpensive way to make a mechanical pencil.  The 300 has a removable tip as the grip is made into the body.  But it has a mechanism and lead reservoir that are piratically removable.  Only the larger diameter metal tube on the end of the clear plastic reservoir prevents it from being fully removed.  But I am sure that this can be overcome if repairs were needed.

The 600 is made entirely different than either the 300 or 500.   It has both a metal body and metal tip/grip/lead sleeve.  The 3-jawed clutch and the rest of the mechanism is metal surrounded by a white plastic fixture..  Even the lead reservoir is metal.  But the 600 is a top of the line pencil and high quality construction should be expected.  So since the 500 is a more expensive pencil than the 300 I would expect a better construction method.   Even if it is less expensive than the 600 I still ecpected something closer to the 600's construction.

I will say this for the 500's construction. The design does give the pencil strength. Often the weak point of a plastic barreled drafting pencil is where the grip meets the body. Too much pressure during usage can over time stress this area to the point where it cracks and often breaks off completely. Most often than not this can not be repaired satisfactorily. The 500's design helps prevent this by being stronger at the joint because of the fact the mechanism is housed there.


Top to Bottom:  The 600, the 300 and the 500

All that aside the rOting 500 is still a good pencil and a good choice for someone who wants a an intermediate level pencil.  So on that note I offer you the stats.  The over all length is 141 mm.  The body diameter is 7.5 mm across the flats and 8 mm across the points.  The grip is 7.5 mm in diameter and does not taper.  The grip length is 30 mm and the tip length is 12 mm.  The balance point is 68 mm from the tip making the 500 a tiny bit top heavy.  The total weight is 13.4 grams.  Aside from the lead sleeve and the 2 silver rings above and below the red ring at the LGI the pencil is entirely black with red lettering.  The LGI is silver letters on a black background.  The removable pocket clip has the rOting logo stamped into the upper portion.  the closed push button has the lead size stamped on it's top.  All in all a good looking light weight 0.3 mm drafting/writing pencil.

Some people prefer a pencil of a specific weight and balance point.  But I seem to like a variety of weights and balance points.  So I get along with a lot of different pencils.  But the 500 is an almost happy median.   It's not to skinny nor too fat.  It's light weight which makes it easy to use all day.  It doesn't try and go it's own way as some pencils do.  The top heaviness of the 500 is not felt due, I think, to it's light weight.  The pencil is not delicate either.  0.3 mm pencils have a tendency to break lead.   This is caused by the lead not fitting the lead sleeve tight enough.  The lead tends to wobble inside the lead sleeve so when in turning the pencil as you write the point of the lead catches the paper and digs in.  The lead has too much room to move around so it flexes.  When it flexes, it breaks.  With the lead is held tight in the lead sleeve (and not over extended) it has not room to flex and so it tends not to break.  This is a quality of every rOtring that I have as well as another high quality pencil, the German and Japanese versions of the Koh-I-Noor Rapidomatic.  This comes as no surprise as rOtring once owned Koh-I-Noor.

Last words:  The rOtring 500 is a well made, decent drafting pencil.  It is a medium weight class drafting pencil.  It has good balance and does not fight me when I write with it.  It's diameter is, for me, just at the low end of what fits well in my hand.  Both the plastic barrel and nicely knurled grip are good gripping surfaces.  The pencil rests well in my fat little hands* and I can easily turn it as I write.  The pocket clip is removable, so people who like to remove them from their pencils so the end of the clip doesn't dig into the web of their hand when the pencil is turned can do so.  I collect the pencils I blog about so don't remove mine.

The 500 only comes in black.  Maybe one day they will make them in silver, but I doubt it.  The 500 is a handsome pencil in black, and black is slimming, but the problem that I have with black pencils is that they show up every piece of bust and lint that falls on them.  Worse, the knurled metal grips catch the loose skin of the fingers, as well as dirt, dust and grime, and quickly begin to look grey.  Using a soft bristled  tooth brush and some soap and water can remove this but repeatedly doing this wears off the finish, points first.  Then it looks even worse.  This is why I like silver pencils or at least silver metal grips on colored plastic bodies.

So if you want a nice drafting pencil for under $20.00 for the 0.3 mm and under $15.00 for the 0.5 mm and 0.7 mm models then the rOtring 500 just may be the pencil that you are looking for.

The rOtring 500 is no longer made in 0.3 mm, just why I'm not sure, but while supplies last you can fined them on-line at jetpens.com.

(* I have slightly fatish hands, but this is not why I asterisked the word hands.  The web of a persons hand can be measured from the crease at the base of the index finger to the base of the thumb.  People like me who have a short web are said to have "small hands" while those whose web is longer are said to have "big hands".  The placement on the thumb on the side of the hand determines the length of the hands web.  My fingers are actually slightly longer than my lovely wife's, but because her thumb is a lot further down the side of her hand, closer to her wist, the web of her hand is longer.  The length of the web of the hand does have an effect on how you hold a pencil and where the pocket clip hits your hand, if at all.  So please bear this is in mind when considering the purchase of any pencil or pen.)

