Thursday, May 18, 2006

Pentel Sharp P205 Mechanical Pencil Review

Pentel P205 Sharp Mechanical Pencil Review

pentel p205 mechanical pencil plus accessories
When I first started learning mechanical drawing, my classmates and I nearly all used the Pentel P205 because it was the mechanical pencil sold by the school stationary supply shop. Class upon class of budding little Kiwi engineers were raised on the P205, and so, at least in my part of the woods, Pentels claim that the P205 is “The #1-selling automatic drafting pencil and the industry standard” was unquestionably true. I am sure that it is the mechanical pencil that I and my contemporaries will forever judge all others against. I haven’t really worked as an engineer for many years and it’s quite a long time since I last picked up my P205. I spent the review week in a pleasantly nostalgic mood, remembering the times when I had a real engineering job in a factory – helping design products, tooling, jigs and fixtures, and so on. My mood was helped along by the coincidence that the very week that I was using my Pentel P205 was the week that the Pencil Revolution posted their interview with pencil hero Henry Petroski, who it turns out is also a user of the P205.

But enough of all this nostalgia - on with the real stuff. The Pentel P200 series of mechanical pencils come in a variety of colours and lead sizes p205 p207 and p209 mechanical pencils– The P205 (black) is 0.5mm, P207 (blue) is 0.7mm and the P209 (yellow) is… yes, you guessed it, 0.9mm. The P205 has a plastic body with metal trims. The plastic is a hard shiny material, very abrasion and impact resistant. The body is twelve sided – a rod of dodecahedral cross-section slightly tapering towards the tip. But in the middle, two faces are sort of joined into one where “Pentel” and the model information are printed on, so it’s a mixed eleven and twelve sided rod. At about 8mm across the faces in the grip section it is on the lower limit of my preferred size range. The grip section is grooved for improved grip, and is effective. Being a slim plastic design, it is a relatively lightweight but well balanced pencil. The pocket clip is a good strong metal clip which works well, but it can slip out of its recessed section and so twist around or slide up and down. It’s a minor point, but it can be a little annoying.

The lead holding sleeve is a 4mm long fixed metal sleeve - the ultimate for draughting and pocket stabbing! Give it half a chance and this baby will punch through and stab you quick as a wink. I do know some people have complained that the long sleeve can become bent over time, but I’ve never had that problem. I guess if you keep throwing your pencil into a pencil mug with a hard base then the sleeve could suffer some damage. But the long sleeve really is great for drawing and template work.

The push top ratchet mechanism is a fairly stiff “positive” one, which I like. The mechanism only advances the lead a very short distance for each activation – about ¼ to ½ less than many other brands of pencils, and some non-draughting Pentels. There is a small eraser under the cap which is better than nothing, but not by much. If you wear it right down you can have trouble getting it out to refill the lead magazine. There is also a lead clearing needle under the eraser, not that I’ve ever had to use it. The top cap is a tight fit over the eraser so you often advance the lead when pushing it back on.

I really like the look of the P205 in black - the black body, chrome pentel p205 mechanical pencil trimstrims and proudly marked “0.5mm Pentel P205” are a true classic look. This pencil reminds me of why I like Pentel – it’s not the fanciest, but it’s a good, solid, reliable instrument that just shouts out “efficiency”, “no-nonsense” and “I’m the pencil of real engineers”, and maybe architects too, but I’m not sure about that.
  • Best Points – In black it’s a true cool calculating classic look, with a real engineering lead sleeve.
  • Not So Good Points – The lead sleeve is not retractable.
  • Price Range – Low.
Dimensions – Length 142mm, diameter 9mm across faces. Balance point about 70mm up from the tip.

A long time ago, my P205 had a lot of input into the metal sheathed heating element inside this electric kettle. It was a good design, made for one of those rare customers – you know, the kind that was actually prepared to pay for what they wanted. Not rip-off expensive or anything, but they wanted a reliable element that would last a long time, would automatically switch off when the water boiled, and cut-out if there was no water. These days of course it’s made in China, not like in my day when we exported elements to China! Back then Chinese elements were rubbish, but times have changed.

138 comments:

Anonymous said...

Last time I checked, P205 pencils were made in Japan; however, I may be mistaken.

Anonymous said...

You missed the fact that Pentel makes the P203 which is a .3 lead pencil. I love the .3s for the fine lines they make, Japan seems the last bastion of this lead size.

kiwi-d said...

Fair enough, although really I was just listing the specific pencils I personally had and was showing in the picture. But I should have mentioned the P203.

Yes, 0.3mm does seem to be in decline these days. Almost as if 0.3mm was the ultimate in thinness but now the pendulum is swinging back the other way to thicker leads. I am sure 0.7mm is increasing, and 0.9mm, 1.3mm, 1.4mm, etc are on the up too, I think.

Anonymous said...

Very good description, i am also a fan of this particular model, do u know which model is currently replacing this one? P225?

kiwi-d said...

Gulp...replacing the P205? I didn't know it was on the way out. It's still on the pentel.com website. Is this some misunderstanding between us?

lockheed123 said...

I actually came across the P203 today in a stationary warehouse - or actually more like a unorganised gem shop. Thry had loads of p205/3/2 and also a white one which I forgot the model of but it had an extra bit on the barrel which said 'for film'. The lead was very dark and the metal sleeve was somehow able to extend.
There was also a berol mechanical pencil which looked almost identical to the P205 apart from that the grip looked different. The shop owner said that the P205 was made and modelled AFTER the Berol model. Do you know anything about this? The packaging certainly did look very old and old fashioned

kiwi-d said...

Hi lockheed123.
Well no, I don't know anything about that in particular. I'm unaware of any Berol products at all ever having made it to my part of the world, so I'm generally unfamiliar with them.

What I can say is that the Pentel Sharp P203/5/7/9 pencils have been around for a long time, as in pre 1980, so if they copied Berol, that must be an even older one. Also since Pentel were basically one of the world leaders in modern thin lead pencils I'd be surprised if they copied anyone, but then back in the 70's the stereotype of many Japanese prodcuts was that they were just "copies" of the real thing. So who knows.

Was your retailer old enough to have been retailing in the 1970's when the alleged Pentel copy first arrived in his store?

