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Here's a question for all you leadholder users (hopefully lots of you). Which in your opinion is the best 2mm lead for writing both in manufacture and grade. At the moment favourite is HB lead recovered from  old Staedtler Noris wooden pencils. When I bought my Caran d'Ache Fix Pencil I ordered a pcket of B leads from the same manufacturer but I'm dissappointed as for me they're too smooth. I lika a bit of drag with my writing. Oops! that sounds a bit naughty but you know what I mean.

All replies appreciated.

 

Mike-S

It matters not with what you write,

 

just write.

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hari317

I am a great fan of koh I Noor 2mm leads (4190). They have a wide variety of grades available. 2B should be fine for writing. I like dark. I also use their 8B a lot. HTH. 

In case you wish to write to me, pls use ONLY email by clicking here. I do not check PMs. Thank you.

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flatline

The Caran d'Ache lead almost feels greasy when writing, doesn't it?

 

Uni lead is super smooth and provides some feedback. It can feel a little greasy on smooth paper, but I don't normally notice it.

 

Staedtler Mars Carbon lead is also smooth, gives excellent feedback, and never feels greasy, even on glossy paper. This is my favorite lead (if I had to pick one).

 

Rotring lead feels similar to Staedtler, but not as smooth. I find it useable, but prefer both the Staedtler and Uni leads.

 

If you want grippy lead, then Koh-i-Noor and Faber-Castell are both pretty grippy. It's my impression that FC lead is grippier than K-i-N, but I can't stand grippy lead so I've never really done careful comparisons between the two (I simply give the lead away to a friend who doesn't mind grippy lead). Both brands have excellent reputation and plenty of fans.

 

All these brands make a consistent product, so if you find a lead from them that you like, you can buy more of it with confidence.

 

My recommendation is to try either the Uni or Staedtler leads. They're both amazing. Just be aware that the Uni grades are softer than the Staedtler grades. A Uni HB is somewhere between a Staedtler B and 2B. A Staedtler HB is somewhere around a Uni F or H.

 

Good luck finding something you like!

 

--flatline

 

 

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BayesianPrior

I second Staedtler Mars Carbon.

 

Faber Castell has a strange sticky greasiness.  Like when you cook frozen fish on a baking sheet, and then forget to clean it properly, and the next time you cook something the residual oils darken and harden into a smooth sticky film. 

bayesianprior.png

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Azkim Rikschum

For free writing I use the 4B lead (steadtler) and never sharpen it. (It gets a nice fat round dome while you write... and then I keep it as it is)

Used in this manner it is bold and buttery, and I like it for words and schemes/brainstorming, on a plain A4 copier sheet.

 

Edited by Azkim Rikschum
typos
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flatline

When you do get some lead, let us know what you think of it!

 

--flatline

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flatline
8 hours ago, Azkim Rikschum said:

For free writing I use the 4B lead (steadtler) and never sharpen it. (It gets a nice fat round dome while you write... and then I keep it as it is)

Used in this manner it is bold and buttery, and I like it for words and schemes/brainstorming, on a plain A4 copier sheet.

 

 

I do the same with my incremental advance lead holders. They're such a bother to sharpen that I usually just load them with 2B or 4B lead and use them for "bold writing" like you've described.

 

The Ohto "Sharp Pencil" (oh, the irony) is good for this since it's a big pencil to begin with.

 

--flatline

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On 4/26/2021 at 4:31 PM, Mike-S said:

Which in your opinion is the best 2mm lead for writing both in manufacture and grade.

The best in my opinion are Conté Criterium 7550 and Koh-I-Noor leads.

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flatline

I've never heard of the Conte Criterium 7550 lead before. Can you describe how it compares to other leads like the Steadtler, Uni, or Koh-I-Noor?

 

--flatline

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Honeybadgers

I DETEST koh-i-noor. it feels like writing with 40 grit sandpaper. Scratchy and inconsistent. 

 

For smoothness, UNI and caran d'ache are the best I've found. Staedler is solid too. B caran d'ache and B uni are buttery compared to koh i noor, which somehow feels like (bleep) even at 6B and 8B.

Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)

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mr T.
On 4/29/2021 at 4:08 PM, flatline said:

I've never heard of the Conte Criterium 7550 lead before. Can you describe how it compares to other leads like the Steadtler, Uni, or Koh-I-Noor?

