Mechanical pencil torture test


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But did you pour molten gold down their barrels?


Man, why’s the only good-looking one have to be the most expensive AND most fragile?


Does no one make a Tactical Mechanical Pencil? Please, won’t someone think of the…um, never mind.


The auto-rotate thing in the Kuri Toga pencils (including the cheaper, more fragile all-plastic variant) actually is pretty great.

Of course the Soviets solved this problem at much lower cost by simply having their astronauts rotate around their pencils.


Seventeen bucks for a Kuru Toga? Seems that’s the “High Grade” verison.

The standard is a tiny fraction of that price on Amazon.

The Uni Alpha-Gel is also available with the “Kuru Toga Engine” and not merely shaker form. It is distinguished by the logo on the side. I purchased it on eBay some years ago for a reasonable price.

Needless to say I am in love with these things.

My dad always let me use his Skilcraft mechanical pencils (that were supplied at the various aircraft companies he worked for), when I was a kid. To this day, nothing else feels right in my hands.

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Sorry, that’s a dealbreaker for me- I wouldn’t buy any pencil that advances less than 0.6mm per click.


I see what you did there.

Not a single pencil lead/penis joke. FOR SHAME!

It is unfortunate; but aficionados of The Warrior Lifestyle™ are apparently stuck with pens.

That said, I can attest from experience, forged in the hellish fires of middle school, that a good, reliable, Pentel P205, .5mm, steel tip, is more than capable of drawing blood, as well as highly reliable for more scholastic tasks. It is also large enough to be comfortable to hold, and hexagonal to prevent rolling; but small enough that two or three can be stored in the breast pocket of an ordinary suit jacket without any odd sagging or similar issues.

Just a word of caution, though: mechanical pencil lead is conductive enough that if the tip of the lead is exposed to electrical plasma discharges, you will eventually fuse the lead to the interior of the pencil. So try to avoid that.


When I was in university, I exclusively took notes using mechanical pencils… But I was notoriously bad at keeping track of them, so after losing 4 or 5 really nice ones, I resorted to using these bad boys:

I grew to hate them, over time… With an irrational passion. But they were cheap and plentiful and I didn’t care if I accidentally left them in class on a regular basis.


Wait, I thought Mirado Black Warriors were the only kind of pencil worth mentioning?

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I think you spelled Blackwing 602 wrong


That’s what it was. I just can’t keep track about which writing utensils are the best.

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I have a few liberated Air Force contract Skilcraft B3 Aviator pen/pencils I really like them, though after a hot weather related leak I replaced the stock D1 refills with red and black Fischer Universal ‘Space Pen’ refills. They have a screw cap for the eraser which meets military requirements for not falling off and creating foreign object damage inside an aircraft.
I am still looking for the best 0.5mm lead that wont break when handled roughly but is soft enough that it will not slash holes through legal pads when I write notes.

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You can probably imagine what happened next.

They fixed the cable?

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I’ve always been fond of the Pentel Twist-Erase III. I had one that lasted all the way through college without a single problem (and without getting lost). I doubt it would do well the “crushed by car” scenario.

Starting about 1979, a craze by Japanese schoolgirls for drawing cute
cartoon figures caused skyrocketing sales of mechanical pencils.

What? This line combined with the clickbait subhead made me wonder if I had stumbled into buzzfeed by accident.

So cool! I love William Gurstelle idea on how to test these. A fun read too!