Figue said...

It's my favorite mechanical pencil so far, it's a shame it's not longer, everything else is perfectly designed no question about it, I really like that groove at the start of the nose where the plastic meets the metal its so ingeniuos and it works really great!

Séamas said...

Apparently, Pentel doesn't make the P203 anymore! It's not listed on their site.

I am quite ticked off about this. The P-series are my favorite automatic drafting pencils, and I need the .3mm lead for my calligraphy work. What have they done? What have they done?!?

Grrrrrrr....

If you like the P203, write to Pentel at pr@pentel.com and let them know your feelings.

Séamas said...

A clarification, if anyone cares: apparently the P203s are just not available in the U.S.

They are in various UK, Canadian, Australian, and other overseas stores. They are listed at the pentel.au site, and the pentel.co.uk site.

Slán go fóill

Anonymous said...

The P205s are awesome. I have been using mine for years and it hasn't failed me yet. I have tried all of them (.5, .7, and .9) but not the .3. Might have to give that a shot.

Anonymous said...

man I love the internet --- a pencil fan site wow..

Anyway I am not a draftsman but I too like the p205 and related series.

I have use them since college and I can't even think strait with out one in my hand. I have noticed howwever that the newer version does not seem to have the clearing tool in the eraser like the first ones I got back in college. I found this site becuse I have mislaid a few of my P205's and may need to buy a few more.

I do so love the internet...

Anonymous said...

man I love the internet --- a pencil fan site wow..

Yeah, I know exactly what you mean, I ran into this site from precisely the same reasons.

Anyways, it turns out I still had my old p205, but the tip was broken. I decided to test Pentel's lifetime warranty that I read about on a pencil blog somewhere, and went ahead and mailed in my pencil to Pentel.

Well, just today I got a brand new replacement from Pentel! Truly a company with great products and service.

adair said...

Recently on ebay I saw Pentel P212-219's for sale...They looked, as far as I could tell, identical to the P203-209's...But they were stamped clearly with the different series numbers (in the same type-face as on the P203-209's). Any explanations out there?

Anonymous said...

"There was also a berol mechanical pencil which looked almost identical to the P205 apart from that the grip looked different."

I owned a 0.9mm berol mechanical pencil and it was yellow, so I guess the colour coding was the same as Pentel. I loved this pencil, but I somehow managed to lose it. This was around about 1990. I have looked and looked on ebay, but can't find one. The barrel was very cylindrical all the way down, apart from near to the pencil tip where it was a little wider and had a definate 'grip'area. From what I can rememeber, it was also a little heavier than the Pentel. I'm gonna keep looking, someone will sell one eventually...

adair said...

The ebay seller explains the P215 as almost identical to the P205, except that it has a grey body and a different clip. Apparently, he writes, it was supplied only to Pentel's corporate accounts.

Anonymous said...

Where can i find a mechanical pencil 0.9 made in japan here in sydney???
thks a lot
Roberta

Ian said...

I have a whole drawer full of these that I got when I worked for Hughes Aircraft in the 80's. I prefered the P225 which is somewhat smaller. It has a really 'right' feel. For some reason, it helps me think.

Germ said...

roberta-Ebay should have them, or the Pentel webstore.

Ian-want to part with them?

For some history, in japan, the p20_ was called the p32_ series back when they used script printing on these. check www.shogei-bungu.com either the sold out section or current rare offerings.

Keith said...

Amazing. I did not know they still made the Pentel P205 - I have a couple that I have had since 1978 when I started my first job, designing integrated circuits. They still work just fine.

Lodro said...

I'm a college trained drafter in the early 90's right as drafting went to hell/heaven on the PC in forms like AutoCAD to SolidWorks. I still do my sketching and designing with the P205,7 & 9.

I design and build kayaks and teardrop trailers among other things and it's with the P series I design and build everything. The P205 for drawing and the P207 for marking wood. This is the best lead writing instrument ever designed and built and I would pay 4-5 times the $6.00 Pentel asked for them they are that good. I've got two of them in my shop work bib covered in sawdust. Two more in my writing kit that has been all over the world with me. No one gets to borrow these pencils as I learned they don't tend to come back, they are that good!

I also do a lot of writing and use a Pentel P205 for my extensive journaling and hate to write with another pencil as they write worth crap compared to the P205!

I'm a pencil geek!

Thanks Pentel. Don't ever stop building this amazing Pencil. You couldn't improve it. Even the funny clip I love - it gives me something to fiddle and play with when I have to listen to boring guys at the shop!

Anonymous said...

I'm no draftsperson, but I do love the Pentel P205. I bought it last Feb. at the U of Wash art museum gift shop. However, I have messed it up: I removed the end cap, then took out the easer (in its sheath) and in order to extend it I bent the sheath a bit (it was really tight), now I can't get the eraser/sheath back into the pencil end. Woe. Are these replaceable parts?

kiwi-d said...

Replacement eraser for P205 is the Z2-1. You can see it on sites like pentelstore.com

njj said...

Thank you kiwi-d! (My name isn't really anonymous)...call me njj!

Anonymous said...

I love my P205! I also love it's replacement, the PG205. Pentel maintained the "All Buisness" look and feel. I'm studying Japanese. Writing the kanji characters needs fine lines and lots of erasing! The .5mm is good. the .4 or .3 is even better! (PG204) (PG203)

Germ said...

Anonymous- Are you referring to the Graphlet PG30_ series? The P20_
series doesn't have a 0.4mm model.

Anonymous said...

I have two old (purchased in 1988) Berol 0.5mm drafting mechanical pencils. These are fairly heavy in weight and have a metal knerlled grip with a upper blue plastic body.

They both fell from the drafting table years ago and the 05.mm tube bent on impact ledning them both usless... but I kept them.

Are the any tips or tricks to bentig (without breaking) these metal tubes back to the orginal postion ?
K

Will said...

I'm a student in high-school and love to use the P20x series. I tend to do a lot of writing (tons o' hw) and have found Pentel to be the best. The eraser can be annoying, but I usually use a block eraser. I'm thinking about buying a green and red p205 and the p203. Will Pentel ever make the p203 in America again?

