Paper World

Uni Kuru Toga

Auto-sharpening mechanical pencil

The Kuru Toga ($5) is a self-sharpening mechanical pencil that solves a problem that’s inherent with normal mechanical pencils. After just a couple of lines of writing with a typical mechanical pencil, the lead becomes a blunt irregular chisel shape, leading to clumsier and more smeary writing. Experienced pencil users try to counteract this by rotating their pencil every few words, a tactic that works very imperfectly.

The Kuru Toga, however, writes as precisely and evenly as a high quality gel pen by automatically counteracting this problem. An internal ratchet mechanism rotates the lead minutely with every stroke you make, constantly sharpening and rounding the lead against the paper. The resulting writing is noticeably more legible and can be much finer than with a standard pencil – ideal for tasks like coding, diagramming, annotating and general note taking.

The Kuru Toga is not retractable, but it is highly ergonomic, and my 0.5mm specimen (the Kuru Toga also comes in 0.3mm) seems never to suffer from broken leads (I’ve used both HB and 2B leads). Looking at my notebooks, I’ve written about 150 A4 pages with about 30,000 words and diagrams. No sign of wear. It’s surprisingly cheap for being the best pencil I’ve ever found.

-- Jonathan Coupe 10/3/18

(This is a Cool Tools Favorite from 2008 — editors)

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