Though Pentel may be known for mechanical pencils and lead refills, their woodcase pencil products are equally outstanding.
In our lineup today, we have:
Pentel Mark Sheet Pencil
Pentel Tuff Pencil
Pentel Black Polymer 999 Copyist
Pentel Black Polymer 999
Pentel Black Polymer 999? (999 alpha)
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.
||the best quality for OCR sheet marking
|Black Polymer 999
|Black Polymer 999
||the highest quality for general use
|Black Polymer 999?
||supreme quality for drawing lines of high density
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.