Germ said...

Anonymous, it is possible I can get replacements for you. Pencils, not the tips.
best thing i have found, as long as ot severely bent, just get some needlenose pliers with smooth jaws, and slowly bend back. I have had to do ths numerous times with used pencils. Good luck!!!

Samy said...

I have used Pentel P209 for the last 25 years and it is the best designed mechanical pencil hands down. Put some Pentel AIN "B" lead and you can glide across the paper. Now I passing on the tradition to my 6th daughter.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I just came across this site, and it's awesome.

I'm currently using the P205, and I really do like it, but the thing that caught my attention was the "clearing tool." What is the clearing tool? I just recently purchased my first ever P205, so I'm not too enlightened on the history of this pencil unfortunately. If anyone could explain, I'd be grateful.

Thanks and keep up the good work with the blog!

Matthew R said...

The clearing tool is a small metal pin stuck into the bottom of the eraser. It's used to clear a broken lead from the tip tube or from the clutch jaws. When you pull out the eraser, the eraser acts as a handle for the pin.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for answering. But why doesn't Pentel include the clearing tool with the current P series pencils?

oneloneman said...

According to a source at Pentel Of America they are not including the clean out rod in current pencils because of safety reasons. No further details were given. But it's my guess that the smaller diameter rods, those used in 0.3mm pencils, can (and do) stick a person in the finger. In some cases all four pencil sizes carried the same small diameter clean out rod, the one that came with the 0.3mm pencil. It works for all lead sizes. I've bought other pencils that did not come with clean out rods, both Pentels and other brands. Since I think these are invaluable I've bought some 0.014" diameter stainless steel rod and started making my own clean out rods.

Anonymous said...

can someone tell me how to properly use the eraser in pentel mechanical pencils. Everytime I use the darn eraser the metal holder slides up into the shaft and I cannot use it anymore....

Anonymous said...

My trusty old P205 bit the dust today. I'd been using the thing for 5 years I think. Last night, my stapler jammed and I used the tip of the pencil to pry the jammed staple out, and apparently it weakened it a bit, because this morning while I was taking an exam, the tip popped right off while I was advancing the lead. A sad sad day in mechanical pencil history.

andrew said...

Anonymous: Try squeezing the metal holder so that it's tighter around the eraser. I have to do that sometimes when I want to adjust my eraser.

Anonymous (the second anonymous!): I'm sorry to hear that. =( When you mean by the tip, do you mean the entire lead sleeve? Now that's a shocker.

Stuart said...

It's been a while since I looked at the cleaning pin on my old Pentel pencils, but if I remember it had a sharp point that was inserted into the eraser. The other end was blunt, but still dangerous if you weren't careful.

My first metric lead pencil was a Pentel PS315. It's the same pencil as the P205, except that it has a sliding tip. I bought it in the early '70s, and I think that it and the P205 were the only .5mm pencils available locally at that time. My PS315 has a grey barrel.

There were also models for use with film leads that were identical except for having beige plastic for the barrels.

I really like the P20x and similar pencils. I think I would say they're the standard by which I measure all other clutch-type mechanical pencils.

Anonymous said...

Dued, this is one of the most nerdy yet helpful websites I have visited. Thank you, Dave for hosting this blog. I've used Pentel mechanical pencils since the early 1980s. Today I use them at work as a law enforcement officer as so much of our crime reports are in pencil. I have had a problem with the metal sleeves breaking off. Because of your website, I telephoned Pentel spoke with their Quality Assurance department and they are sending my replacement tips at no charge! Thank you, Dave and keep on clickin'!

Anonymous said...

Yes i recieved my 1st today, i am so happy! =D

Anonymous said...

I found this web page while looking for something else which is typical for me. I have always preferred the Koh-i-noor "Rapidomatic" and still have a .05 and a .07. However it appears that Koh-i-noor has discontinued these and so the P205, 207 and 209 are worthy replacements, Staedtler Mars, notwithstanding.

Anonymous said...

A tip for using mechanical pencil erasers: forget they ever existed - and buy erasers (kneaded, vinyl, Pink Pearl and gummy)separately. Think of an eraser on a mechanical pencil like the tailgunner of the early B52 jet bombers.

Anonymous said...

Pencil geeks?! LOL WTF?

Anonymous said...

After using (and losing) dozens of P205s (& a few P203's/P207's) over the years I'm still a fan. Except I wish they sold them with B (not HB) leads which produce a much darker line - without having to push hard on the pencil. Also their eraser mechanism stinks. I wrap an single layer of paper around the eraser (and under the metal sleeve so its not visible once the erasure is inserted into the pencil) to ensure the eraser doesn't slip into the barrel. They should just increase the size of the eraser instead to ensure a tighter fit.

Anonymous said...

I've never drafted or anything near it, but I love the P205. I used through most of high school and all of college. I have used my current P205 since at least my senior year in high school, and I still love it. The shiny metal parts are now scarred and the tip's finish has actually been warn nearly entirely off, but that just adds to its character.

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to find older (25-30 years ago) cheap mechanical type pencils that had small plastic "barrels" with a lead tip that you would push into the top, to advance the next "barrel". Does anyone know the name or brand? Thanks for any help!

kiwi-d said...

Dozens of brands still available. Often called push pencils, dart pencils. Try your cheap import store, One Dollar Shop, etc.

Anonymous said...

I am a fan of the P205. Did you know the older models have green erasers? Anyway I want to try and remake my internal black plastic tube piece in aluminum to ad a little extra weight and to prevent my eraser metal ring from digging into my pencil. I constantly have this problem because I erase rather violently. However this may be harder than it seems.

Anonymous said...

Hi kiwi-d!

I came across your posts when googling "thinnest japanese mechanical pencil", and had much fun browsing your entire site. I've even noted pencils to look into -- Mitsubishi's Uni Kuru Toga, for one.

Sadly I still haven't found the pencil that started my search. It was one I got on a brief stop in Japan, some 15 years ago.

It was a thin, white-painted metal tube maybe 4 mm in diameter and 10 cm long. It had a black rubber grip up front, and a "bellows" type black rubber bushing at the other end, between that end of the body and the lead-advancing clicker. The clicker tip was a round. The pencil had a pretty sturdy metal clip. And I simply don't recall manufacturer, much less model.

