Tag Archives: mechanical pencil

Review: Zebra Delguard Mechanical Pencil

Let’s start this review with this fact, the Zebra Delguard is a budget-friendly mechanical pencil. It is no way competes with great mechs like the Rotring 600 or TWSBI Precision. If you are looking for a wallet-friendly upgrade from your Bic Mechanical, this is a good choice. The pencil comes packaged with a 12-pack of HB leads.

First off in the look department, this pencil is a charcoal gray and black pencil with chrome and orange accents. The top half of the body has a pinstripe visual look that seems as if it is intended to look like carbon fiber or something a little fancier. It looks pretty nice. The grip section is molded smoke-colored translucent plastic. You can see the workings of the DelGuard mechanism inside. The nock and the point are the only external metal parts of the pencil. The nock covers a tiny niblet of an eraser, so carry a block eraser. Internally you can see springs in the DelGuard mechanism. A single click extends 0.5mm of lead every time.

A big negative for me is that there is no way to unscrew the pencil should the mechanism jam, you are in a word, screwed, should the pencil jam up. That said, it’s a $4.99 mech readily available at big box, drug, and grocery stores; most likely you won’t cry if it gets jammed you’ll have the funds to buy a new one.

In hand this is a VERY lightweight pencil. It’s a barely there feeling that I expected to hate, but I didn’t. I wrote page after page and enjoyed it far more than I expected. It felt good despite weighing so little.

As for the mechanism, it works. When the lead is extended at a typical amount the little tip pushes out and protects the lead. At a high angle or a low angle, it works. The only time it broke in regular use was when I extended the lead more than 2mm, even then you could see the tip beginning to extend to protect the lead. The key to the DelGuard mechanism working properly is extending the right amount of lead at a time. And it does work. When I wrote with a heavy hand the tip extended.

The included lead is a true HB. It’s decent on rough paper but is nothing to write home about. I did find it decently smooth, though not as smooth as NanoDia leads.

My experience with the DelGuard is positive. I’m encouraged by how well the mechanism works on their lowest end version of this mech. It makes me want to invest in a higher end version from JetPens. If I had a teenager or friend who I was attempting to get them away from disposable mechanicals this would be a fabulous cheap option.

Jetpens has a bunch of higher end options which are still south of $15.

Review: Ohto Sharp Pencil 0.5 Mechanical

The Ohto Sharp Pencil (OSP form here) is wood cased with lovely cedar and designed to look like a standard number 2 pencil. The design mostly works, with a few little details that could work better.

First, let me tell you about the good parts of the OSP. The wood casing is the size of a regular number two pencil. It is lightly varnished with a clear satin finish. The imprint is black, crisp and looks fabulous. The “ferrule” is silver aluminum but is also available in brass, but more about that later. Seated in the ferrule is a cup, with a standard pink eraser.

At the working end, the pencil features a small brass cone and guide. If your pencil gets jammed up with broken leads you are SOL, the tip cannot be unscrewed to be cleared. I tried and the tip did not budge no matter how much I attempted to remove it. The interior mechanism appears to be made with a combination of metal and plastic. For less than $5 this is to be expected. Ohto makes a higher end version with a brass colored ferrule and no eraser. The interior appeared to be the same as the cheaper version, the big difference is the lack of eraser and brass coloration.

I find that the mechanism to work well. Leads deploy at roughly 0.5mm per click and the click while soft is satisfying. The supplied lead is smooth and appears to be a hard HB. I swapped mine out with some NanoDia in 2B which works wonderfully in this pencil.

The OSP 0.5 mechanical suffers from the same issues as the Ohto Sharp Pencil 2.0 mm, in that the eraser cup floats around in the ferrule and clicks as you write. The 2.0 mm version has a very small amount of room and required a quick wrap of sticky tape to solve the metal on metal click. The OSP has a larger amount of room and required a wrap with washi tape to solve the issue.

This points out a regular issue I have with many Ohto products- their half-assing their design and production. Ohto puts out lovely, really nice designs that fall flat in production values. This design is lovely, but the rattling of the eraser cup in the ferrule is beyond annoying. Solving this issue is as simple as a wrap of tape around the cup, but Ohto could solve the issue by inserting a plastic sleeve into the ferrule. I get that they are attempting to get their products into a certain price point (affordable/cheap) but I’d gladly pay an extra buck for this pencil without the issue. Let’s face it several other companies have made wood-cased mechanical pencils at much higher price points.

Overall, if you love wood-cased pencils and mechanicals this is a nice mashup, especially for $5. Does it perform as well as my Rotring 600? No, but I’m not going to use it for anything but notes and writing, not draughting fancy plans. Continue reading