Nail-gun-sharpening discontinued glow-in-the-dark pencils 1

What an odd blog post title, but it’s just about a few things worth mentioning that didn’t make it into their own blog posts. You might have already seen some on Bleistift’s Facebook page.


Pilot 78G

It’s quite sad to read that the Pilot 78G has been discontinued. I have been using one for a while and really like it. There were rumours about it being discontinued for a while, but it now seems to have come true. You can still get them cheap on eBay, especially the ones with M or B nibs.

Image from ebay seller currycurrysing

Image from ebay seller currycurrysing

I just bought a blue one with a fine nib. More expensive than many other 78Gs, but still not more expensive than a Lamy Safari.


Roald Dahl

Bruce send me this link to a video where Roald Dahl, probably most famous for his books for children, talks about sharpening pencils.

Nail Gun

A very different way of sharpening pencils: a nail gun with a built-in pencil sharpener on Reddit.


Glow-in-the-dark pencil

I wish our city had a store like that (Image © Karrot Entertainment)

I wish our city had a store like that (Image © Karrot Entertainment)

When our little one was watching CeeBeebies I noticed that the episode of Sarah & Duck he was watching also had some content for stationery fans. It was about a glow-in-the-dark pencil.

Glow-in-the-dark pencils (Image © Karrot Entertainment)

Glow-in-the-dark pencils (Image © Karrot Entertainment)

I believe that the use of the eBay image and the images shown in this blog post, taken from the third episode pf the third season of Sarah & Duck, falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.

Sliding sleeves, Kuru Togas, DelGuards and more 1

Just a few small points I want to mention:

Sliding sleeve

I have created a table showing some of the sliding sleeve pencils and the force needed to slide the sleeve. I have averaged the values displayed in previous blog posts, just to make the table sortable. I plan to add the Orenz in 0.3 and the M9 to this table very soon.

Speaking of the Orenz, there’s a new Metal Grip version of the Orenz.

Kuru Toga

I have also ordered the new sliding sleeve version of the Kuru Toga. I did learn some Japanese in the 90s, but all I remember is some Katakana characters. Just enough to figure out that this version of the Kuru Toga is called “Pipe Slide”. Michael Fryda has published a video review of this pencil.

There is also a limited Adidas edition of the Kuru Toga. There used to be a Faber-Castell and Adidas cooperation in the past, not surprising as they are both from the Nuremberg area, but now Adidas seems to cooperate with Uni Mitsubishi Pencil.

Speaking of the Kuru Toga: M&G seems to offer a Kuru Toga copy, the AMP89202, but I haven’t seen it in reality, so I am not sure whether it is functional or only copies the look, not the functionality of the Kuru Toga.


One last point to mention, I noticed that two weeks after my DelGuard blog post and its video Zebra published a video that seems somehow similar – featuring the new 0.3 mm and 0.7 mm version of the DelGuard. There’s not as much information about the force needed in the video, but they have proper equipment to take close-ups, so it looks much better. Have a look at their video.

Wooden paper

One last thing I came across: Kizara memo pads, instead of paper they use wood shavings. Reminds me of the wooden Field Notes cover.

Pilot neox Graphite

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.

I bought my neox Graphite leads from eBay for $2.80 plus 50¢ postage, i.e. $3.30 (~£2.20; €3.10) including shipping. They came from Taiwan and took about a week to get to me.

Pilot S20 and Staedtler Mars micro

The pencils

Filling the pencils

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.

Lead darkness

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.

Pilot neox Graphite and Staedtler Mars micro leads

The leads

Lead hardness

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 neox Graphite and Staedtler Mars micro leads

The lines


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.

Lexikaliker mentioned the neox Grpahite leads in his Sonderanfertigung blog post.

In his blog Dave talked about the Ain Stein leads I mentioned in the beginning.

Johanna Basford, the artist behind the immensely successful colouring books is using a Staedtler Mars micro in one of her latest blog posts.

If you want to see another mechanical pencil video from me have a look at this Zebra Delguard blog post.

The sliding sleeve and the Pilot Color Eno 4

Comparison of force needed with different sliding sleeve pencils

Comparison of force needed for different sliding sleeve pencils

Recently I ordered a set of seven Pilot Color Eno mechanical pencils. One reason why I bought them was that I wanted to try them for a long time: Last year I asked Fudepens to put one for me aside, so that I can get it when they get the Orenz again, but somehow they didn’t get more Orenz pens and postage-wise it wasn’t worth ordering the Color Eno by itself.


