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Let's talk lead holders!

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  • Let's talk lead holders!

    I like wood and mechinical pencils, but I love the "in between" space that lead holders live in. They are my preferred drawing a writing tool. To be fair, I'm just as good/bad with a crayon as I am with a Rotring, I know it's not the tool. I wanted to review the three I have and use regularly, and invite anyone else to share their experiences with their lead holders:

    The pieces:

    The writing in the pic is with whatever lead I had in them, just to identify and not compare. In my comparison I used HB lead for all 3 (Sanford lead, my preferred brand).

    1. Staedler Mars Technico: Fits rotary sharpeners. Built in cap sharpener, no hardness indicator. Plastic with metal grip. Drop clutch. A very light pencil, almost too light. I get a lot of questions when I use this one in public, since few people see lead holders anymore. It's got a really nice clutch, feels solid. Writing and drawing wise, I can use this for a long time and it feels natural. I have three of these. 7 bucks at my local art store, even less on Amazon.

    2. Koh-I-Noor Technigraph: Fits rotary sharpeners. No in-cap sharpener, no hardness indicator (but I buy them in different cap colors and use that to color code lead hardness). Plastic with metal grip. Drop clutch. Perfect weight and balance for my tast. The extra bit of metal in front makes a difference in that regard. A little fragile, I've snapped two from a 2-3 foot drop (where the metal meets plastic) and had to super glue them together. This is my favorite drawing and writing tool, it feels so natural. I have 4 of these and each of my kids have the clip version. The clip is kind of cheesy, if you care. 10 bucks at my local art store.

    3. Rotring Rapid Pro: Does not fit rotary sharpener (had to buy an Uni sharpener, which is pretty compact). Built in cap sharpener, no hardness indicator. Knock clutch (advances like a mechanical pencil). This this is heavy. Very solid, but I feel a little "wobble" when I use it, as the internal mechanism moves a little bit. It's a solid beast of a pencil. I find for writing my hand gets tired using it after a while. For drawing it's less of an issue. I ended up using a softer lead as the weight let's me get a nice line. I wanted to try a Rotring, and I wasn't disappointed at 25 bucks on Amazon. I kind of want to try a 600 or 800 now, but the weight thing has been an issue.

    I like all three, and it's getting harder to find technigraphs these days. The Mars is ubiquitous and well made, and its clutch is the nicest. The Koh-I-Noor wins on weight, and the Rotring is just beautiful to behold.

    Pleae post your lead holder experiences, I'd like to hear and see what you all use.
    Last edited by Always Drawing; 06-23-2016, 06:16 PM.

  • #2
    I use the Staedler almost exclusively with red colored leads. I really like it. It does feel rather light but not lighter than a wooden pencil, and it's really solid.
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    • #3
      I agree the staedtlers are nice and they are about the same weight as a wood pencil. But they never shrink which is what led me to them.

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      • #4
        One holder that was left out of the discussion is the one that started them all, the Caran d'ache Fixpencil 22.

        The Fixpencil has become my favorite lead holder. It has an aluminium body and it gives the feel of a wood pencil. It looks similar to a wood cased pencil, as well.
        It's the only holder I've tried that feels "natural." At least to my ham fists.
        It does not precisely fit the rotary pointer like the Stat, however, the leads I use are strong enough to still use the pointer by advancing the lead out further than normal and grinding them like the Stat.
        Where the Stat has a pointer on outside of the cap, the Fixpencil has a pointer on the inside of the cap. For variety, caps can come in different colors.
        I only wish they were a little more common and easier to find.


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        • #5
          Originally posted by inkystains View Post
          One holder that was left out of the discussion is the one that started them all, the Caran d'ache Fixpencil 22.

          The Fixpencil has become my favorite lead holder. It has an aluminium body and it gives the feel of a wood pencil. It looks similar to a wood cased pencil, as well.
          It's the only holder I've tried that feels "natural." At least to my ham fists.
          It does not precisely fit the rotary pointer like the Stat, however, the leads I use are strong enough to still use the pointer by advancing the lead out further than normal and grinding them like the Stat.
          Where the Stat has a pointer on outside of the cap, the Fixpencil has a pointer on the inside of the cap. For variety, caps can come in different colors.
          I only wish they were a little more common and easier to find.


          Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N910A using Tapatalk
          Meant to add:
          The Fixpencil 22 is 2mm leads and there is also a 3mm version.

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          • #6
            Those Fixpencils look cool. I just made a splurge on Amazon for various pencils and brushes so I'm going to have to wait to try it out.

            They have them on Amazon, although I am not sure if they are available everywhere.

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            • #7
              I use a TK 4600 Faber-Castell and I love and recommend it. I use it with HB lead. Very similar to the Staedtler reviewed here.
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              • #8
                TK series for the win! Been using them since I started out with pencil drawing 15 years ago, still using the same set. 9400s to be exact. I dont need another pencil for the rest of my life. Sounds like a commercial but its just the truth.
                Secret tip: you can use thw h, hb, b, 2b AND 3b all in the same leadholder(not at the same time). Dont get confused by the different labels
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                • #9
                  Hi, first time poster here. I’m familiar with wooden pencils and lead grades, but have been thinking about trying out some 2mm lead holders, given their advantages over wood.

                  One qualification is that I don’t want any pocket clips; I don’t plan on carrying them in my pocket or on a notebook, and feel like they would just be an annoyance while drawing. I see the Staedtlers getting a lot of good reviews, but not sure if the clip on those is removable?

                  Been looking primarily at the Faber Castell 4900 or the Kohinoor Hardtmuth versatil holders. Kohinoor makes a set of six or so colored Versatil lead holders that I could fill with regular leads and have an easy way of telling them apart.

                  As for the Faber Castells, the only quirky thing is that the softest leads only come in 3mm and up. I see other manufactures producing soft leads in 2 mm diameters, so not sure if the thicker leads would help prevent breaking, or just be more of an annoyance.

                  Any preference between those two, or other recommendations for better (but still inexpensive) clip-less holders?
                  Last edited by Loxley11; 07-23-2022, 12:12 AM.

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                  • #10
                    My biggest complaint with the Staedtler was that the barrel was too narrow for my grip. I had to wrap tape around the bottom close to the lead to widen the grip, because those jelly grips made it too wide for me.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Loxley11 View Post
                      Hi, first time poster here. I’m familiar with wooden pencils and lead grades, but have been thinking about trying out some 2mm lead holders, given their advantages over wood.

                      One qualification is that I don’t want any pocket clips; I don’t plan on carrying them in my pocket or on a notebook, and feel like they would just be an annoyance while drawing. I see the Staedtlers getting a lot of good reviews, but not sure if the clip on those is removable?

                      Been looking primarily at the Faber Castell 4900 or the Kohinoor Hardtmuth versatil holders. Kohinoor makes a set of six or so colored Versatil lead holders that I could fill with regular leads and have an easy way of telling them apart.

                      As for the Faber Castells, the only quirky thing is that the softest leads only come in 3mm and up. I see other manufactures producing soft leads in 2 mm diameters, so not sure if the thicker leads would help prevent breaking, or just be more of an annoyance.

                      Any preference between those two, or other recommendations for better (but still inexpensive) clip-less holders?
                      the faber castell TK ones are great imo. I have a kohinoor one for the bigger soft leads, but the holder has started coming loose. Not great quality… although I’ve had it for 10 years so actually that’s probably pretty great.

                      clip comes off just fine on the FC.

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