In doing research for my pencils blog post, I started to get intrigued by mechanical pencils made for drafters. So, yesterday when I was out with my wife , I stopped at a Blick Art Store and perused their drafting pencils.
I went into the store with my eye on the Pentel Sharp p205, recommended by the Mechanical Pencil guy. The cool thing about an art store is that they have piles of these pencils and you can actually hold them in your hand and take them apart. You aren’t stopped by a package.
It isn’t that I didn’t like the p205. I liked another brand and model much better. My winner is the Alvin Draft-Tec Retrac.
Good looking pencil, retracted:
Eraser in cap:
I love the grip on this pencil and that is what sold me. The p205 was nice, but the grip near the bottom is made of molded hard plastic, not rubber, like this model. I prefer the rubber:
The only downside of this pencil is that they didn’t have refill erasers at Blick that were specifically designed for this model. The good news is that the Pentel refills that they had, while not designed for this pencil, will fit in it. Worst case I just split them in half and they’ll fit.
The price was 10 USD, which is more than the p205, but the fact that the tip can be retracted on this one makes it the better choice for pocket carrying and portability.
As far as I’ve read, Alvin pencils only retail in the US or online.
Update after a few weeks of use: I’ve really gotten into investigating mechanical pencil options over the last few weeks. I still like this pencil. The only other criticism I’d add is that it is pretty weighty, and with extended use could result in some hand fatigue. I have a Pentel GraphGear 1000 on the way and just picked up a Uni Kuru Toga on sale at Office Max. I’ll update with a full review of all soon.