Pentel Jolt Mechanical Pencil – 0.5mm

26 02 2014
It comes with normal lead, but what's the fun in leaving a writing utensil unaltered? Gotta make it yours, though sometimes all that means is just putting in a different color lead

It comes with normal lead, but what’s the fun in leaving a writing utensil unaltered? Gotta make it yours, though sometimes all that means is just putting in a different color lead

Ever since the Kuru Toga came into my life, I haven’t tended to give much thought to mechanical pencils. But the Pentel Jolt has kept a stylish place in my heart, and it’s high time I got around to reviewing it.

Especially since I first mentioned the Jolt almost 3 years ago

Especially since I first mentioned the Jolt almost 3 years ago

Style style style style STYLE. I love the look. I love every part of the look. I love the faceted nosecone (and I love that it allows the tip to be retracted).

It's a pretty subtle faceting until you get right up onit

It’s a pretty subtle faceting until you get right up on it. Minus 2 points for me not having fully retracted the lead/tip in this picture

I love the zigzags indented in the grip, which is a nice grippy black rubber that doesn’t grab up a bunch of debris. And that shaker mechanism window, bright white spring popping against the black tube—

I could stare at this all day

I could stare at this all day

Just a solid YES. Even the branding looks good.

Probably named as a nod to Jolt Cola, that highly caffeinated beverage of my youth; consuming Jolt Cola will aid and amplify in the use of the shaker mechanism

Probably named as a nod to Jolt Cola, that highly caffeinated beverage of my youth; consuming Jolt Cola will aid and amplify in the use of the shaker mechanism

A++ on this design, Pentel. Please call up whoever worked on this design and remind them of what a good job they did.

This is a real eraser. None of those useless little crumbs that companies like hiding under an easily lost plastic cap

This is a real eraser. None of those useless little crumbs that companies like hiding under an easily lost plastic cap

Not content with mere aesthetic mastery, the Jolt hits as many functional points as it can. Number one in my heart is this extra large, wide black eraser. The only improvement there would be for Pentel to make it out of their hi-polymer black eraser material.

I don’t have many shaker pencils, so I don’t know exactly how to evaluate them. You shake the pencil, and like you’re some kind of wizard having a fit, lead magically advances from your flailings. Or, if you’re more traditionally inclined, you can advance the lead by pressing down on the eraser.

Strong lead for a strong pencil

Strong lead for a strong pencil

I forget what kind of lead it came with; I loaded it with Pentel’s Ain Stein enhanced 0.5mm blue lead. It’s smear resistant, with a reinforced silica core. Plus it makes all your drawings look cool.

Also comes in a lime green body for the 0.5mm; pink and orange bodies with white accents are for the 0.7mm

Also comes in a lime green body for the 0.5mm; pink and orange bodies with white accents are for the 0.7mm

At a little under $3 and widely available in regular office supply stores, the Pentel Jolt is probably one of the best-looking mechanical pencils you can get out in the wilds of the American market.

Pentel Jolt Mechanical Pencil 0.5mm at Pentel

Pentel Stein Enhanced Silica Pencil Lead – 0.5mm – Blue at JetPens





Pentel Tradio Pulaman & Stylo “Fountain Pens”

19 02 2014
What a throwback! This writing sample was done in my old Behance Dot Grid Journal. I switched to Rhodia Dot Blocs because I was too cheap to cough up $24 for a new Behance Dot Grid Journal when I filled the old one up, plus I already owned several Rhodia Dot Blocs.

What a throwback! This writing sample was done in my old Behance Dot Grid Journal. I switched to Rhodia Dot Blocs because I was too cheap to cough up $24 for a new Behance Dot Grid Journal when I filled the old one up, plus I already owned several Rhodia Dot Blocs.

