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The Pencil is Dead - Long live the .9mm


I'm not sure who uses pencils any more. I see architects sketching in pen and drafting with computers. But there are some who still use pencils once in a while. I'm one of them. My personal favorite is the blue one in the photo above. The Kohi-i-noor .9mm pencil is built to last a lifetime, but I've used and lost more than one.

There are a couple of obvious advantages to 0.9mm lead over 0.5mm lead. The first is that it is less likely to break. The first mechanical pencils used 0.9mm lead for this reason. Now that there are "polymer" based leads (instead of clay) this is not quite as big a problem as it used to be, but it is still important.

The second advantage is that 0.9mm allows a greater range of line widths. Most people who use pencils are probably unaware that a pencil can be turned as you use it to give different results. For example If you are trying to draw a straight constant width line you rotate it at a constant rate while you are moving the pencil parallel to the length of the pencil. By changing the angle of the pencil and how much of it you wear off in one spot you can draw anything from the lightest thinnest line to one very thick and bold or even create a line which starts thick and finishes thin The koh-i-noor is a great pencil in this regard as the thick, knurled cylindrical barrel gives more control than most other mechanical pencils.

There are cheaper pencils and more expensive pencils, but the money spent on this one is well spent.

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  • Comments (3)


    You're page is the only response when I google this pencil. Any idea where to get some?

    Jason, I looked around and it seems the new version of this pencil is not built like the old ones were. I'm off to find a new brand. I can only recommend the ones made several years ago. -Jack

    I have a question:

    I have a question about these pencils...I want to buy one, but I don';t know where can I buy them in Toronto..

    Ben Hogan:

    I use the dark blue Koh-I-Noor Rapidomatic .09mm pencil exclusivly in my line of work. I'm down to my last two. Where can I buy some more? I bought 10 of them a couple of years ago, but can't remember the online office supply I bought them through. Any help out there?


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    This is a single article from STUFF dated August 11, 2006.

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