Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sun-Star Knock Free Sharp Mechanical Pencil and the SharPits 2.0 mm leadholder video review

George from the My Supply Room blog generously send me a couple of his extra pencils from his latest Jet Pens order: the green Sun-Star Knock Free 0.7 mm HB Sharp Mechanical Pencil and the black Sun-Star SharPits 2.0 mm B leadholder. Thanks again George!
The Sun-Star Knock Free 0.7 mm Sharp Mechanical Pencil was made in Taiwan, and I had to play around with it a bit to figure out how it works and how to refill it. While it might look just like your regular yellow No. 2 pencil, it is made entirely out of plastic with an automatic-advance mechanism that uses 0.7 mm graphite leads. You can view my video review for both items here.
Considering that we are dealing with a value-priced Chinese plastic leadholder, I was pleasantly surprised to discover a metal clutch mechanism after unscrewing the front conical cover inside the SharPits.
The 3 metal jaws hold the 2.0 mm lead securely and prevent it from rattling. The SharPits felt quite precise and easy to control while drawing, and its included B lead was smooth, dark, and quite smudge resistant for such a soft graphite grade.
The non-replaceable pink eraser on the Knock Free Sharp Pencil cap does a fair job in removing graphite from the paper in a pinch, but it would be advisable to rely on a dedicated vinyl eraser instead to preserve the pencil's pristine look.
Sample doodles on Rhodia dotPad paper. The Knock Free Sharp Pencil automatically advances its lead, but its tip tends to drag when the lead grows short and the plastic sleeve starts rubbing against the paper. Though the lead can be advanced a bit manually by pushing down on the black plastic sleeve around the exposed lead if you don't like the speed of its automatic advance feature. Personally I have yet to meet a mechanical pencil with an automatic advance mechanism that I like, for I did not care for the Kuru-Toga or the Faber Castell Grip-matic 1375 either. I suppose the auto-advance feature would be more appreciated by people that use their pencils more for writing, but I just find them annoying when attempting to sketch quickly with them. While not certain about the durability of either pencil, they are both inexpensive and should perform well enough to meet a child's writing and drawing needs during a school term.

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