Though Pentel may be known for mechanical pencils and lead refills, their woodcase pencil products are equally outstanding.
In our lineup today, we have:
The Pentel Mark Sheet pencil is Pentel’s entry in the test scoring category. In HB, the pencil is dark blue with silver lettering. The cap is dark yellow/light orange. As a pencil, it is astounding. It sharpens easily, and writes incredibly smoothly, leaving an extremely deep, rich, saturated line – that is also erasable.
The pencil was not an entrant in last year’s test of the top Japanese pencils, but it might have been a contender. It is just amazing!
The TUFF pencil is a mystery to me. In grade H, it writes very nicely. I think it would be extremely satisfactory for someone seeking a pencil that keeps a sharp point, and writes smoothly, with a line as dark as most mainstream HB pencils.
Next, we have a turquoise version of the Pentel Black Polymer 999. The pencil has a turquoise finish and Japanese language text. Automatic translations of Pentel literature call this a “pencil for copyist” or “copyist pencil”. Perhaps someone can advise?
The space for a name on the side of the pencil suggests it is for students.
What I do know is – it is a fantastic pencil! The smooth writing qualities just amazed me. It’s nice on cream paper, but on a white paper like Clairefontaine or Rhodia, the dark rich graphite just pops! My only reservation is the turquoise colouring, which I am not sure I like.
The “regular” Pentel Black Polymer 999 in HB is another well known top pencil. My growing impression is that it trades just a bit of smoothness for deep blackness, without the production of crumbles. The 4B in the series is quite amazing, creating super saturated black lines. What’s in the pencil? Is it a “polymer lead”? Stay tuned … I think we’ll learn more in the future.
The Pentel Black Polymer 999? is the top of the line. In H, it would be fine on bright white apper. I think it is quite a bit smoother than the TUFF, the other H grade pencil. It also boasts an extremely nice black lacquered finish. Though there is too much text for my taste, it is a very classy looking pencil.
We’ve heard that Pentel isn’t a woodcase pencil manufacturer per se – they subcontract their production. What can we say? Well done! The only possible criticism I can think of is that they don’t have as full a range of grades as their competitors. But everything they have done is first-rate.
The online Pentel 2009 catalogue shows the Pentel Black Polymer 999, Pentel Black Polymer 999 Copyist, and Pentel Mark Sheet Pencils. The others may be discontinued.
|Name||Slogan||Model||Bar Code||JIS symbol|
|Mark Sheet||the best quality for OCR sheet marking||CBM10||yes||no|
|Black Polymer 999||*||CB1||no||no|
|Black Polymer 999||the highest quality for general use||CB100||yes||no|
|Black Polymer 999?||supreme quality for drawing lines of high density||CB200||no||yes|
Nice pencils, Pentel!
The pencils were shown on a Mateo Ilasco No. 309 “Blueprint” notepad, and sharpened with a Carl Decade DE-100 sharpener.
My thanks to isu from the uncomfortable chair for kindly sending me the majority of these pencils.