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[Pen/Pencil Review] The PaperMate SharpWriter – 0.7mm

Posted by reudaly on September 21, 2015 in Review, writing instruments |

This is going to be quick and dirty because it’s FenCon week – and time is of the essence. This week we look at a classic mechanical pencil in fun colors – the PaperMate Sharpwriter. This pencil has been around for decades – I did try to find out how long, but couldn’t quite narrow that down. But I remember using these in school all those **mumblety mumblety** years ago. But this pencil is a classic – in fact I noticed Adam Savage using one of the standard yellow ones on one of the last episodes of Mythbusters.
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The thing with the PaperMate Sharpwriter is that they’re cheap and disposable. You’re not supposed to refill them (though there seems to be a YouTube video showing you how). Intended to be used and abused, they’re not the most sturdy – especially the clip. I know I’ve snapped off more than – and so have the Mythbusters crew. Savage’s pencil had the clip snapped off right where the weak point is where the clip branches off the barrel.
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These pencils come in a standard 0.7mm HB (#2) lead for use on any standardized test, experiment notebook, or page. The lead is extended through a ribbed twist mechanism. The SharpWriter is designed to have less breakage, but that could also be a function of size. The SharpWriters are about 6″ long and a bit on the narrow side. The white erasers are adequate but a touch on the hard side. They do the job but could dry out if they sit for any length of time.
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The big thing about these are that they can be dirt, dirt cheap – especially during Back-to-School sales. In fact I picked up a 6-pack of “fashion color” SharpWriters with a “bonus” InkJoy retractable ball point pen on sale at Office Depot for $1. The box of a dozen at Office Depot runs $5.50 – so at the most you should be spending $1 or less per pencil – that way if they’re lost or broken or just wear out, you’re not out a lot of money. If you run the lead out – it’s all inexpensive plastic, I don’t see why you couldn’t recycle the barrels.

The numbers:
1. How does it work?1 It’s decent. The lead extends and retracts and does what pencils are supposed to do.
2. Grip and feel0.5 – This is no frills plastic retractable pencil. The mechanism is a twist mechanism that’s not fancy. The barrel is smooth with no grip or ergonomics and a little on the narrow side.
3. Material0.5 It’s a no frills plastic mechanical pencil. It’s not refillable. Meant to be disposable – probably recyclable. But likely it’s going to be ditched.
4. Overall Design1 – It’s an ages-old design. This thing has not changed in a very long time, except to add some colors. But if you like a pencil that’s going to work the same way EVERY TIME? This is it
5. Price Point1 – It’s cheap and readily available. This pencil routinely runs less than $1 each – MUCH less if you get a good sale. You can’t beat that if you’re hard on your writing instruments or don’t want to risk messing up a more expensive pencil.

4.0 out of 5 Bronze Pencils

Pencil 4.0

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