Further information:I got this and another jade pencil pot when I was in Shanghai a few years ago. Compared to other pencil pots it is unusually heavy and the walls and base of the pot are rather thick. I assume this one was supposed to be used for a brush (because of its tall, slim shape).
After having heard good things about Pilot’s neox Graphite leads from Lexikaliker I bought some to try them out. This blog post is just a quick comparison between the neox Graphite leads and my standard leads, Staedtler’s Mars micro carbon. In this comparison both, the neox Graphite and the Mars micro carbon, were 0.3 mm leads in B.
I know that Pentel’s Ain Stein leads are liked by many, but I don’t have those in 0.3 mm in B, so I couldn’t compare them to Pilot’s and Staedtler’s leads.
To test the leads I put the Pilot leads in a Pilot pen and the Staedtler leads in a Staedtler pen. Without a doubt the Staedtler system has the better filling system. The opening of the lead container has a width that fits in Staedtler pens, so you can just slide all leads into the pen. The lead containers are ISO colour coded (0.3 mm is yellow). You will also find this colour coding on some other mechanical pencils, e.g. Faber-Castell’s TK-Fine 9717. Filling the Staedtler is so easy that I made a video to demonstrate it.
Both leads seem to provide similarly dark lines. The neox Graphite might be a little bit darker, but I didn’t see much of a difference. I thought I have a look whether I can easily quantify the darkness of the marks made by the leads. To do this I drew a line with both leads on Brunnen Der Grüne Block paper, using ~1.2 N of pressure (axial and normal pen force) and moving both pens at ~15 mm per second. I then scanned the result using an Epson V700 scanner, turning auto improvements etc off. In the HSB representation most pixels for both leads had a brightness of between 40% and 60%. If I ever buy other leads, like the Ain Stein leads, to compare these too I might do a frequency analysis of the different levels of black to show the distribution, but I tried to keep this blog post short so didn’t do this as there are so many blog posts to write on my to do list.
To test how hard the lead is, i.e. how long it will last, independent of lead darkness, I extended both leads by ~0.7 mm and drew a lines with both leads on Brunnen Der Grüne Block paper, using ~2N of pressure (axial and normal pen force). The Mars micro lasted about 216 cm, the neox Graphite lasted about 189 cm.
Lead reflectiveness and erasability
I didn’t try to quantify the leads reflectiveness, i.e. how much it reflects light, but if you look at the lead markings on paper at an acute angle when there is a strong light source the Mars micro lead seems to reflect the light a bit more. In terms of erasability the neox Graphite seems to perform slightly better, too.
Pilot’s neox Graphite is a great lead. Depending on where you live it might be hard to get as Pilot doesn’t sell this lead in many of their markets (including the UK). The fact that the Mars micro was able to draw longer lines with the same amount of graphite could indicate that the neox Graphite B is more similar to the Mars micro in 2B, this would not be a surprise as Japanese pencils are often softer than European pencils of the same grade, but I don’t have the leads at home to confirm that this is the case for these leads.
Price and exchange rates: November 2015
I couldn’t find any reviews of the neox Graphite leads in other blogs, but there must be some in Japanese or Korean.
Even though I prefer Star Trek I like Star Wars, as you can see from the Stormtrooper fountain pen post, but at the moment there is so much Star Wars merchandise everywhere here in the UK, it already seems to be getting a bit too much – maybe not so much because of the quantity, but because a lot of it is just same old, same old.
Saying that: it was nice to see that there are quite a few pencils and pencil related items part of the Star Wars stationery range.
Material: Graphite Plus silicon carbide, aluminium oxide and silicon dioxide (according to Lexikaliker).
Further information: Lexikaliker bought this “Mars Tiegel” from the museum of the Graphit Kropfmühl PLC, now part of AMG Mining PLC. Now it’s mine and ever since I got it it is my most treasured pencil pot, storing my ready to be used pencils You can see this pencil pot in the background of the previous pencil pot of the month.. It is made by Aug. Gundlach, who describe their company as one of the world’s leading manufacturers of crucibles According to Wikipedia a crucible can withstand very high temperatures and is used for metal, glass, and pigment production as well as a number of modern laboratory processes.. Apparently clay-graphite crucibles, like this one, are a thing, which means that a clay graphite Graphite has actually been used for thousands of years, i.e. before the famous deposit in Cumbria was discovered in the 16th century. mix is also used for manufacturing items other than pencils.