Time to write the Tradio review that I thought I’d already done. The  nomenclature of these two pens is screwy from top to bottom; I think the Pentel policy is to arbitrarily switch what is called the Tradio Pulaman and what is called the Stylo on a regular basis in accordance with some arcane and esoteric ritual. The black, refillable Tradio I have is called Tradio PulaMan; for 50 cents more you can get what, according to JetPens, is the exact same pen, but called Tradio Stylo. Meanwhile, the disposable brown model I have says “Pentel Stylo” on the clip; JetPens’ disposable is called and labeled “Pentel PulaMan.”

One of these things is significantly cooler-looking than the other

One of these things is significantly cooler-looking than the other

The disposable is a very simple, retro sort of design, while the refillable model is a much more modern and attractive affair. Basically, everything I said about the Tradio TRF100 design, minus the black pearl coating. This black is a nice, solid-feeling matte black.

These are no so much "grips" as just the sections where you grab the pen...not exactly much went into the grippability of these sections

These are not so much “grips” as just the sections where you grab the pen…not exactly much went into the grippability aspect of the grip

The smoky translucent grip of the refillable gives something of a clue to the biggest baffling mystery of the naming of these two pens: clearly you can see a feed in there. But rollerballs also have feeds; that doesn’t magically make them fountain pens.

Maybe they're like cocoa nibs? Maybe that was the "nib" they meant?

Maybe they’re like cocoa nibs? Maybe that was the “nib” they meant?

This is what they’re calling a nib, such that these things may be called fountain pens. But I don’t think they’re fountain pens any more than a chimpanzee can be said to be a human. They’re similar, they’ve got a common ancestor, but you are dealing with two different branches on the tree. This is some kind of chisel-tip thing, some sort of hard-tip brush or marker-like thing. There is this plastic assembly where the felt/marker/brush tip comes out through the middle…if I were to describe it in terms of a fountain pen, I’d say imagine a nib made of plastic, and instead of a breather hole and slit replace that with some kind of long thin felt marker strip connected to the feed and then devolve into sheer madness and that’s about what it’s like.

Their common ancestor was probably the quill pen

Their common ancestor was probably the quill pen

So how do they write? The refillable is leaps and bounds better than the disposable. The disposable is scratchy, catches on the page, and creates little splatters of ink (you can see some in the writing sample). The refillable is much better, but takes way too long to dry. My hand is a mess. This handwritten review is a mess.

Look at this mess. Mess on my hand, mess on the paper. Slow-drying is an understatement

Look at this mess. Mess on my hand, mess on the paper. Slow-drying is an understatement

But maybe it’s more of an art pen.

Moleskine sketchbook paper, the only paper that like, absorbs and distorts pretty much anything you put on it

Moleskine sketchbook paper, the only paper that absorbs & distorts pretty much anything you put on it

More suited to smaller drawings, I think, but maybe I’m too baffled by the false fountain pen-ness of it to truly appreciate its use.

THE NAMES MEAN NOTHING

THE NAMES MEAN NOTHING

The disposable is a bust. The refillable is something worthwhile, but with slow drying times is not a lefty-friendly pen. I may use its rich black ink to draw, but I won’t be using it to write

Pentel Tradio Pulaman Fountain Pen – Black Body – Black Ink at JetPens

Pentel Tradio Stylo Fountain Pen – Black Body – Black Ink – Allegedly identical to the above linked pen but costs 50 cents more??? at JetPens

Pentel Pulaman JM20 Disposable Fountain Pen – Brown Body at JetPens (same as the pen I have here that has Stylo on its clip)





Pentel TRF100 Tradio Fountain Pen – Black Pearl Body – M nib

4 02 2014
If I were to guess, and this is just a guess, I'd say this is J. Herbin Vert Pré. It is a very limey green (by which I mean lime-like, not archaic-derogatory-term-for-Brits-like)

If I were to guess, and this is just a guess, I’d say this is J. Herbin Vert Pré. It is a very limey green (by which I mean lime-like, not archaic-derogatory-term-for-Brits-like)

Fun fact: up until I received this pen, I would have sworn I’d already reviewed its felt-tipped older brother, the Tradio Pulaman “fountain pen” marker. Somewhere I’ve got the pictures, and the writing sample; I just never did the actual review. I keep wanting to reference a review I haven’t even written yet, and for that, I apologize. I’d also like to thank JetPens for providing this sample (and this lovely green J. Herbin ink cartridge) for review.

