Right around Christmas I noticed that jetpens.com had discontinued the Pentel Smash, a well known drafting pencil with a unique grip that I had my eye on. Not wanting to miss out on it, I treated myself to it, fearing that at worst it may be discontinued permanently by Pentel or, at best, that it would just need to be ordered from Japan at greater cost.
Pentel Smash Review
Sure enough, when you search for this on Pentel’s official site, it returns no results. jetpens.com told me it had been discontinued and apparently that is the case for the entire manufacturer, not just them! I’m glad I got my hands on this before it went the way of the Dodo.
The body of the Smash appears to be of an all metal construction, with two exceptions: the eraser cap and the rubber nubs on the grip. This pencil has a unique look to it. The eraser cap has what looks like a “spring” design to it’s top, yet it fits smoothly on. It has “0”and “5” in raised rubber with a raised rubber line separating them. This obviously indicates the lead size if you were to be so callous as to store this tip down.
This begs the question for me. Do drafters store their pencils tip down, but perhaps have a block of foam at the bottom of their pencil jars so as not to bend the tips? I wonder if this is just common practice in that profession, or if it is a common cultural expectation of Japan or Germany?
The pocket clip is solid, a little springy, and is a “wrap around” design that covers about three quarters of the shaft, rather than two parts wrapping equally. There is a lead hardness indicator in the middle where the top and bottom separate.
The tip is drafting style and tapers elegantly to the lead sleeve. The grip is very good. I like raised grips, but since I grip my pencils closer to the tip than the middle, these nubs don’t provide as good of a grip for me as other pencils.
The eraser is a standard drafting eraser and you get some bang for your buck. The Smash comes with about two full centimeters of eraser under the cap, more than double what you would typically get in a Pentel.
The lead advance mechanism has the usual, tried-and-true, Pentel quality with seven or so clicks dealing out about 10 mm of lead.
The good: Solid construction and action, all metal body.
The bad: I honestly can’t really think of any bad points other than the non-retractable sleeve. What I’m struggling with is if this pencil is really enough of a leg up on the other drafting pencils that Pentel makes to really justify it being in someone’s pencil case, other than from a pure “collectibility” standpoint. I see it as a “if you have the cash and like to collect, get it before its gone” sort of thing.
The verdict: Later this week I’ll do a revision of my Top Ten. I’m not sure if the Smash is going to make it. Dave (davesmechanicalpencils.blogspot.com) sees something in this one that I don’t. Perhaps it’s just respect for quality craftsmanship and the aesthetics of the design? I certainly don’t regret picking it up, and I will use it. It will certainly be a conversation starter while also retaining all of the Pentel functionality we’ve come to know and love.