Ever since I saw the drafting pencil section on Jetpens, I've always wondered what exactly makes a drafting pencil different from just your average mechanical pencil? Additionally, what's the deal with all these "leadholder" doohickeys you also see?
After doing some Google research, I found my answer. For those who are also new to high-quality writing implements, I thought I'd share a bit of this newfound wisdom. Lead holders were actually the first graphite pencil in history and were "fabricated to avoid the blackening of the fingers that accompanies handling graphite by inserting a small rod of the substance in the end of what was essentially a hollow stick." The lead holders that exist today are a continuation of their historical forebears. At the most basic level, they are mechanical pencils with really thick lead refills.
So what differentiates a drafting pencil from a mechanical pencil? Here is a short list summary of the differences between the two:
- longer sleeve (around 3-5 mm) - in mechanical pencils, this is the tip where the lead comes out. The longer sleeve on a drafting pencil allows it to glide better along a ruler or template;
- available in many different lead sizes, including 0.3 mm and 0.9 mm, as well as your usual 0.7 mm and 0.5 mm;
- shorter sleeve (around 2 mm);
- normally, models are only available in either 0.5 mm or 0.7 mm lead sizes;
Drafting pencils are most commonly used in architectural/art settings, although I know many student friends who just use them as high-quality mechanical pencils. I myself am debating whether to add a nice drafting pencil to my next Jetpens order as well!