The Ohto Sharp Pencil caught my eye when I stepped into Black Ink in Cambridge, MA. It’s bright yellow body is roughly the size of a Musgrave ChooChoo or My First Ticonderoga, but instead of being round, it’s hexagonal. The hex sides are rounded enough to be comfortable for long periods of writing. It’s short size fits perfectly in my hand. It’s mostly very comfortable. I’ll get to my personal issues at the end but over all, this lead holder is super comfortable. The wooden body is lightweight and around the same weight as a regular pencil. I cannot determine if it is made of cedar or not, my sniffer is in allergy hell. It dents easily so it is a softer wood. The denting issue is par for the course with wooden lead holders. Mine is bright chrome yellow, the same shade as the school bus I rode as a child. I love this shade of yellow on pencils. I just makes me happy. The lacquer is thick and glossy. The pencil is also available in black, natural, and green. Black Ink only had the natural and the classic yellow while I was there. I was able to find the other colors via Amazon.
The knock holds an eraser and delivers 1.5mm of lead with a soft click. The eraser is… Awful. It smears and gets dirty and is gross feeling. It is replaceable and slides out with ease. I’ll be picking up a Pearl to cut to fit. This brings me to my second gripe. When the pencil arrived the knock was loose and rattled around. It made using the lead holder annoying. Every stroke of the pencil caused it to rattle. The metal on metal noise drove me batshit. This was easily remedied with a thin piece of scotch tape. I cut a piece of satin scotch tape to 3mm in height and then wrapped it around the base of the knock, with one wrap. The tape stays hidden. This stops the knock from making the metal on metal rattle but it does still move about. I attempted the surgery with washi which was too thick. Another partial wrap of scotch tape would likely cease the movement altogether but cause the knock to be sluggish when depressed.
Another issue with this lead holder is that the mechanism does not hold the lead tightly enough to sharpen the lead in the holder with ease. So you either have to remove the whole lead or grip the knock and the body at the same time to stop the lead and clutch mechanism from rotating. The weird thing is, it doesn’t always do this. Sometimes, it sharpens just fine, and others it just catches and spins.
My final gripe with this lead holder is the clip. It is available without, and really, you should not get the clip. It sits too far down on the lead holder to be of use when clipping the pencil to a notebook, leaving a good inch and a half of overhang over the top of your notebook. Which leaves the knock vulnerable to being lost. The clip also pokes into the soft tender bit of my hand between my thumb and index finger. I found this quite irritating both in feel and to my skin, it left a red patch. Fortunately, even if you do buy the model with a clip, it is easily removed. The models without a clip are a few dollars cheaper.
Once the issue of the knock being noisy was taken care of and the clip was removed, I really liked this pencil for long form writing. The Ohto lead it arrives with is okay, but it will hold any 2mm lead. The comfort of this fat little lead holder is quite nice. It also travels quite well in a pocket. It is also relatively inexpensive when ordered via amazon. While it has a few glaring issues that could have been easily solved by Ohto, the worst being the weird clutch and the knock’s noisiness. This seems to be an Ohto thing… To not fix simple issues with their products. I’ve read a great deal of reviews of Ohto products to have one or two simple to fix issues make it through design and preproduction and land in the final product. It’s kinda sad, because they make a lot of really nice stuff that just, sort of, fails at being perfect.