From my Notebook >
This product has been around for a long time. However, I’m using lead holders more these days, so I thought I’d give it a review here.
You can learn more about lead holders and my interest in them here on the site.
For a lead holder that costs about $8-10 USD, I think this is about the best value you can get. The body doesn’t look bad, it’s compatible with Uni-Ball lead sticks, and my favorite feature: There is a sharpener built into it.
The back cap (the one you push to advance the lead) has a small hole in the top. You can remove the cap and insert the lead to sharpen it quickly. You are left to discard your own graphite shavings by tapping the cap into a garbage container, but that’s not an inconvenience to me. On the contrary, having a sharpener built into the lead holder body is more important to me than having an eraser nearby.
And there’s no eraser. So if you’ll be using this pencil, buy the kit (see link above) if you need an eraser, too. The kit also provides an extra tube of two 2H leads, making 3 total that come with it. I don’t use 2H leads much (I prefer the nice dark Uni-Ball 3B for typical writing & sketching) but technical illustrators or artists building up to an inked final product will probably appreciate it.
One word on technique: A lead holder like this is meant to be rotated manually as you write or draw with it. That is what the knurled metal grip is for—it makes it easier to turn the lead holder body in your hands, ensuring paper contact with the sharpest part of the lead.
If you want to find out if a lead holder is a good idea, I recommend trying this one. However, I also recommend that you choose a lead that is suitable to your style. Many will probably be slightly disappointed with 2H lead (harder material and thus lighter in shade) if they’ve only ever written with HB before.
Amazon sells the kit at a reasonable price.
There is also a cheaper, yet still pleasant-looking 788 C version at Stationery Art. I am not sure if this model comes with a sharpener cap.