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Tom’s Studio Mechanical Pencil Review

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As a calligrapher, I spend a lot of time working with pencils. Pencils tend to be far more practical (and quicker) for drafts and working in my sketchbook. I also just so happen to be a huge fan of mechanical pencils so when I found out last year that Tom’s Studio was releasing a mechanical pencil I just had to try it.

About Tom’s Studio

Tom’s Studio is a small company based in England which specialises in high-quality calligraphy pens and other writing tools. The brand focuses on creating high-quality products which last a long time.

Sustainability is a huge part of the brand. Many of Tom’s Studio products offer a more sustainable alternative to typical stationery items. Offering fine liners and fountain pens which can be refilled. Reducing the amount of plastic which typically comes from these items.

One of the things which stands out about this brand is the materials they use to make their writing tools. Plastic has become almost standard with any pen or pencil you might want to buy. Even brands like Muji, who tend to be a little better about sustainability, still use a huge amount of plastic in their products. Tom’s Studio on the other hand make their writing tools out of metal.

I bought my first Tom’s Studio product back in the summer of 2020. A Flourish dip pen (which I will admit was a bit of an impulse purchase). Four years later I’m still using the same dip pen on an almost daily basis. Feels silly to say, but this one pen is an integral part of my calligraphy business. I have 8 or 9 dip pens at this point but my Tom’s Studio pen is the only one I use consistently.

Tom’s Studio Mechanical Pencil

The Tom’s Studio mechanical pencil is one of the latest additions to the product range. A limited run of mechanical pencils was released in the summer of 2023, and I bought my pencil during this time. The mechanical pencils come in a choice of 5 metallic colours, with a gold writing end. This makes them aesthetically very nice to look at, as well as being nice to use.

You have a choice of lead size, 0.5 or 0.7. After using the Leuchtturm Dehdriffel mechanical pencil in 0.7 I’ve come to appreciate this choice. I’ve found the thicker lead works particularly well for pencil calligraphy so this was the size I went for.

The Tom’s Studio mechanical pencils are almost entirely made out of metal. They’re also made by hand by Tom himself. This makes the pencil very hard wearing, after 9 months of use, it looks the exact same as it did when I first bought it. I imagine the metal will gain a patina over time. Though hopefully will not break like its plastic counterparts. The only plastic element in this mechanical pencil is the internal mechanism which holds the lead.

The pencil is very well-balanced. My only gripe, if I can even call it that, is the noticeable difference in weight when compared to a plastic mechanical pencil. Due to the metal components, it is significantly heavier than a standard mechanical pencil. Only you will know if this is an issue, but it is something I noticed as soon as I started writing with it.

The Cost

I can’t lie, the Tom’s Studio mechanical pencil – like most of their writing products – costs significantly more than you might expect to pay for a typical mechanical pencil. These items are high-end products. I bought my mechanical pencil during the initial release so there was a slight discount, you can now expect to pay £65 for this item.

This is expensive, I know. This isn’t the sort of item you would go out and buy on a whim. I would say it’s not intended for casual use. If you’re an artist who uses pencils all the time or someone who appreciates a well-designed writing tool. It might be worth the investment for you.

One thing I will say about Tom’s Studio is that they have a really good repair policy. Yes, you might have to pay out more upfront. But if you ever have any issues with your pens, pencils etc you can send them back for repair. Tom’s Studio is one of the only stationery companies I’ve come across with this policy and I’ve used it so I can confirm they really will fix any issues you might have. It’s one of the advantages of buying from a small company that makes its products by hand rather than mass manufacturing them.

My Thoughts On The Mechanical Pencil

Despite the high price tag, I do love this mechanical pencil. I’ve never really been the type of person who uses the 0.7mm lead but I got into it last year after buying the Leuchtturm mechanical pencil. Weirdly, I found this thickness works well for pencil calligraphy. I’ve ended up with multiple mechanical pencils in various widths because I use them for different reasons.

I guess it’s just a matter of deciding if this mechanical pencil will work for you. Maybe you’re looking for a new mechanical pencil, or there’s a specific need you have for this type of pencil. I’ve found the 0.7mm works great because it’s really easy to create an angle with the pencil lead. I know this can be a problem with mechanical pencils and there are a few specifically designed to stop this from happening. But with pencil calligraphy, you want this angle.

It means it’s extremely easy to write with a thick or thin line by just varying the amount of pressure you put on the pencil. You can do the same thing by creating an angle into the lead of a regular pencil. But (if you ask me) it’s much easier to do with a mechanical because the lead remains the same thickness. If you’re thinking about getting into calligraphy, I would seriously suggest starting with a pencil. You can learn the forms and practice varying pressure before making a mess with ink.

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My one criticism of the Tom’s Studio mechanical pencil, if you could call it that, comes from the weight of the pencil. Yes, it feels a little weird to hold because it’s heavier than a standard pencil but that’s a *me* problem. The real issue comes with storage. I have a ceramic pot which I store all my writing tools in. Something about the weight of the pencil (I can only assume this is the cause) means that it is just heavy enough to shatter the lead while the pencil is stored in this jar.

Again, this is a very small problem and I could fix it by changing where I store the pencil. But I just find it interesting that out of all the writing tools I have, this is the one pencil I have this problem with.

Finally

I do love my Tom’s Studio mechanical pencil. It quickly became part of my workflow and I use it almost every day. I’m confident enough to say these tools will last over time because I have a Tom’s Studio Flourish pen which I’ve been using for almost 4 years and I love it.

If you’re an artist or you know you’ll be using a pencil regularly I do recommend considering something like this. Yes, £65 is expensive, but for something well made, that you know will last a long time. And with a repair program so you know it will be fixed if there are issues. It seems like a worthwhile investment.

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