Tag Archives: Ohto

Review: Ohto Horizon “Needle” Point Pen

My feelings on this pen are really really mixed. I’ll do my usual start with the good then tell you about the bad.

I’m required to use black ink for the clinical notes at my internship. as far as pen use for reviews go, it’s an ideal location. I write, a lot, every day that I’m there. The location is mostly paper based, and most of my notes are done on good old paper forms. My supervisor required black ink, which she states is a legal thing, but is really a matter of preference and professionalism.* I’m not suggesting I’d like to write in teal sparkly ink** but merely pointing out that I go through a ton of black ink. I blew through the included OHTO cart as if it never existed. I’ve since worked on hacking the pen and all the photos include the hacked carts and NOT the original “needle” point refill.Ohto Horizon

The Ohto 0.5mm cart was decent, but hardly a needle point. It is called a needle point not because it’s super thin, but because of how it’s shaped, slightly deceptive. It writes well enough, but it is a typical oil based roller ball ink. Pretty standard.

The pen itself is solid metal that is lightweight but not too light. It is actually pretty comfortable to use for longer form writing. It is metal and paint, so if you sweat as you write you might find it slippery, if like me you have dry hands, it’s fine. It looks as though it is made of brass, which is then enameled with really nice metallic colors. It is pretty. all the colors I looked at were nice. I picked up the dark teal because I’m a fan of teal. The nock, clip, and tip are all chromed. The nock and tip are made of machined brass which is then chrome coated. The knock is satisfying and makes a nice clicking noise when depressed. The point is retracted by pressing a small side button near the logo. Over all it’s not bad, in theory.20160131_145714

Onto the bad now. The nock makes an awful grinding metal on metal noise if it’s twisted around. Think nails on a chalk board. Yeesh. Awful. If you use replacement Ohto refills the tip of the refill rattles around in the tip as you write and is annoying. The clip is a piece of shite. Initially the clip is too tight to clip to anything, even the lapel and pocket of a thin dress shirt. Eventually, it stretches out to clip to anything, and then the pen fall off your lapel and into the sink as you wash your hands.*** I suspect that the clip will soon break off the pen and be more useless than it is now. Another point of frustration, the tip unscrews as I walk and use it. I find myself needing to tighten it repeatedly over the course of a day. This is ridiculous. I’ve tightened the tip with a rubber band to get extra grip, and even a pair of pliers. No go, the threads are just not machined well.

You can see the hacked Dr Grip refill here.

You can see the hacked Dr Grip refill here.

To solve the problem of the oddly priced refills I immediately tried to see what refills I can stuff into this baby. I found that with a minimal amount of work, including using a file to grind out the tip to accommodate the thicker refill, cutting 5mm off the spring, and chopping a piece off the refill that I can use a Pilot Dr. Grip gel ink refill. This is far too much work for a pen that is going to fall apart pretty quickly. Sure it’s pretty, but it’s not great.Ohto Horizon

This pen suffers from what I describe as Ohto’s half assing everything. Ohto has some seriously pretty products but they ridiculously half ass their products. This could be  a great pen and sell for a few bucks more if they machined the threads for the tip better, machined the tip itself better, used a better nock, and didn’t put on a cheap BIC clic clip. I get compliments on this pen all the time, people like it. I was drawn to how it looked and then realized it was an Ohto and almost put it back. Except it’s soooo pretty, that color and the hexagonal to round body. It is all so nice, except they just execute it badly. This isn’t the only time I’ve been burned by a REALLY  pretty Ohto product- remember that pretty pretty lead holder that looked like a #2 fat pencil? Again loose manufacturing tolerances with lot’s of slop lead to rattling that drives me nuts.Ohto Horizon

I picked up this pen at a Japanese gift shop in Cambridge, MA for $9.99.

Addendum: I’ve been using this pen consistently at my internship now for quite a few weeks. It’s comfortable and does the job. Hacked with e DR Grip refill, it writes quite nicely. The Clip has loosened to the point that I no longer clip it to my lapel or into my pocket. The knock has also gotten sloppier as I’ve used it. Some point in the near future the clip will fall off, there is no if but only when. Additionally, the nock also feels as though it is near failure. The small button used to retract the tip becomes crooked in use, and there is no reason for  it to do so. I suspect that the nock will seize.

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Review: Ohto Sharp Pencil 2.0mm

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.Sharp Pencil 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.Sharp Pencil Sharp Pencil

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.Sharp Pencil Sharp Pencil

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.Sharp Pencil

Sharp Pencil

Stupid high clip.

Sharp Pencil

stupid high clip, next to the Twist BP, which sits super low.

Sharp Pencil 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.