Patrick Rhone’s new pencilPosted: February 15, 2011
One of my favorite writers on the web has a fairly new podcast, and this week he branched out into the world of fine writing instruments. He’s a pretty well-known pen fanatic in addition to a fantastic tech writer, and I had been hoping for something like this for some time. If there’s something I enjoy more than Macs and LEGO, fine pens would be a strong contender.
The topic of the day is the uni-ball Kuru Toga, a mechanical pencil that sharpens itself while writing. Pure genius, and I’d expect nothing less from uni-ball. Based purely on look, heft, and Patrick’s recommendation, I’m going to try this out asap, with a few caveats.
First is writing smoothness – like Patrick, I’ve never liked pencils due to their inherently scratchy writing style. My main priority is finding a pencil that can write on par with a higher-end rollerball or similarly smooth pen. It doesn’t seem to me like a finely sharpened 0.5 mm lead would do that. I’ve ever had a problem with 0.5 being too wide for me (I actually prefer thicker nibs as a rule), so the benefits might not be so dramatic for me.
There’s another problem – the Pilot Dr. Grip Ltd. While I don’t use any other Pilot products, this one is just about perfect. I’ve used as my one and only pencil ever since the beginning of high school, and it’s never let me down. The body is rather heavy, well-made, and has strong, reliable lead. The real differentiator is a simple shake-to-advance mechanism so I never need to shift my grip. All this makes writing with the Dr. Grip completely unlike any other mechanical pencil I’ve tried. Everything else seems scratchy and cheap by comparison. In fact, everything else probably was cheaper, since this is definitely not a bargain buy. If you desire an incomparably smooth and reliable pencil though, it’s worth it.
I’ll definitely pick up the Kuru Toga someday, if only because Patrick recommends it so wholeheartedly. Besides, I already use practically all uni-ball’s pen models so I’m predisposed. But it will have to come through on multiple levels to replace my Dr. Grip.