What I, and everybody who saw it, was taken by was its fine-boned, miniature proportions. Anything like that come to mind?

Thanx much!

--Ajit

Claes in Lund, Sweden said...

-> Ajit -- Was it something like one from the Tombow Zoom series (which can be found in their Design collection)? You can google for it.
Have fun!
Claes in Lund, Sweden

Anonymous said...

Claes! Aha! Cute! Very cute! The pen I had was *very* similar to these, down to the "bellows"-type bushing below the spherical clicker-tip. Thanx much! I'll be ordering a few.

--Ajit

http://www.tomboweurope.com/schreibgeraete/druck.html

Peter said...

Well, despite my recent delving into all things... inky... I picked up a P205 today. "Surely they must be some substance to all the praise..."

Writing with it, I wasn't convinced, the Staedtler Triplus is streets ahead there.

Then I knocked up a quick P&ID(Piping and Instrument Diagram) with it. Holy bajeekus, against a ruler this thing is without peer. My Mars 775 has been turfed out of my drawing kit. This and the big Hidex leadholder are now my drawing instruments of choice.

I think I might be buying a few more Pentel pencils after this and the Kerry.

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Anonymous said...

I have two P205 and two P207 pencils in my drawer that do not work. The leads jam in them and they cease to function. One day the pencil will work, the next day it won't. What the deuce!?! Do these things require some magical cleaning trick or something? By the way, it took 15 years of pencil using to accumulate four non-working pencils, but still... Now I have to go to the evil office supply nazi to ask ever-so-politely for another one.

Anybody a P205 cleaning pro?

Matthew R said...

I'm no P205 cleaning pro, but I have cleaned a few.

With four bad, I seriously doubt that the tips are bent, but look anyway. If you've dropped it on the tip, or stuck it in the fabric pencil slots in some shoulder bags, the tip could be bent enough to break the lead between the jaws and the tip sleeve.

Other than that, I'd unscrew the tip and make sure the tip sleeve is open with no build up of dust, and that the jaws aren't jammed with pieces of broken lead or clogged with graphite powder. Push on the clicker and blow into the jaws. It's possible to have a compressed chunk of graphite in the jaws, but it's pretty uncommon. Maybe gently flick or tap the jaws to see if anything falls out.

With the tip off, you might be able to also take off the eraser and peer downward toward the jaws (and the other way, too) and look for problems.

One last thing. If you used an off-brand of leads, you should try some very trustworthy brand. I have bought boxes of P225s as gifts, and I always take out the first lead (that has been under pressure for like 20 years). It always seems to misfeed until I pull it out. The old ones in the magazine seem to work fine, though.

Poincare said...

I love my p207! It leaves my Rotring tikky ii aside. I'm considering buying a p205. I have small hands (i'm going to 7th grade) so the torpedo type shape works great for me! I use this pencil a lot for math (which I do in my freetime, I don't take the pencil to school!)Keep posting!

mikecoffeecat said...

In several other postings on this blog, you have mentioned the high quality plastic moulding that Pentel uses. However, I've recently been disappointed in the build quality of P207s. The box says it's still made in Japan, but the plastic has a prominent fault line in all four of my recently purchased P207s (the P205s are fine). hmph. :(

kiwi-d said...

Well that's not good to hear. On other comments and postings on this blog you will read of outstanding customer service from Pentel re faulty and not-faulty product so I would certainly suggest you raise it with your local Pentel.

dodgemannfs said...

I have a pencil very much like this from Pentel called the PS315 its .5mm and blue but it has a sliding(not retractable) sleeve.

Anonymous said...

Have you noticed the new "limited edition" Sharps? They look quite nice in "marble" colors. https://www.pentelstore.com/index.php?grp=3963&osCsid=0cb6a6cd85fb37a7ae53984e41583d15

Anonymous said...

This might sound stupid for all of you experienced users of mechanical pencils but...... first time user of a mechanical pencil(Pentel P205)-I have just used up my first piece of lead. BUT I can't figure it out. The lead will not stay in the opening. What am I doing wrong?

Please give me directions to refill the pencil. I feel like a fool not being able to refill the d*** thing!

Anonymous said...

I found a box years ago containing two each of all sizes of film pencils in this line. I saved only the .5mm sized ones, PF335's, as the .3's, .4's, .7's, and .9's had no lead.

These both had semi retractable sleeves, extending from about 2.5mm to 5mm. One has a green eraser, and the other has a rubber stopper with a clearing rod in it. The end caps are shorter and more rounded than the newer pencils and the body mold appears to have been slightly different.

I unscrewed the tip from one of the PF335's and found that the pencil's internals had a longer threading than the new P205's, almost twice as long!

The tips were interchangeable though, and the slightly retracting tip has made this pencil mostly pocket safe. I love this pencil and use it all the time.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

FWIW, the cap from a Papermate Write Bros. Pen will fit write onto the end of a Pentel Sharp 20X
and make it safe for pocket carry.

Bob S.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

Oops, that unintended and pretty bad pun should be "fit right" not "fit write". It is an unintended typo.

Thanks,
Bob S.

Anonymous said...

Viking/Office Depot in the UK sell a Niceday-branded P205 clone; I have a few of these as well as some "real" P205s and other than the label they're identical.

(They still appear to list the P205 too - old stock perhaps?)

Nate said...

Does anyone know where to get a replacement eraser cover? I've lost one off of one of my P205s that I carry at all times, and I hate looking at it missing pieces.

Anonymous said...

I've used a Pentel P205 for over 30 years now (not the same one of course!), ever since I was a cricket scorer and needed a fine point for 'dot balls'.
Fantastic pencil and a design classic, I hardly ever write in pen at work (unless signing something), all my notes are taken with the P205.
Just lost the clip from my current one so online to buy a new one

Jake said...

Over the years I have bought many mechanical/drafting lead pencils, including the $15 ones of varying lead sizes for drawing. My mother had a P205 and a P207 and I stole it from her thinking they were just "cheap" lead pencils. But for some reason, I keep finding myself using these instead of the prettier, fancier materials, and expensive ones.