Another reason was that they were very cheap. On eBay I paid $19.99 (~£12.80; €18.20) for seven Color Eno pencils and seven packs of coloured leads – including free postage. I ordered them on 25 July and already got them on 31 July, despite them having had to travel around the globe from Hong Kong to the UK.

Sliding sleeve and coloured leads

The reason why I wanted to try the Color Eno for a long time is its sliding sleeve, more about these in one of my previous blog posts ((I thought I found out about the Color Eno on Lexikaliker’s blog, but couldn’t find it when I looked again. )). I sometimes use coloured pencil leads at work. One of my dedicated pencils for coloured leads was a Faber-Castell Grip Matic (the auto advancing kind). If you know how to use it it was fine, but every time a colleague would grab it to write with it they would break the soft coloured leads and generally clog the Grip Matic up. An easy to handle mechanical pencil for coloured leads did therefore sound like a really good idea.

The five different sliding sleeve pencils I have compared

The five different sliding sleeve pencils I have compared

First impressions Color Eno

My first impressions of the Color Eno are not so positive. It is a nice pencil in itself, with such a close similarity to the Super Grip1 (both from Pilot), but the feature I wanted it for, the sliding sleeve, doesn’t work for me. It does work for me when I use the Super Grip, though2. The sleeve doesn’t slide back when I write. It might work for others, especially if you hold your pen in a vertical or near vertical position. My first idea was that this is because or a combination of force needed to push the sleeve back and sleeve thickness. After comparing the Color Eno to other sliding sleeve pencils I think the thickness of the Color Eno‘s sleeve doesn’t really matter that much.

The Color Eno's sleeve doesn't glide back so after a while you write on the sleeve. Not so with the Orenz.

The Color Eno’s sleeve doesn’t glide back so after a while you write on the sleeve. Not so with the Orenz.


A little warning regarding my chart: I have neither the training, nor experience, nor the equipment to take these measurements properly, so you better take these measurements with a pinch of salt, or even better with a whole lorryload full of salt.

Comparison of force needed for different sliding sleeve pencils

Comparison of force needed for different sliding sleeve pencils

The Pentel Orenz works with 0.2 mm leads. The sleeve has an other diameter of ~0.6 mm. You need less than 1 cN to slide the sleeve. You might have read from Lexikaliker that the Orenz will be available in Germany from autumn 2015. The good news is that the Orenz will officially come to the UK, too. From January 2016 it will be available in 0.2 mm and 0.3 mm.

The Staedtler Microfix works with 0.5 mm leads. The sleeve has an other diameter of ~1 mm. It is not being manufactured anymore. You need less than 5 cN to slide the sleeve.

The Pilot Super Grip works with 0.5 mm leads. The sleeve has an other diameter of ~1 mm. You need less than 2 dN to slide the sleeve. My version was bought nearly 15 years ago, so I am not sure whether the current version needs the same force to slide the sleeve.

The Pilot Color Eno works with 0.7 mm leads. The sleeve has an other diameter of ~1.1 mm. You need about 6 – 8 dN to slide the sleeve (different force needed on the different versions I have of this pencil).

The Caran d’Ache 844 works with 0.7 mm leads. The sleeve has an other diameter of ~1.05 mm. You need about 1 N to slide the sleeve.

Price: July 2015

Exchange rates: August 2015

More about the Color Eno on Sola’s Blog.


  1. It didn’t realise this when I saw pictures of the Color Eno. I only noticed it now that I have it in my hands []
  2. The Super Grip must have been the first mechanical pencil I bought after I arrived in the UK in 2001. It has been available since the 1990s. The Super Grip Neon was released in 2014. []

Pilot S20, 0.3mm, dark brown 9


s20-bodyHow could I resist… I never had much of a chance, did I?

…not with Gunther touting his readers with his beautiful S20, again and again and again.

I gave in…


If you click to enlarge you will notice tiny dents that must have occurred during manufacturing

…and bought the S20 in dark brown and in 0.3mm from WAKU1(Japan Store) for £13.52 (~$20.80; €18.20), including postage. I got it twelve days later. A great price, especially when keeping in mind that it costs more than twice as much in the UK (because it is imported) and you will have problems finding the 0.3mm version. I bought from WAKU1 in the past, but more about that in a future blog post.

The wood of the pen is beautiful and reminds me of the ONLINE All Wood Marone.


Pilot is a bit optimistic though, offering an F in their lead grade indicator. Is there an 0.3mm lead in F? When I see F it’s usually for 0.5mm.

Please let me know if you know of a 0.3mm lead in F – I do prefer harder leads, so F would be great, even though I have to say the 0.3mm leads you get with many Faber-Castell pencils are a bit too hard and too light for my taste.


Price and exchange rates: February 2015