Kaweco acrylic leadholders

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So what is a “leadholder”? The shrine is at leadholder.com. My abbreviated nutshell summary is that they are simple mechanical holders for wide diameter leads. Wide usually means 2 millimeters (mm) or more. Today, there are three common wide lead diameters – 2mm, 3.15mm, and 5.6mm.

If you aren’t familiar with these writing implements – and there is good reason to not be, since they won’t be found easily – it is my recommendation to try one if you are interested.

The simple part is the “clutch” – which clamps a lead with three jaws. Other variants are essentially mechanical pencils, which have an internal clutch, and a button to expel the lead.

2mm is the same lead diameter as most woodcase pencils. 3.15mm is a larger variant. Both are used in traditional drafting, architectural, and mechanical drawing disciplines. Since most of these professions switched to computer based drawing one to three decades ago (with notable holdouts), these pencils today are probably more in the domain of students learning traditional drawing methods, and artists. They are of course both perfectly useful for general writing.

5.6mm is definitely in the sketching and arts realm. At this diameter, various chalk and charcoal media can also be used. I like the sanguine and sepia refills that these pencils accommodate.

While thin lead (meaning 0.2mm though to 0.9mm) mechanical pencils may be the trend or norm – and many have sophisticated internal mechanisms to support their very fragile leads – wide lead pencils are the antithesis. Wide lead pencils are simple, and can be used freely in one’s hand, without any fear of lead breakage. And a thick lead can be used to create marks with considerable line width variations, or in a soft grade, to just sail across a large piece of paper! If you want to sharpen the point, there is no shortage of methods!

Kaweco acrylic leadholders

Kaweco, a brand of Gutberlet, recently introduced a new line of pencils. What makes this line special is that Kaweco is embracing all three wide lead diameters!

Sold in five basic colours, the blue series is shown here. I bought these at retail, and they are a great example of the benefits of the brick and mortar store. Online, all the colour variants seemed good to me – yet thank goodness I didn’t buy them online, because some were not at all appealing to me when I saw them in person.

Kaweco acrylic leadholders

The 2mm version is a cap button advance mechanical pencil, while the 3.15 and 5.6mm versions are clutch leadholders. The 5.6mm pencil additionally has a sharpener inside the cap.

Kaweco acrylic leadholders

The pencils are highly unified in appearance, yet each differs – the tip, the cap, and of course the lead.

Kaweco acrylic leadholders

They are budget priced writing implements which perform without problem, and have a finish just as sophisticated (excepting the removable clip) as far higher priced alternatives.

Highly recommended.

12 Replies to “Kaweco acrylic leadholders”

  1. These are pretty nice looking leadholders. I’m still getting used to my first, and I’m buying up all sorts of leads for it hoping to find something juuust right.

    While waiting for my Hi-Uni pencils to come through at Bundoki, they emailed me a few recommendations for 2mm leads. One recommendation was interesting since I saw them before locally but totally dismissed them: Sun-Star SharPits. Just seeing the packaging and name, along with the plastic pencils themselves, made me think cheap Chinese rubbish, so I didn’t bother. Turns out that although the pencils are pretty cheap plastic things for primary school kids, the lead is quite slick. A bit brittle/soft, but quite dark and extremely smooth. I’m still waiting for some high-end leads (Hi-Uni and Uni Artis which are discontinued, then standard Uni and Uchida), but these SharPits leads are impressive so far. I wonder what other nice leads are lurking about.

    Gotta say that My Staedtler 925-25-20 with SharPits B or 2B (only ones available) has redefined my understanding of graphite pencil smoothness…perhaps mostly due to weight, but the lead definitely glides. Still love my wooden pencils though.

  2. Nice blog entry and informative review. While I would not want this particular design for my collection (not big on “marble finish” on any of my barrels), I would like to find a sleek translucent Kaweco leadholder at retail sometime.

  3. I love the color and the ability to get wide leads.

    How long are the leadholders compared to Staedtler 925-25-20?

  4. I meant how long are the Kaweco acrylic leadholders compared to the Staedler Mars Technico?

    I mixed up the name of the two leadholders.

    Where could I get those in the U.S?

  5. Hi 2mmleadholderfan, the Kawecos are quite different in dimension than a standard drafting leadholder – much shorter and thicker.

    The 2mm Kaweco is maybe 103mm long, while a drafting leadholder might be 140mm long. And the diameter is approximately 13mm vs. 8mm for a standard drafting leadholder.

  6. Thanks penciladmin,

    I have been on the hunt for a 5.6 leadholder which has the length of a 2 mm leadholder.

    I don’t get why they have to be shorter, shorter pens are very uncomfortable to write with for any length of time.

  7. Hi 2mmleadholderfan,

    I’ll agree that the Kaweco pencils are not ideal for long term usage.

    As to full length 5.6mm leadholders – Bexley made a very nice one a few years ago (the Multi-Max), and Milan makes a very solid full-length leadholder (the 5340) that can be picked up at art supply stores. Koh-I-Noor also has a few models, but the ones I’ve personally used, while okay, are all plastic and don’t have a great “hand feel” to me.

    As well, thank you for the idea – I think I’ll devote a future blog post to this category of leadholder.

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