Snap cap, the second most convenient fountain pen type, besides the completely monopolized retractable.

Snap cap, the second most convenient fountain pen type (the first being the completely monopolized retractable)

I’ve got to break down this design three ways: the basic overall design, the black pearl coating, and the wonderful little window. Design: all thumbs up. Simple, attractive, modern work of pen designing art. Look at that cap. Look at the window.

So sleek! Such curves!

So sleek! Such curves!

This might be my favorite part. You can see the nib! There it is! Hi! Wave at the nib! I wish I could see all of my nibs even when capped—the nib is the quintessential fountain pen part!

See the seam on the cap? Don't lie; you totally do

See the seam on the cap? Don’t lie; you totally do

This black pearl finish is where I start to have mixed feelings. It feels smooth. It looks cool. But it makes the seams on the cap stand out more (they’re smooth, as smooth as with the matte black body on my Tradio Pulaman), and stand-out seams can cheapen the look, no matter how well they’re smoothed. Also: smooth surface picks up skin debris like you paid it to collect every discarded cell. We’re talking mad crazy. This is fingerprint/handprint city, in a way that the matte surface definitely isn’t. If you’re a stickler for cleanliness, this might drive you insane.

Why not shiny black pearl grip? Why the discontinuity?

Why not shiny black pearl grip? Why the discontinuity?

Black grip combined with the black pearl body? Not sure how I feel about that. Two toned nib? Good choice. The cap posts securely (though I’ve read of problems with similar models) and is almost necessary for so lightweight of a pen. It feels like it could just float out of my hand.

Says "IRIDIUM POINT Pentel" on the top, but that wasn't quite as attractive as this close up turned out to be

Says “IRIDIUM POINT Pentel” on the top, but that wasn’t quite as attractive as this close up turned out to be

On exceptionally smooth Clairefontaine/Rhodia papers, a problem emerged: this nib has got undeniable butt cheeks, the result being times where the ink doesn’t want to get on the page, as capillary action is holding the ink up in the crack instead of bringing it down to the where the cheeks touch the page. It happened so bad on the S in “Smooth” on the writing sample that I had to go back and write over it again until ink happened or there would have been no S at all. I busted out my eye loupe to confirm, and sure enough:

Cheeks, people; two of them.

Cheeks, people; two of them.

The cheeks weren’t a problem while handwriting this review in cursive on Leuchtturm 1917 ruled medium notebook paper. It’s been a good tactile nib on this paper, no flow problems, but I know I won’t rest until I’ve smoothed out that butt.

Not only can you see less cheekiness, you can also see where I got too close with the camera and got ink on my lens

Not only can you see less cheekiness, you can also see where I got too close with the camera and got ink on my lens

One micromesh buff stick and some lapping films later, and I’ve got the butt cheeks toned down. And now, I’ve got a very smooth tuned nib. Aw yeah.

The competition; the compatibility

The competition; the compatibility

At this price point, the Tradio is in direct competition with the Lamy Safari. The Tradio line can’t compete on color and nib options (there’s only medium nibs, and only a handful of colors, though I did find that the Tradio Pulaman body and cap are fully compatible with the fountain pen bits), but the Tradio has two big advantages going for it: no proprietary cartridges (takes the standard international cartridges) and rounded grip (as in, not faceted-sculpted-telling-you-how-to-live-your-life-and-grip-your-pen-type grip).

Carry it around, it won't weigh you down

Carry it around, it won’t weigh you down

The Tradio TRF100 is a decent, very lightweight plastic body beginner fountain pen. Some simple nib smoothing may be needed to achieve peak performance, but for me this pen will find a comfortable home as a knock-about work pen.

Pentel TRF100 Tradio Fountain Pen Black Pearl Body at JetPens





Pentel Graphgear 1000 Drafting Pencil – 0.5 mm

16 10 2013
If I knew any drafting, I would have done that for the drawing sample. Should've drawn some hex nuts and bolts, but it's too late now.