Conté Criterium is also sold as Bic Criterium. The 2mm leadholders I used are a Lyra Orlow 6316 and a Bic Criterium 2613 (HB and B). Staedtler Mars leads are very average in my opinion. I find the Staedtler Mars leads a bit hard/scratchy compared to the Criterium leads. The Criterium leads are (where I live) also much cheaper than the leads from Staedtler and are, in my experience, more consistent in terms of overall quality. The Criterium leads are in my opinion excellent value. Steadtler Mars leads are in my opinion overpriced and overrated. Koh-I-Noor leads are also much more affordable and tend to be a bit softer compared to Staedtler Mars. Never used a Uni/Mitsubishi product.

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hari317
4 hours ago, mr T. said:

Conté Criterium is also sold as Bic Criterium. The 2mm leadholders I used are a Lyra Orlow 6316 and a Bic Criterium 2613 (HB and B). Staedtler Mars leads are very average in my opinion. I find the Staedtler Mars leads a bit hard/scratchy compared to the Criterium leads. The Criterium leads are (where I live) also much cheaper than the leads from Staedtler and are, in my experience, more consistent in terms of overall quality. The Criterium leads are in my opinion excellent value. Steadtler Mars leads are in my opinion overpriced and overrated. Koh-I-Noor leads are also much more affordable and tend to be a bit softer compared to Staedtler Mars. Never used a Uni/Mitsubishi product.

I share your opinion reg the staedtler leads. I haven’t tried the bic yet. 
 

I wish pilot made 2mm leads, or do they already? I love their neox 4B 0.5mm. 

In case you wish to write to me, pls use ONLY email by clicking here. I do not check PMs. Thank you.

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Karmachanic

The only been able to find HB Criterium leads.

"Simplicate and add Lightness."

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flatline

I'll keep an eye out for Criterium leads now that I know they exist. As far as price goes, I get Uni leads for about $0.60 each and Staedtler for about $1.50 each. For as long as they last, I don't worry much about the price difference but I totally understand that someone else might, especially if they use a lot of lead.

 

The original post was interested in writing, so a super inexpensive option is to pick up a big pack of USA Gold woodcase pencils during the back to school sales (ends up being $0.05 - $0.08 per pencil in my area) and then remove the lead. I find the USA Gold lead to be very consistent and pleasant to write with. Also, the USA Gold lead is 2mm and fits every lead holder I have. If you try the same trick with Dixon Ticonderoga you'll find that the lead is just enough wider than 2mm that it may not fit your lead holder. Staedtler Norica lead is even wider but, frustratingly enough, still not wide enough to work in my 3mm lead holder. The Koh-i-Noor and Alvin lead holders that have 4-prong clutches have no problem with any of these wider leads. My Prismacolor Turquoise and Uni holders can handle some of them.

 

I  recently found a USA Titanium pencil that has a softer, darker lead than the USA Gold, but I didn't get a chance to try the lead in a lead holder because one of the kids claimed it. If the Titanium is as consistent as the Gold, it might make a nice option if you want darker lines.

 

--flatline

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Honeybadgers

I just got a pack of prismacolor "turquoise" leads in red color, and they're kinda unbelievable. Compared to the old red Koh-i-noors I'd been using that felt like really crumbly crayons, these things are outstanding, smooth and rich, and don't crumble when sharpened.

 

They also have leads in an outrageous variety of hardnesses, from 6b to 9H. Picking up some HB right now.

 

Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)

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mr T.
On 5/2/2021 at 8:20 AM, hari317 said:

I wish pilot made 2mm leads, or do they already? I love their neox 4B 0.5mm. 

Never seen Pilot 2mm leads. The alternative that Pilot seems to offer for 2mm leads are the 4mm Croquis leads

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flatline

As far as I know, Pilot doesn't have any 2mm products. They have the 4mm Croquis lead holders, but those are a twist action rather than a clutch.

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flatline

Anyone have any experience with the June Gold 2mm lead available on Amazon?

 

$5 for 108 pieces of either HB or 2B seems like a tremendous deal, but only if the lead is actually good enough to use. Once I'm allowed to go back to the office (stupid pandemic!), I plan to give lead holders to my coworkers that currently use wooden pencils and I'd like to have a stash of lead for them.

 

I've perused the amazon reviews and people who get the HB seem to have trouble with the leads arriving broken, but I didn't see any complaints at all about the 2B.

 

Edit: I was filtering wrong. There are amazon reviews about the 2B breaking during shipment, but it still seems to be less of an issue with the 2B than the HB.

 

--flatline

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hari317

Is 4B the darkest you get in UNI 2mm? 

In case you wish to write to me, pls use ONLY email by clicking here. I do not check PMs. Thank you.

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flatline

4B is the darkest on JetPens. I tried to find an official site, but gave up after wading through a couple of pages of Google results.

 

--flatline

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