They just have a great feel to them, even when I use cheap leads. The weight is perfect, the grip, and when I draw with them, they feel like the natural extension of my arm.... tears.

Time Waster said...

If you like teh P205 try a Forte without the rubber grip it's like a slighting wider P205 works better for writing and drawing.

Black Lead Nate said...

I have this in my collection for a while now but never got around to using it because of the non-retractable tip. I gave it a try today and I it feels really good in your hand. I have poor penmanship but I seem to write better with it. I love this humble pencil. :)

Anonymous said...

A really great, decent classic drafting pencil out there. But I am afraid that the metal clip will rust over times, and thats exactly what happened on my friend's P205.

Wonder if it is comparable to Staedtler? Like the 925?
Or the Pentel Graph 600?

Anonymous said...

The General Pencil Co. sells a package of 12 pencil point protectors along with a small pencil eraser for around $2.50. The pencil point protectors fit over the tip rather unobtrusively on the P20X pencils, making them pocket friendly. These packages are sold at art supply and similar stores.

Bob S.

Anonymous said...

a cheaper alternative to making this pencil pocket safe is to take the cap off of a bic round stic pen and put it on the pencil...instantly pocket safe!!!...even though i doubt that anyone will read this..

Andrei said...

I am thinking to buy the 0.3 and the 0.5 versions for drawing comics with them. They kinda look like my 0.9 Alvin Draftline. Simple, professional, light and not very big in diameter. Plus fixed sleeve! The only problem... is the P205 suited for drawing comics or drawing in general? I am oscillating between the 205 and the Zebra Drafix.

Kiwi-d said...

Andrei - I'm not a comic artist, but I don't see why a P205 wouldn't be suitable if you like draughting style pencils in general. Remember though the grip isn't round so maybe if you hold it for really long extended periods, shading away furiously...?

Sapphire said...

I draw comics with mine and use woodcase pencils for 'realistic' drawings - the thicker leads give smoother shading.

Anonymous said...

I don't draw comics but draw a lot of other stuff and I find one single pencil model not enough for what I do. However a combination of leadholders and MPs are the best bet in my opinion. The P-205 works like the extension of my hand. Very precise, sensitive and never goes broke. Some of my friends don't like it because it's too light and too narrow for them. So, I guess it's everybody's personal preference.
Nick

Bilgin Avenoglu said...

I bought P207 according to information given in this blog. P207 is one of the best mechanical pencils that I have used up to now.

Wes said...

As a land surveyor, I have used the P205 for many, many years writing in field books under some pretty rough conditions, and this is a great pencil. I have used other brands from time to time, and have found nothing holds a candle to the P205. My wife bought a pencil at Office Max that was a cheap knock off - she brought it to me to replace the lead, and it looked so similar I didn't notice at first - until the 0.5mm lead just fell through it when you advanced the lead, so I took it apart, and sure enough - it was cheap junk. Shame on Office Max.
The P205 is not a fine enough point for the drafting table, where I always used a good Lead Holder, but my drafting table is just a table now - all the drafting happens on a computer, but my P205 is still the pencil I reach for for everything - I hope it never changes.

Anonymous said...

This is just in reference to one of the first comments. The user suggested the P205 may have been modeled after Berol, but that seems unlikely. As far as I know Berol has never manufactured any mechanical pencils.

Stefan said...

Hi, I'm happy to find your blog, it is very useful for me last time I went shopping for an auto advance pencil I wanted to try (kinda dissapointing experience for drawing though, but maybe ok for writing someday)

about pentel p205
this is also my favorite pencil I use for years, I have made some modification to the barrel of the 0.5mm, here:
http://fc00.deviantart.net/fs71/f/2010/263/4/7/mechanical_pencil_modification_by_navetsea-d2z5z23.jpg

to make it sleeker, and easier to twist during drawing, and also reduced length to make it clickable with my index finger without changing the hand pose, and fit under my palm for some occasional shading.

cheers,
Stefan/ navetsea

Anonymous said...

So far, I have the Pentel Sharp Kerry, the GG 1000, and the P205. I didn't like the GG1000 so I gave that one away to my mother who works in finance. Quite frankly pentel pencils are top notch in general, however I find that nothing I have used or seen thus far matches up to a Kerry; which is the definition of excellence. I probably shouldn't be writing about the Kerry on the P205 page, so the only positive comment I can make about the P205 is that it is a lot more comfortable to hold than the GG1000. Of course this is my preference because I like to hold my pencils closer to the tip rather than on the actual 'grip'.

Lim Lynn said...

I remember the 1st P205 I bought during 2003 when I first started as freshman in high school. This mechanical pencil was useful for my geometry drawing for mathematic 2004. Later, I accidental drop my mechanical pencil and couldn't find any other replacement for my last 2 senior years in high school. I remember it was RM 8. Today, I found the mechanical pencil RM 14.90 but it's priceless.

Anonymous said...

there is an exact copy of the p205 under the name integra? does pentel do rebranding??
http://www.viking.com/Mechanical-Pencils/Integra-Metal-Pocket-Clip-Mechanical-Pencil-36150.asp

Lefty

Kiwi-d said...

Looks to me like it says "CHINA" on that Integra and on some others I can see on other websites, so I'd imagine its a copy (licenced or not?) rather than a re-brand, although I wouldn't be surprised if Pentel rebrand as well.

Anonymous said...

Just got a P205. The 0.5 mm lead is perfect for small writing in books. I added a rubber grip to it. I love the sleeve - it really gives me control over the lead tip. I picked up a Parker Pencil the same day and the P205 blows it away.

Anonymous said...

i have a p205 and like it, so now im wondering if i should get a pg5...the pg5 is more expensive, so i am wondering if it is worth it
thanks

Lefty

Anonymous said...

I've been carrying the same one of these around for probably twenty years now. I had it in my bag when I was flying out of Boston Logan on Sunday, 9 January 2011. The TSA agent, who looked to be in his early twenties, had no idea what it was. He said it could be used as a weapon and was going to take it away from me. I asked to see a supervisor; he was in his forties and of course immediately knew it was a pencil and let me through.

How times change.

Glen Kawano said...