If I knew any drafting, I would have done that for the drawing sample. Should’ve drawn some hex nuts and bolts, but it’s too late now.

I love the look of drafting pencils. They’re always so fancy—far beyond what I ever need in a pencil.

Is drafting still a thing that's done by hand?

Is drafting still a thing that’s done by hand?

In appearance, the Pentel Graphgear 1000 clocks in somewhere between futuristic and Art Deco. Where to start on these features? You’ve got a secure metal cap hiding an adjustable emergency eraser, with a sticker on top conveniently indicating lead size. You’ve got a little window to indicate lead hardness, from 2H to 2B. And you’ve got this sweet grip—

Adjustable emergency eraser! Better than your standard shoddy crumblet-sized eraser

Adjustable emergency eraser! Better than your standard shoddy crumblet-sized eraser

Which combines the grippability of a knurled grip with the comfort of a rubbery grip. The little ovals go down when you press on them. I don’t know how useful that is, but it’s insanely fun to play with.

A stronger clip is not yet known to man in the pencil world

A stronger clip is not yet known to man in the pencil world

The big deal with this Graphgear is the retractable lead sleeve. To deploy, push down on the eraser knock, and the lead sleeve clicks neatly into place. To retract, open up the clip—the whole mechanism retracts violently. Time has not reduced the forcefulness of this retraction.

Pencil lead, as would be expected

Pencil lead, as would be expected

The lead sleeve is very sturdy. The lead in the sleeve is sturdy. The pencil is solid, the weight, well balanced.

Pretend that I drew a building for you

Pretend that I drew a building for you

The Graphgear 1000 is a classy, well-made pencil. I don’t know much about drafting pencils to compare it to, but the GraphGear seems to me like quite the fine utensil.

Thanks to Pentel for providing this sample for review!

 

Pentel Graphgear 1000 at Pentel.com

Pentel Graphgear 1000 at JetPens

Pentel Graphgear 1000 at Amazon, thru Pentel, cheaper than Pentel’s own website?!?





Unleash the Power of Pentel

1 06 2013

Hey all you cats and kittens, Pentel whispered in my email-box ear that you wanted to hear about this summer’s hot new contest. There’s the big bad superprize, plus some other prizes, and hero-themed contests ALSO WITH SOME PRIZES??? Turns out that I’ve reached the limit for the number of times a person can type “prizes” in one sitting before it stops looking like a real word. Speaking of real words, that’s enough of them now. Keep up with Pentel for more intel.





Pentel Libretto Pen & Pencil Set — and GIVEAWAY!

20 12 2012
Pens AND pencils---TOGETHER?!?!?

Pens AND pencils—TOGETHER?!?!?

You know how these things start. I get an email that begins with “do you want—” and I’m already shouting YES PLEASE as I reply with my mailing address before they can even get out the words “free pen sample.”

Does this desk look dimly lit to you? Or do I need to change my contacts?

Does this desk look dimly lit to you? Or do I need to change my contacts?

Usually I’m skeptical of gift sets when it comes to the world of writing utensils. No good reason for it, really. If I don’t like something, there’s usually a good reason. Gift pen and pencil sets are the exception. I distrust them without any justification.

The subtle accents somehow seem festively appropriate. Or maybe that's the red felt. Maybe the accents really indicate the number of times the pen was distilled. 150-proof pen, ladies and gents.

The subtle accents somehow seem festively appropriate. Or maybe that’s the red felt. Maybe the accents really indicate the number of times the pen was distilled. 150-proof pen, ladies and gents.

But I’m glad I gave these a shot. They’re simple yet elegant, with classy accents and a nice feel in the hand. I’d take them to a dinner party; wouldn’t you?

Pencil? Bueno. Rollerball? Not so bueno.

Pencil? Bueno. Rollerball? Not so bueno.

