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Thread: Does anyone collect Mechanical Pencils?

  1. #81
    Senior Member myu's Avatar
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    Default Re: Does anyone collect Mechanical Pencils?

    Quote Originally Posted by VertOlive View Post
    Still not admitting to collecting, but found a NOS pair of Staedtler Mars Drafting pencils in 0.5 and 0.7mm on speerbob's ebay site for $10 shipped.

    Also went completely Luddite and got a box of General Pencil Co.'s Cedar Pointes ( and a pencil sharpener). The smell brings me back 50 years...

    Now enjoying comparing these six models as to which is best for bookkeeping, Latin study, or other note taking.
    Nice -- older Staedtler Mars pencils are very well made. Speerbob can have some good bargains on mechanical pencils from time to time.

    Yeah, I know what you mean about wooden pencils. I hadn't sharpened one in probably close to 20 years now. When I did it recently, the aroma instantly took me back to grade school! Trippy.

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    Default Re: Does anyone collect Mechanical Pencils?

    Like VertOlive I, too, am Definitely Not A Collector, but I have just happened to have bought 3 more mechanical/clutch pencils to try: Staedtler 925 25 (excellent); Caran D'Ache Fixpencil (excellent, although I need time to decide whether I prefer it to the Staedtler 780C) and Faber-Castell TK Fine Vario L (surprisingly rubbish). I probably have in the region of 15 mechanical pencils, but I still refuse to believe I'm collecting them.

    I feel a bit of a fraud since I can try all my pencils and decide which ones are best, but most of them still have whatever lead they arrived in which means (a) I haven't used them enough to use up the lead and (b) any comparisons between pencils are largely useless if they have different brands of lead. I ought to try some more Pentel Ain or other fancier leads, but I suspect that my decades-long use of standard Pentel High-Polymer HB means that any other leads (no matter how technically brilliant they are) are just wrong somehow.

    That said, the Caran D'Ache 2mm B lead that came in the Fixpencil is lovely, and not massively different to the wonderful Tombow Mono 100 HB wood pencil I bought recently to try.

  3. #83
    Senior Member myu's Avatar
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    Default Re: Does anyone collect Mechanical Pencils?

    Quote Originally Posted by milkb0at View Post
    Like VertOlive I, too, am Definitely Not A Collector, but I have just happened to have bought 3 more mechanical/clutch pencils to try: Staedtler 925 25 (excellent); Caran D'Ache Fixpencil (excellent, although I need time to decide whether I prefer it to the Staedtler 780C) and Faber-Castell TK Fine Vario L (surprisingly rubbish). I probably have in the region of 15 mechanical pencils, but I still refuse to believe I'm collecting them.

    I feel a bit of a fraud since I can try all my pencils and decide which ones are best, but most of them still have whatever lead they arrived in which means (a) I haven't used them enough to use up the lead and (b) any comparisons between pencils are largely useless if they have different brands of lead. I ought to try some more Pentel Ain or other fancier leads, but I suspect that my decades-long use of standard Pentel High-Polymer HB means that any other leads (no matter how technically brilliant they are) are just wrong somehow.

    That said, the Caran D'Ache 2mm B lead that came in the Fixpencil is lovely, and not massively different to the wonderful Tombow Mono 100 HB wood pencil I bought recently to try.
    I probably own close to 30 mechanical pencils, but also didn't intend to "collect" them. ;-) Some I got as a fountain pen or ballpoint companion. Others were in pen lots that I'd purchased. But some are the result of deliberate collecting of very specific characteristics. I adore well made vintage Japanese mechanical pencils, especially ones with retractable tips. I would never think to try collecting all variations out there, because there are some which are so uncommon and rare, you face voracious bidding competition. One in particular I've wanted is a Pilot Automatic that will sell for about $800 USD in mint condition, and about $400 USD in very good condition with some surface pitting/corrosion. For me, I just can't see paying more than $200 for any mechanical pencil, unless it is an exclusive edition from a high-end pen maker that goes with a matching fountain pen.

    About the Faber Castell TK Fine Vario, I'd also read that it doesn't present a quality and character that matches the price. Very sad to see that stalwart brand compromise their reputation, as their older models are quite sought after (like the Alpha matic and TK matic).

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    Default Re: Does anyone collect Mechanical Pencils?

    I've heard about the Pilot Automatic, but only in relation to the Orenznero. I hadn't realised the vintage version was that much. Golly.

    The F-C is weird. Some people have complained about the quality of the plastic, but that hasn't bothered me. For me, the grip is weird and too slippery, and the ultra-cool vario cushioning does absolutely nothing unless you mash the pencil into the page. Since we're all gentle fountain pen users here, our light touch makes the vario feature utterly pointless.

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    Senior Member myu's Avatar
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    Default Re: Does anyone collect Mechanical Pencils?

    There is a Pilot Automac [JetPens link], which is a different mechanical pencil that was recently released. It has a retractable tip like the original Automatic [photo]. But it's not on the same level (like a professional drafting instrument). Oddly, it's not listed on the PilotPen.us site. Mixed reviews about it.

    Personally, I'm not all that keen about automatic feed pencils. It's all mechanical, so it has no idea how much lead is worn to know how much to advance. It just blindly does it. I really don't have a problem with clicking the propelling mechanism. Actually, I quite like doing it... sort of like shifting a transmission rather than driving an automatic.

    The cushioning effect can be oft putting, indeed. Some people complain about it with the UNI Kuru Toga, but frankly I hardly notice it. The rotation mechanism is rather cool. I made a comparison with other pencils, examining the lead tips under a loupe, and was amazed to see the Kuru Toga having a nice conical tip, while the others had a chisel shape. That was keeping the hand steady. Normally, I do rotate the pencil in my hand to avoid a sharp chisel shape. And actually, when drawing one can leverage the chisel shape to advantage... Thus, the Kuru Toga is really more ideal for note taking.
    Last edited by myu; February 6th, 2018 at 03:30 PM.

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    Default Re: Does anyone collect Mechanical Pencils?

    The Kuru Toga is also better suited for either block print or Eastern logograms, since the tip must be lifted off the paper to engage the rotation mechanism. Those who write exclusively in cursive do not find it very useful, apparently.

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