The thing I love about the P205 is it's structural rigidity. When you press down on the paper, the lead, sleeve, and barrel all support the pressure without the slightest give. You get the feeling of precise control of how the tip contacts the surface. Most other pencils feel flimsy by comparison.

Anonymous said...

I'm a compulsive person. Right now it's mechanical pencils. I've been doing a lot of journaling and sick of sharpening. So mechanicals here I went. I have a p207 because most of the lead I own is 7mm. Old stock. I Got hooked on fixed tip from using a Pentel Icy. Worked fine. A bit childish. Fixed is so mich better. Retraction is cool but it takes away from performance. I will try a 205 for giggles.

Anonymous said...

OK pencil geeks, here is my nerdy tip. Get one of your old electric toothbrush heads and you will find there are a couple of very small, strong magnets in there. (Sonicare is one of those ultrasonics) The magnets snap off easy. Now tuck one behind the metal clip on your P200 and it now sticks to the office lamp or stapler or whatever metal you have. Can you say refrigerator? The magnet also gives a little bit more weight to the rather light pencil. Those little magnets are handy for lots of things.

Anonymous said...

I just picked up some P205 clones from Office Max. Very little difference that I can see. they are about 1/2 gram heavier than the P205. Metal clutch looks the same. Spring slightly different. Cap fits tighter, nice. Pocket clip almost identical.Shinnyer as is the cap. Plastic body same. All sizes were black, which I like. We will see how they work. About $2 on sale, and they have the green eraser that someone asked about before. I ordered some Integras. I bet they show up like these. Seem like good knock offs for 1/3 the price. Integras are less than $1. Any comments about clones besides if I like it ...use it? Cool site BTW. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Ok, here's the dope on the Office Max P207 clones. They look good. They are not good. Lead wobbles in the tip. One of them had a small gasket, in the tip, fall out. This thing holds the lead in the tip when the button is pushed. So with out it the lead falls out. These will be returned to Office max. I'm sure the Integras are the same. Just noticed that Staples sells a very similar product on their website. So these cheap knock off's must be sold by the thousands to compete with the real Pentels. So I fell for it. Why am I writing this stuff??? LOL

Kiwi-d said...

Ahhhh, well - The foul taste of poor quality lingers long after the sweet sugar rush of cheap price has gone.

Anonymous said...

Anyone compare it with the Zebra m301? Very similar pencils exept the m301 is cased in steel and is a little shorter.

Dave, the pencils you were reviewing look to be older versions, the new ones do not come with the pin in the eraser and quality is way down. The inside plastic of a few of these pencils are bent or cracked, cheap plastic.

Simon said...

I recently purchased the P205 and agree that it is an awesome pencil, probably one of the best I have ever used. Of course the Pentel AIN leads are amazing too. What a combination.

Simon said...

I recently purchased the P205 based on the positive feedback here and find it to be an awesome pencil! Thank you for the interesting blog! Now I need to consider the Lamy 2000.

Anonymous said...

My complaint with the P 200 pencils is the weight. I like a bit more heft, but don't want to carry around a $10 -20 pencil. I find myself using different, bigger clips to add weight. Sometimes I put two or three extra clips on them to make them heavy. People then ask "What are all the clips for?" This modification says "Nerd". I find a grip adds some weight also.

Any suggestions as to neat ways to add weight to a pencil without making it look totally dumb?

I was thinking of adding some tape inside on the lead barrel, but I can't get enough in there to make a difference without affecting the performance.

The workings of the P 207's are great. I'm searching for a heavy pencil with a rubber grip. Saw a $32 OHTO on ebay, discontinued style. Like $40 with shipping. A little steep.

This blog is feeding a new compulsion. I guess it's better than cupcakes...No weight gain.

RPB

Anonymous said...

wow! i never thought i'd stumble upon a blog so passionate about mechanical pencils- and DEFINITELY not one with such responses to this one (fantastic) pencil!
both my dad and grandad have (or had) p209s and it was the first pencil i bought and treasured for myself at school. now usea p205 but want to get hold of the p209 again... unfortunately dont seem to be able to get them down here in little old dunedin- anyone tell me where they pick theirs up from?- even in another centre.
awesome blog!

Kiwi-d said...

Haven't seen one locally for ages...I think you might have to go net-shopping overseas.

Anonymous said...

amazon is his friend

Daniel Beaver said...

Sitting on my desk is a weathered P205. I cannot recall how or when it came into my possession - I am sure that is a common enough experience. When I think "mechanical pencil", invariably this is what comes to mind.

I love machines (they are my livelihood), and the P200's appeal to my sensibilities about what a machine should be. I love the smooth non-abrasive black plastic, the effective metal clip, the long tip, the metal clutch, the precise advance mechanism. Functional, of course, but also elegant, durable and economical, a no-nonsense tool which says "My purpose is to put marks on a paper, and I am going to MARK THE HELL OUT OF THAT PAPER". *sniff*, the romantic in me is showing...

And yet, I am torn...

Under the grip, there is a short smooth section. I hold my pencils very close to the tip, and so I tend to grasp the P205 right on the section with no grip. And the tips of my fingers brush past the little ridge at the end of the plastic section. The grip feels... odd. Not right. Those of you who are raving about the grip must be holding it higher than I do.

I have ended up using a Sharplet-2 A125 and Zebra M-301 for sketching. Neither is quite as "nice", but the grips feel more natural to me. I keep wanting to like the P205, but it keeps driving me away... Oh well, we can't obsess TOO much about these things.Sitting on my desk is a weathered P205. I cannot recall how or when it came into my possession - I am sure that is a common enough experience. When I think "mechanical pencil", invariably this is what comes to mind.

I love machines (they are my livelihood), and the P200's appeal to my sensibilities about what a machine should be. I love the smooth non-abrasive black plastic, the effective metal clip, the long tip, the metal clutch, the precise advance mechanism. Functional, of course, but also elegant, durable and economical, a no-nonsense tool which says "My purpose is to put marks on a paper, and I am going to MARK THE HELL OUT OF THAT PAPER". *sniff*, the romantic in me is showing...

And yet, I am torn...

