3.15mm mechanical pencils

3.15mm mechanical pencils
Photo, top to bottom:Lamy ABC, Lamy Scribble, Bexley Mini-Max, Pilot Croquis, on a Seligmann notebook.

The aspect of mechanical pencils that so many love is the one I don’t – the thin lead. Although a 0.7mm or 0.5 mm diameter lead may be ultra-precise, it’s also quite breakable. It’s doesn’t allow for much variation in line width, and the possibility of breakage (with a very tiny piece of graphite hurtling to places unknown) forces one to hold the pencil a bit too consciously.

There is hope! Though they don’t seem to have swept the world, mechanial pencils and leadholders with much wider leads are available. I’ll mention four of them, including one that has a very accessible price.

I’ve previously mentioned the Lamy ABC – it’s a nice pencil, and has a twist mechanism for advancing the lead. It also comes with a very nice cube shaped lead pointer. It’s aimed at children, so the bright colors may not be for everyone.

The Lamy Scribble uses the more conventional clutch mechanism (think “jaws”), which means you do the work in advancing the lead, though it isn’t difficult. It’s a down to business solid black in a material I had always thought metal, though it’s apparently a very dense plastic. Unlike the ballpoint and regular mechanical pencil in the Scribble line, the 3.15mm version has three sides partially flattened, presumably to enhance the grip.

The Bexley Mini-Max followed the success of their Multi-Max, a pencil using the even wider 5.6mm lead. (I love those also, but that’s another post). The Mini-Max is a 3.15mm pencil, also using a clutch like the Scribble. Bexley is a serious fountain pen company, and they released the Mini-Max in several finishes. It sells in a metal box that includes several goodies: a KUM lead pointer with a container (this looks like a standard pencil sharpener unless you’re quite close, and will also sharpen 5.6mm leads), a tube of graphite leads (maybe a B grade), a tube of coloured leads, and a real surprise – two ballpoint pen inserts that the clutch mechanism will take to covert the pencil to a pen. It’s quite a nice set. These ballpoints can be purchased for use in other clutch 3.15mm pencils like the Scribble.

Now for anyone who wants to try this format of pencil for much less than the previously mentioned pencils, there is a nice inexpensive wide lead pencil sold at art stores. The Pilot Croquis has a twist advance mechanism, and a black plastic body with a triangular grip. The one drawback I see is that the lead isn’t a standard 3.15mm – it is just a tad larger, so you’ll have to get the Pilot refills.

8 Replies to “3.15mm mechanical pencils”

  1. You might be interested in the Ballograf Rondo. It’s a mechanical pencil, but the lead is spring-loaded, which reduces the chance of snapping the lead every time you put pencil to paper. I won’t use any other mechanical pencil.

  2. Thank you so much for the information. My husband asked for a small lead pencil that would fit in his pocket. Your information helped me out significantly! Father’s Day will be a happy one this year. (By the way, my son and I chose the Bexley Mini-Max.)

  3. You are most welcome. With so many included accessories, the Mini-Max makes a nice presentation as a gift, as well as being a quality pencil.

  4. I recently bought a Koh-i-noor 3.15mm clutch pencil which will take both 3.15mm and 3.2mm leads. A really nice design in glossy black laquer and chrome. Chunky enough to feel right in the hand and not too heavy. One thing, though to do with leads. I like dense 6B for drawing and am trying to find a deep black 6B lead. I am using Faber-Castell 6B at present, but cannot seem to get a decent black from them. Any suggestions for leads and suppliers gratefully recieved.

    Big thankyou

  5. I have the same question as Spacecadet. I am looking for the darkest leads possible. I have ordered some Koh-i-noor 3.2 mm leads from CzechArtSupplies through Amazon. I will reply back after I receive it and let you know.

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