The pencil I found myself reaching for time and again on recent craft / notebook-making projects. The pen, however, is a bit of a let-down. It doesn’t apply well over pencil, meaning it’s a no-go for art use, and I had some occasional skipping. Not to fear though.

I doubt Pentel appreciates me kicking their refill out for a Uni-ball Jetstream refill, but maybe I wouldn't have to if they'd stock the Vicuna in American retail stores.

I doubt Pentel appreciates me kicking their refill out for a Uni-ball Jetstream refill, but maybe I wouldn’t have to if they’d stock the VIcuna in American retail stores.

Joyous wonder, the Jetstream refill fits in this body. So you can have a fancy all-fine-occasions pen with a delicious Jetstream center (and if you love the person you’d be giving this to, you WILL open it up and put a Jetstream refill in the pen).

 

For all your favorite gift-based holidays!

For all your favorite gift-based holidays!

Now, on to the good stuff.

 

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THE GIVEAWAY RULES!

******************************

  1. To enter, just leave one comment on this post any time between now and Thursday, December 27th 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time. Since I’ll be sending this myself, and I’m not made of loot and dough, I’m limiting this contest to U.S. residents only. Sorry!
  2. One winner will be picked at random from the comments section of this post. Make any kind of comment—but only one comment! Comments in excess of one shall be deleted. The comments will be numbered in the order they are received, i.e. the first comment is #1, the second #2, and so on. Because my blog doesn’t seem to number the comments on its own yet, and I STILL don’t will probably never have time/the willpower to fix it, I will again hand-number all the entries in Photoshop like I did here. The Random Integer Generator at random.org will be used to pick the number of the winner.
  3. I’ll post the contest winner on Friday, December 28th. Winner will have one week to email me. There’s a link to my email at the top of the right sidebar.

Good luck everyone!

Many thanks to Pentel for providing these sets for me to review and for the extra to give away!

Pentel Libretto Pen & Pencil Set

 

 





Pentel RSVP Ballpoint Pen Fine Point – Black Ink and Blue Ink

2 05 2012

Classic

Back before I discovered such things as JetPens, good paper, and super-smooth ballpoint pens, I was utterly addicted to the Pentel RSVP and never left the house without my Moleskine and at least one Pentel RSVP in my pocket.

THOOOOSE WERE THE DAAAYS….AND YOU KNEW WHO YOU WERE THEN……GOIYLS WERE GOIYLS AND PENS WERE PENS……

The RSVP is the signature pen I think of when I think of the name “Pentel”. When they went on sale I would buy them by the dozen. I’m still finding Pentel RSVPs in nearly every drawer I open.

Nothing fancy, but who needs fancy when these babies would go on sale five for a dollar?

The design is straightforward, yet appealing. I was always particularly fond of the fine point, because it had silver lettering on the barrel (looks nice, no?) These pens were durable, yet replaceable, and fun to chew on (don’t worry, I don’t chew on pens anymore).

This end needs some work

You may notice I keep slipping into the past tense when talking about the RSVP, and here’s why: writing quality. This pen has fallen out of my favor due to constant ink issues. My old Moleskines are filled with blobs and smears. A serious writing session would leave the side of my hand riddled with ink.

There’s even a big ink smear on the nose cone. What a mess.

Comparing standard office pens (the kind corporations tend to order), I’d take the RSVP any day, blobs and all, over a Pilot G2 or a Bic stick. But this isn’t a go-to pen for me. Even Pentel’s own Vicuna ink is much smoother, darker, and less blobby; put that ink in the RSVP body, and you’d have quite the top-notch office pen. I daresay it could even put up a fair fight against a Jetstream, especially if such a RSVP-Vicuna hybrid clocked in at a cheaper price.

All aboard the nostalgia express

If you’re ordering for your office and Jetstreams aren’t an option, then go for the RSVP. Otherwise, they’re not worth getting more of (unless you’re feeling particularly nostalgic), and you should probably find some underprivileged youths to give the ones you’ve already got.

Pentel RSVP Ballpoint Pens at JetPens

Also found just about anywhere pens are sold








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