Under the grip, there is a short smooth section. I hold my pencils very close to the tip, and so I tend to grasp the P205 right on the section with no grip. And the tips of my fingers brush past the little ridge at the end of the plastic section. The grip feels... odd. Not right. Those of you who are raving about the grip must be holding it higher than I do.

I have ended up using a Sharplet-2 A125 and Zebra M-301 for sketching. Neither is quite as "appealing", but the grips feel more natural to me. I keep wanting to like the P205, but it keeps driving me away... Oh well, we can't obsess TOO much about these things.



Anonymous poster asking about a comparison to the Zebra M-301: It is quite similar. The Zebra has a metal clutch, and the mechanism feels good. The lead wobble in the point is fairly low. The eraser sits in a little plastic slot, and is the same size as the P205 (it is a mediocre eraser, I replaced it with pentel refills). The grip is more "aggressive" than the P205, which may bother some people, but not I. The main difference is that the Zebra M-301 is smaller and lighter. I personally think they are excellent pencils, easily as good as the P205.

Anonymous said...

found 2 P207 in an old drawer, they are a great pencil and they really do stab you if you keep them in your pocket

Theophilous said...

At the risk of beig accused of heresy, I recently purchased a liquid pencil from Sharpie at the local Staples. Item number 1770244 containing two pencils and six replacement erasers. I have yet to open the package to try them out.

My question to you is.... Have I gone over to the dark side?

Yours,

Theophilous

Kiwi-d said...

Theopilous - well we all experiment from time to time.

The Sharpie liquid pencil has not generally had good reviews, from both pencil and ink folk.

Anonymous said...

Daniel Beaver,
You said you grip very close to the tip,
How would you feel about something like this
http://www.pentel.com/catalog_product.php?id=693
just saw it while reading your comment, thought it'd serve as some p205 subsitute, seeing as it looks pretty similar

Daniel Beaver said...

Anon: Interesting! The ridges on that are exactly where I would normally grip a P205, so I might have to try that. I wonder how similar it is to the P205.

Rick Presley said...

I highly recommend the P225 pro/am. I've been using them for years. I've not seen them in the stores for a long time now, but thank goodness they're still available on the Internet!!

Jack Nore said...

These are one of my all time favorites. Some of my P205's have been in continuous use since 1995, and there may be a couple that date back to the late eighties floating around the desk drawer. Truly a testament to their longevity. I always buy a couple of new ones every year or so fearing the unthinkable, that one day these little gems will be put out of production.

chuck r. said...

I swear by the P 209's! I used them when I worked as a machinist, as I always had to log in data etc. I even got a few of my bosses to use the 209, as the thicker lead is perfect for 'heavy hands" which is common in factory environments. The P 209 0.9 mm is a heavy duty "work horse" pencil!

Anonymous said...

I first started using the Pentel P series pencils in college, to draw the endless schematics that the HVAC associates degree program required- like boot camp for technicians. The instructors were masters of the field- many were retired heads of their own shops, w/ fleets of vans & armies of technicians. These guys strongly recommended the P2 pencils, so that's what we started with. Over twenty years later, I STILL use this pencil, and cannot say enough positive things about it. They are as well built and rugged as an M16 rifle, reasonably priced, easy to find, and completely reliable. Finely machined chrome fittings aboard a stout, stylish hard plastic barrel, equally at home in office or shop. I have used other pencils in the same price range, but these usually end up breaking or falling apart at a critical point. Highly recommended!

Jonathan Jones said...

I've been using the P205 and the P207 every day for over 4 years now. I recently purchased the P203 and P209 to round out my collection. After some further reading I noticed that once upon a time, Pentel also manufactured a P204. Does anyone know where I could purchase one of these?

Anonymous said...

I've been using these pencils since grammar school. In fact, I'm pretty sure that my dad taught me to write with a P209! I remember the .5mm lead kept breaking...heavy hands. My dad was a draftsman at the time, which means he had every flavor of this pencil, and he still swears by them even to this day.

Back in 3rd grade, my teacher didn't know what it was. In 4th grade, my teacher wanted to know more about it, and where I got it. Etc. In college, upon seeing mine, my calculus professor waxed nostalgic about HIS beloved Pentel.

I am never without at least one pencil from this series. They're in every drawer, attached to every pad, and at times they seem to multiply in the drawers.

It's a classic. And, it's a classic FOR A REASON!!!

Well made, distinctive, functionally designed, comfortable, and a genuinely good and timeless design that transcends the fleeting whims of fashion. It's a tool. A tool, in a field populated by toys.

God bless you, Pentel, for designing THE definitive mechanical pencil. And, God willing, may you never decide to discontinue it.

Beehive said...

I am looking for a replacement for a favourite pencil that I lost without ever noticing the make and model. I must have bought it about 10 years ago (in the UK). It looks very similar to this one but with a matt, slightly rubberised texture instead of shiny plastic, is exactly the same diameter all the way down, and the clicker at the top (which is metallic and matt) has a wider part at the very top. Can you help?

Anonymous said...

Dave, thanks for the site! I bought my first P 205 in 1973 (after seeing my older brothers, engineering students, use them). I had that one for almost 30 years. While I haven't always been "faithful" to mechanical pencils, and have flirted with lots of other options, I still feel most comfortable with the Pentel.

Best, Bruce

Rick Sharon said...

Thank you "Anonymous March 10, 2009" for the tip re: using paper to shim the eraser assembly so it doesn't sink into the tube (wrapping paper around the metal eraser mount tube before inserting it into the flimsy plastic tube that holds it in place). I am experimenting with that now. It should fix a very annoying problem with my P207 pencils. My symptoms of loose eraser assembly vary including:

1. When I remove the push-button cap to get to the eraser, the eraser assembly either lodges in the cap or pops out, which opens the pencil lead refill tube, which causes refill leads to spill and spray 2-3 feet. Not fun for the target of those projectiles! I just lost another eraser and tube-full of leads right before I posted this message.

2. The entire eraser assembly sinks into the tube, permanently sealing it. The eraser is no longer exposed thus unusable. The only way to get it out again is to pry it out with straight pins or bent paper clips.

3. Just the rubber eraser sinks into the tube, leaving behind the metal eraser mounting tube, which scratches and shreds whatever document you were trying to erase.