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Pentel Graph 1000 for Pro vs. Pentel Graph 1000 CS in 0.3 mm

                                                                                                                                                                    
Some years back I thought that I saw a pencil that looked just like a black Pentel Graph sell for over $100.00.  It was in fact a Pentel.  But it was so long ago that I can't find the thing on the Net.  I was a bit surprised a short while later when I saw the Pentel Graph 1000 for Pro at jetpens.com . I really liked the look of the pencil so eventually I bought one in 0.3 mm, my favorite lead size.

Apparently the pencil is extremely popular because Pentel began producing Limited Editions of the pencil in colors.  Originally the series was produced in limited lead sizes. Unfortunately I was unable at the time to purchase one.  Later they came out with another Limited Edition series, and again another Limited Edition series.  I don't know the order in which they came, but there seems to have been a series in metallic colors with black accents, a series in pastel colors with chrome accents and a series of primary colors with chrome accents called the X Stein series.  The latest Limited Edition series is the CS or Creator's Style series.  This series comes in 3 colors for the 0.5 mm lead size and 2 colors for the 0.3 mm lead size.

The only difference between any of these pencils is their appearance.  And the fact that not every series was made in all 5 lead sizes.  So why make so may different configurations of the same pencil?  Because we are a consumer world and we buy pretty things, even when we don't need them.  Like me.  I would like to have one 0.3 mm pencil from each series.  I can find some of them on eBay and when funds come available, I shall purchase them (if they are still available) and I shall blog about them.

OK, enough philosophy.  I am getting of my soap box and getting down to what you came here to read.  My review of the Pentel Graph 1000 for Pro and the Pentel Graph 1000 CS, in 0.3 mm.  Both pencils share the same stats, of course.  They are made by the same methods and in the same factory with the same tools.  The only real differences are cosmetic.  So lets talk about the way they look, shall we?

The Pentel Graph 1000 for Pro, in all lead sizes, is all black with 3 exceptions.  The push button end cap is a black cylinder covering colored lead grade indicator which has a narrow ring of color at the base and on the top there is a plug of color with the lead size stamped in white.  The color indicator for the 0.3 mm for the Pro is brown.   The LGI lettering is white against the brown.  The third exception is of course the stainless steel lead sleeve.  The lettering on the pencil is a light gray giving the pencil a ghostly appearance.

The pushbuttons of the Pro and CS


 The bush button of the CS is the same as the cap for the Pro only the secondary color is white for the 0.3 mm  The lettering is black.  The lettering on the body is silver, standing out more than the Pro.
 
Both pencils have black upper bodies, but the CS looks a little shinier.  The Pro has a black grip with 18 black obround rubber inserts.  The CS has a satin chrome grip with the same 18 rubber inserts. The tip of the Pro is black with the lead sleeve of stainless steel.  The tip of the CS is bright chrome with a stainless steel lead sleeve.  The pocket clip of the Pro is black, the pocket clip on the CS is bright chrome.  Both pencils are attractive in there own way.  The Pro looks stealthy while the CS looks like it's going to a party.
 
Now for the stats.  The stats are the same for both pencils.  They are 147 mm long over all.  The balance point is 73 mm from the tip of the pencils making the pencils perfectly balanced.They each weigh 11 grams making them light weights.  The body diameter is 7.5 mm and the grip diameter of each pencil is 8 mm.  The grips measure 37 mm in length and the tip (including the lead sleeve) measures 21 mm.
 
The Graph 1000 is easily broken down.
 
The break down of the pencils is pretty much straight forward.  Unscrew the tip, and slide off the grip, remove the push button and remove the eraser and you're done.  Though I did not remove the erasers fro the pic, there is a clean out rod stuck into the eraser.  For some reason the CS is made of white plastic on the interior while the Pro is made of black.  In order to change the lead grade the push button, which is also the lead grade indicator, the push button has to be removed so you can hold the long chrome neck as you rotate the outer shell of the LGI.  There re detents in the LGI which lock the window in place preventing accidental changing of the LGI.
 
How do they perform?  That's a good question!  Remember this before I answer the question.  The stats are hard facts.  They are objective, I just make the measurements and report the data.  But the rest of the review is subjective.  It is based on my experiences with the pencils and my conclusions  will not be the definitive truth about the pencils.  It will be my opinion of the pencils based on my experiences with them and my past experiences with mechanical pencils in general.  So having once again to step down off my soap box, here are my thoughts about my experiences with the pencils.
 
