Saturday, September 21, 2019

Review Koh-I-Noor Notebook 2 mm mechanical pencil

Koh I Noor mini clutch mechanical pencil 2 mm
The clutch pencil Versatil made by Koh-I-Noor that I talked about in the post Koh-I-Noor Versatil lead holder from 70s, made me a bit nostalgic about the 2 mm lead holders. And after seeing the Koh-I-Noor Notebook 2 mm pencil, codename 5608, I couldn't help myself and just got one.
The pencil has a very nice design, combining the classic, futuristic looks. I do not know why but the design takes my imagination to the 60s, old small cars with chrome and typewriters. Weird combination..
For me, this was the selling point.
The first thing about the pencil that comes to mind when you have it in hand is "this is soo small". The length of it is a perfect size, I would call it compact. It is long enough to have a good grip on it and it is small enough to fit anywhere. But because the pencil is very thin it contributes to the look. The purpose of this was EDC, no doubt.
comparing mechanical pencils 5.6 mm vs 2.0 mm
Size comparison Koh I Noor Notebook 2 mm and Koh I Noor 5.6 mm

There is a compromise when it comes to ergonomics to the detriment of size. The pencil is fine for a short period of writing and for jotting things down, and the knurled grip feels very nice in the hand.  But even for small hands like mine, when I write with it for a longer period of time, it becomes uncomfortable because it is so thin with just 8 mm in diameter.

So because of its small size and its cool looks, you will be inclined to have it with you all the time.
Koh I Noor mechanical pencil metal grip

There are a few things about the Koh I Noor that I do not like, or I would prefer to be better made. The barrel is not attached to the mechanism. I mean that the lead and the clutch rotates freely in the barrel of the pencil. So if you want to sharpen the lead in it you have two options. The first option is to hold it by the lead and rotate it in the sharpener, and the second is to hold it from the advance button which moves along with the clutch mechanism and the lead.
The second complaint is about the clicking mechanism doesn't seem to be sturdy, and mine is rubbing inside between the mechanism and the barrel. I would say this will not last you a lifetime like the old Versatil will.
Koh I Noor has kept the classic 4 tooth sharpener that is hidden in the advance button. It is a nice touch but 2 mm pencils like Rotring 300 have a better sharpening system built-in. And talking about the sharpener, it comes loose easily. I found the pencil several times without this little part attached, only my luck made me find it in the bag or on the desk. You have to take into consideration that you might lose the sharpener.
You can buy a replacement sharpener from Koh-I-Noor, and this is brilliant. But still, they could have put some more thought in designing them.
After finding the sharpener fallen on the bottom of my rucksack several times I tried fixing the issue. I put some super glue on the threads. In the hope of making a tighter fit. It didn't work as I expected it to and messed with the functionality a bit. Why it didn't work? The superglue created a layer that was too thick and after pouring it on the threads I left it for a bit to dry. Apparently not enough, because when I screwed the sharpener on it got stuck, that I had to use a pair of pliers. At this point, I bent the inside shaft a bit, and now there is a bit of friction between the sharpener, when I press the button, and the barrel. the sharpener is not perfectly centered. It wasn't perfectly centered before either.
The conclusion is, I should have used proper thread glue, which doesn't stick so much and doesn't crack and peel of after a time. I might retry this step at some point with a red or blue Locktite.

These negative points destroy a little bit of the aura of the pencil and the brand name. I don't want to say it is made cheap but I would prefer that Koh I Noor would put a little more effort into making a better pencil.

If you want to czech more things about Koh I Noor you could start with these posts:
Koh-I-Noor Versatil lead holder from 70s
Koh-I-Noor in Prague

Updated 12th of December 2021

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