Word of the day re: above is "aaaaaaarrrrrggggghhhhh!!!!!".

A painfully frustrating design defect for an otherwise wonderful pencil. I hope the "paper shim" workaround works!! Thanks again to whoever posed that suggestion!!

Mike said...

After 13 years of using the Staedtler retro 5.0 and finally losing it, the 205 is the closet thing I could find. It's a fine pencil but it'd be perfect if the sleeve retracted.

2nd_astronaut said...

If you want to return to the Staedtler Retro: It is available again with minor modifications (clip). See e.g. here a German ebay auction for the current model http://www.ebay.de/itm/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=310400624009

Patricia said...

I finally found my P207 after thinking I lost it a couple of months ago. I'm so glad that I found it! ;_; It just felt so odd not using it, since I've been using it for the past 2/3 years! A normal wooden pencil could not replace my need to use this pencil haha. It just didn't feel right, and didn't look as nice.

This is my favourite mechanical/pencil! I'll have to try the other P20_'s someday!

Robert said...

Hey Dave could you review the Zebra Z905?? I think it's the new rival of this pentel model.

Also I just bought the Pentel 120a3dx, it feels awesome..

Anonymous said...

The Berol model that is very similar is the Berol TL-3/TL-5/TL-7. I have a TL-5 that I purchased in 1983 or 1984 and I still use. The Berol clip is not removable, but the shape and grip texture is nearly exactly the same.

Anonymous said...

-I do agree that P207 and P209 are perfect for general writing , sketching and drafting.

-P 205 is fine but there were and are far better ones available. I am not a big fan of P205 although I have tirelessly written and prepared for my exams during my last engineering year

-@Stuart:
PS315 and P20--Series were not the only available ones in 1970's- there were also other Drafting Pentels, Staedtlers, Faber Castells and other Japanese makers

Yours baktasch2007

Anonymous said...

Is this the BEROL pencil folk are talking about?

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/251197332908?_trksid=p5197.c0.m619

I picked one up and it seems quite nicely balanced. Text on the packaging states that the BEROL PCL2000 (Pressure Controlled Leadholder) has an "...ingenious system which automatically takes the pressure off the drawing lead when heavy pressure is applied to its tip" Indeed, the lead is spring-loaded and retracts into its sleeve under moderate pressure.

A Glasgow Scribbler

Anonymous said...

Lockheed123: Holy Cow, there really were Berols?! The first time I bought P205s I was looking for "those really nice black mechanical pencils, from Berol, I think." Sharp, I found (later Pentel/Sharp) and shrugged my shoulders thinking "Gee, I felt sure it was Berol." I love the P205; it's what I have in my pocket day in and day out and I go through about 3 to 5 a year due to losing and abusing them. If my memory isn't playing tricks on me, I liked the Berols even better because the were a little bit heavier; they felt more substantial and the slightly greater inertia improved my lousy handwriting.

Anonymous said...

I have both the P205 and P207. I do a lot of physics and math work. I can't say enough about these pencils. I prefer the P207 because I write a bit heavy handed and the lead holds up better. Does anyone swap the Pentel lead out for something else?

Anonymous said...

One of my favorite pens, but nostalgia plays a large part in that...
I find that heavier metal pencils work better for my work in physics. The P205 is a little too light to give the control needed for cramming long equations into small lines.

That said, here's my P205:
http://youtu.be/9OmVsj6PSqo

Anonymous said...

Is there a fix for the lead slipping out of the end of the P205 & P207, rendering the pencil unusable?

Anonymous said...

You've danaged or lost the tiny o-ring inside the pencils' tip cones, most likely while clearing a lead jam. These o-rings provide the friction that prevents the lead from just dropping through the tip. If you can find the right tiny little o-rings, you can replace them. For the low cost of these pencils, though, it's probably best just to buy new pencils.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if the barrels are interchangeable? I like a P207 but would like one with a black barrel.

Can you take the black barrel from P205 and put it onto a P207?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if the barrels are interchangeable? I like a P207 but would like one with a black barrel.

Can you take the black barrel from P205 and put it onto a P207?

Anonymous said...

What year was the P205 first created?

Anonymous said...

I AM GOING TO LEARN JAPANESE SO I CAN PURCHASE A PENTEL P204

I NEEDZ DAT 0.4mm lead PENCIL, MAN....I GOTS TO HAVES IT

Anonymous said...

i have used my p209 for the past 2 years and dont plan on using any other pencil other than maybe the other p200's

Anonymous said...

Anonymous from July 16th, 2013 -- YES! The barrels *are* interchangable.

I put a .9mm mechanism + top onto a black/carbon fiber body. Works like a charm.

Anonymous said...

Oh my, I can't believe I ran across this website, I love it!!! I was just looking at my trusty P205 and thinking about how it has been with me for 30 years and still shows almost no sign of wear. I was soooo upset when I thought I lost it a few months ago and just went wild tearing the house apart to find it, which I eventually did...it had slipped off a table and under a book case. Even though I have a couple of "new" ones from the 1980's era, I am very attached to this one in particular, I guess because it's because it's seen me through 2 degrees and about 5 jobs and everything else along the way. It's so funny how I feel about it. I know, I know, total nerd aren't I!!

Anonymous said...

I recently bought a P205 in burgundy colour. Japanese-made, which, in my view, makes them collectible. I'm guessing in a not-so-far time they`ll be making P200's in PRC.
Currently looking for 0.7 an 0.9 versions, which are a bit harder to get here, Central America. Meanwhile , a couple of 120A3dx ( A317 & A319 ) are doing great, Japan-made also...

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know, or did I miss, when was the first Pentel P205 made? I believe they may have been or still are made of ABS plastic. If anyone has this information, please post or let me know.
pwentzel@patrickwentzel.com

Thanks,

Pat

Anonymous said...

Not sure if the P205 ( or P200 series in general ) is the same as the "Sharp", but there is evidence of the existence of the latter in 1971:

http://davesmechanicalpencils.blogspot.com/2010/04/1971-sharp.html

Clearly identified in 1978 catalog:


http://leadholder.com/lh-thin-pentel-sharp.html