I like these pencils, though they do have a few short comings.  I like the light weight feel of them because they feel almost weightless.  However their slider diameter make them a little harder to hold than slightly fatter pencils.  Also the silicone inserts are a little slippery feeling.  When I removed the insert from the CS model I had an easier time holding the pencil as the holes made a better gripping surface.  The Pro model was easier to hold than the CS model but I found that with just a little tightening of my grip solved the problem.  I did find the pencils easy to control and write with as they are so well balanced.  0.3 mm pencils can easily break lead but because there seems to be very little if any wobble of the lead in the lead sleeve in both pencils they seemed to feel like writing with a 0.5 mm pencil.  The lead seems to flow across the paper.  Of course I only had a small amount of lead showing.  This helps any pencil when it comes to lead breakage.  Also the lead in the Pro seems softer than the lead in the CS.  It may be grade B.  Grade HB is in the CS.
 
In conclusion, I will say that the Pentel Graph 1000 for Pro and the CS are winners, even if they do a quirk or 2...  or is it me that has the quirks?   Anyway you can find the Pentel Graph 1000 for Pro and the Pentel Graph 1000 CS on-line at jetpens.com.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Uni-Ball Kuru Toga 0.5 mm Starter Set

 
Several years ago the Mitsubishi Pencil Company introduced the first Kuru Toga Mechanical Pencil under the Uni-ball brand name. It was what has come to be known as the Standard Model.  Since the Standard Model was introduced the company has introduced the High Grade and later the Roulette as well as a host of other models and colors in 3 lead sizes.  The pencils revolutionary "Kuru Toga" or Auto Rotation Engine has made the Kuru Toga line of pencils very popular across the world. But up until a couple of years ago this line of pencils was only available in the US from online retailers.
 
I first saw this pencil at my local Wal Mart last year yet the copyright date for the pencil is 2013.  So it's my guess that the pencil has been out since then.  So I'm running par for the course by blogging about a pencil that everyone else has already blogged about.  What can I say?  I'm an old Geezer after all.  And Old Geezers are often slow do to our advanced years.  Anyway as you can see by the pic below that the pencil is offered in America by the Sanford Brands division of Newell Rubbermaid.  Sanford Brands is the soul distributor of Mitsubishi Uni and Uni-Ball products in North America.
 

The pencil in the Starter Set is different than the Standard Model that can be had on-line, though this too can be found on-line.  The pencil itself differs only in it's look. However the Starter Set comes with a pack of 12 leads designed just for the Kuru Toga pencils and 2 erasers.  This set is (was)* exclusive to the US.  For a better (and much quicker) description of the entire Kuru Toga Line, follow this link.

The Starters Set also is unique in price.  The Standard model alone sells for around $7.00 to $8.00 depending on where you buy it. The Starter Set sells for between $5.00 and $6.00, again depending on where you buy it.  For me this is by far the best value in the Kuru Toga line in either the 0.5 mm version, like mine, or the 0.7 mm version.  For those of you who use the erasers that come with mechanical pencils the 2 extra erasers are a nice bonus.  As far as the leads is concerned, well I can not speak to how good it is because I have no real way of testing pencils leads.  But the package has this to read...

 
So you are on your own when it comes to your choice of lead to use.  But I've always had success with Pentel's Super Polymer leads.  It would be interesting to know who Mitsubishi considers the maker of "... the leading lead".
 
If you discount the rubber ring at the metal tip of the pencil then the grip diameter is approximately 9 mm.  Count the rubber ring and it's 10 mm.  Your choice.  The rest of the pencil is approximately 9 mm in diameter.  The pencil is approximately 141 mm long and weighs approximately 9.6 grams.  The entire tip of the pencil measures approximately 22 mm and the grip...  Well if I use the silver ring on the Standard Model as the end of the grip them the grip is approximately 28 mm long.  If I use the back of the first ring on the grip then it is approximately 15 mm long.  Take your pick.  The balance point is approximately 71 mm from the tip of the pencil.  Yawn, so much for the stats.
 
So as far as the pencil itself goes, well it is really nothing more than a Standard Model with a little less paint on it.  But as far as the Starter Set as a package goes, well this one is a real winner in my book.  Why?  Because of the great value the Starter Set offers.  You get a Standard Model Kuru Toga, one of the best mechanical pencils ever invented, in either 0.5 mm or 0.7 mm, the 2 most popular lead sizes, a 12 pack of Uni's best lead and a couple of spare erasers for less than the price of a slightly more fancy Standard Model.  What's not to like?

You can purchase the Starter set from Wal Mart and probably from other retail outlets as well as on line at jetpens.com where you can purchase the entire line of Uni Kuru Toka pencils.

On a personal note, I use a Roulette model in 0.5 mm as my every day pencil and could not be happier with my choice.

Notes: * Before the invention of the Internet and the World Wide Web I can see the usefulness of making a product aimed at a specific group or country.  And to some degree it still has merit.  Retail brick and mortar stores have to have something to sell after all.  But when some "sold only in (you name the country)" items can be bought from online retailers based in many different countries, the idea makes less and less since every day.