I blame Mr. Dudek and, of course, Jet Pens for continuing to stoke my interest in evermore writing tools. My most recent foray was into modern technical pencils. I’ve used the sort of “standard” mechanical pencils for years but wanted to upgrade into a more substantial tool. This lovely, aqua blue Pentel Graph 600 0.3mm technical pencil ($10) seemed like as good a jumping off point as any. This pencil uses the finest lead I have ever seen at a mere 0.3mm which was part of the appeal since I’ve been using 0.5mm and 0.7mm leads in the cheaper mechanical pencils I’ve purchased in the past.
The body of the pencil is plastic but has a metal, knurled grip area. The metal helps to weight the end of the pencil as a purely plastic pencil would feel pretty lightweight in the hand. I wish the body of the pencil was also metal. I have a Caran D’Ache 844 mechanical pencil that is painted aluminum so I know it’s possible to have a great color and still get the consistent weight of a metal body.
The cap can be rotated to indicate which lead grade (from B, HB, H-4H) is in the pencil. Under the cap is a white eraser which is functional and at least gives you a chance to erase if needed and you forgot to pack a good eraser. The clip is metal. It looks removable but its not.
The pencil uses a standard click mechanism to reveal the lead and with the delicate 0.3mm lead, I only advanced a little bit at a time to eliminate the possibility of breaking it if I got heavy-handed. The lead can be retracted back into the pencil but the metal casing around the lead does not retract so I wouldn’t recommend carrying this pencil loose in a pocket or bag as impaling yourself is a risk.
I paired the pencil with Tombow MONO-WX 0.3mm HB leads ($5) which come in a sturdy plastic dispensing case. The leads are available in 2H, H, HB and B (HB being the grade most like the #2 pencils we used in school). The lead on paper was buttery smooth and withstood quite a bit of pressure for something so fine.
I do love writing with graphite and I think this would be a lovely addition to my ever-growing collection.