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Speaking of mechanical pencils, the Uni Kuru Toga has a nifty little clutch mechanism that rotates the lead a small amount each time it touches the writing surface. This rotation promotes uniform wearing of the pencil lead, and prevents getting the dreaded slanted lead surface, or chisel point, that can either break or give you increasingly wide lines. The rotating pencil lead maintains a sharper point with correspondingly narrower line widths. If you’re scribing a line against a straight or curved edge, you’re not likely to be lifting the pencil and retouching the surface, so the rotation advantages won’t apply in this case (unless, of course, you make a dashed line). In typical writing applications, however, it works very well, and it’s neat to watch the rotation mechanism in action when you touch the paper.

The Uni Kuru Toga is available for $7 (both 0.3mm and 0.5mm).

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5 Responses to It’s Just Cool: Kuru Toga Pencil

  1. Ron says:

    Back in the old days, you were taught in drafting class to rotate your pencil when you drew a line. It works with a straight edge too. Another skill replaced by plastic and CAD

  2. bob says:

    My grandchildren “recognize” my “mad” printing skils.

  3. Bob says:

    I got one on a recent trip to Japan. I’d read about it on another blog. It works well if you tend to write with the pencil more vertical and with some pressure. I tend to write/draw with pencil at a less than 45° angle and not much pressure. Under those conditions there isn’t enough force to activate the mechanism. I find myself holding the pencil to suit it. With a regular mechanical pencil, I’m old school and I rotate the pencil in my hand.

  4. Geoff K. says:

    I don’t understand the need for the clutch in this pencil. The reason for the different lead thicknesses is so that there is no need to rotate the pencil when drawing. To get different line thicknesses one would use pencils with different sized leads. If you want a 0.3mm line, use the 0.3mm pencil. For a 0.5mm line, use the 0.5mm pencil. Rotating a drafting pencil is only required with a lead that is much thicker than the line to be drawn. Then, it’s not only rotation but pressure, as well.

    It’s a thing of beauty to watch a trained draftsman draw by hand.

  5. Cameron Watt says:

    When I learned how to draft we used a 2mm mechanical pencil and woe to he who used anything else; twisting the pencil was essential for good looking lines.

    Were any of you guys allowed to use a variety of pencils in school?

    We were allowed to write with whatever we wanted and for that 0.5mm mechnical pencils were the most popular. I’ve never seen a sharpener for a 0.5 pencil and they’re too thick as they are for most line drawing.

    Bob: great review.

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