October 31, 2013

Drafting Pencils! Pentel P205, Pilot S10, and Staedtler 925-35

My FPAD (fountain pen acquisition disorder) has settled down somewhat, but I've been slowly collecting more mechanical drafting pencils to add to my quiver. I wanted to try some pencils that I've seen and read about (other than the Pentel Sharp Kerry and the Pentel Graph 1000 For Pro). I admit that I went a little overboard and, in a moment of geekness, ordered three pencils from a Japanese vendor: Pentel P205; Staedtler 925-35; and Pilot S10 (shown left to right in the following picture).

Three Of A Perfect Pair
I bought the P205 for nostalgic reasons, as this is the classic mechanical pencil that I used during high school, college, on the job, etc. It's a great design, and it works great, too. I got this pencil in the 0.5 mm size, and in a special colorway that looks like carbon fiber.

The Classic P205
I ordered the Staedtler primarily because Dave ranks it in his top ten. I had to see for myself. I opted for the navy blue version, also in the 0.5 mm size. The size is conspicuously marked on the end of the eraser cap, which is great unless you are a free spirit who likes "points up" in your pencil cup.

Staedtler 925-35
The fit and finish of the Staedtler 925-35 is really nice. The knurling at the business end is nearly perfect, and the chrome accents look great against the blue body. The pocket clip is sturdy, with a good amount of tension. The lead hardness indicator near the knurling is a nice touch (it has selections for 3H, 2H, H, F, HB, B, and 2B).

Staedtler 925-35
I got the Pilot S10 for its eye candy appeal, and because it also gets good reviews. Pilot's S10 line is color-coded according to the lead size. Fashion trumped function in this case, and I ordered the red translucent body (which just happened to be a 0.4 mm size). This pencil looks spectacular, worthy of prominent display in a pencil cup. There is a large grip section with fine knurling on it. It's not as grippy as the knurling on the Staedtler, but it is still effective.

Pilot Makes Good Pencils, Too
Like the Staedtler, the S10 has an obvious lead size marking on the eraser cap, as shown below. The cap also serves as the lead hardness indicator, which has selections for 2H, H, F, HB, B, and 2B. The pocket clip is sturdy and strong, and its brushed silver finish pairs well with the other accents on the S10.

Pilot S10
All three of these pencils work great. I don't use the Pentel P205 that much because I consider it to be more of a souvenir than an everyday writing instrument. The grip section of the Pilot S10 is noticeably thicker than the grip section of the Staedtler 925-35 (I don't own calipers; not that much of a dork).

S10, P205, 925-35
I do own a digital scale - the P205 weighs 9.2 grams, the S10 weighs 19.7 grams, and the 925-35 weighs 16.8 grams (all with several leads installed). I realize that the S10 may be too beefy for extended drafting or sketching sessions, but I typically only use it for short periods of time. If I had to choose only one of these to write with, it would be the Staedtler 925-35. If I had to pick one to look at, the Pilot S10 wins.

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