how to unblock mechanical pencils?


Does anyone else have problems with mechanical pencils? Mine seem to have such a short life :>( One of them is at the top of this doodle.

I love them because you don't have to sharpen them and the eraser is part of the pencil and so they are ideal for minimal equipment sketching.

They always always seem to eventually get clogged or the mechanism fails. How to unclog them? a really fine needle isn't fine enough or strong enough it seems. Is there something I could soak them in ? like oil or something?

These doodle were done with a Kuretake pen - which I find a bit scratchy somehow. I'm not sure how much I like the feel of it in use.


I buy the disposable mechanical pencils. The limitation is that they only come in .7 and .5 thicknesses. I've never had trouble with them. When one 'lead' is used up, I do have to shake the next one down and click several times to make it go, but once it's down, it's fine. I don't think you should soak the pencil in oil or anything, it might ruin your picture later on. Best of luck to you!
Jeanette said…
I've occasionally had a problem with mechanical pencils seizing up too. I don't have a solution to fix them, but I don't spend huge amounts of money on them so don't feel too bad when they do die.

The price range for most of my mechanical pencils is about $6 to $10 and perhaps one a year dies.
Laurghita said…
I often use same graphite bars, 0.5 or o.7 mm slowly inserted from outside to inside in the pencil tip. You must have a steady hand tough, or you break the bars on the process.
vivien said…
mmm that's probably the answer - buy cheap and throwaway Katherine and Jeanette

Laurghita I'll try the steady hand thing - but it's not my strong point!

thanks for the help :>)
WC Lee said…
Never had any problems with the mechanical pencils I brought besides misplacing most of them. I still have a few (.03 and .05s) from over 20 years ago and they still work fine.

The only thing I can think of that would cause a clog or the mechanism to malfunction is if the lead broke inside the pencil between the mechanism and the metal tip. The tip can usually be screwed off on most mechanical pencils except the disposable ones I think. If it does, try wiping it clean and if that don't work, try it again with rubbing alcohol.
vivien said…
thanks for that - I'll have to try alcohol. It is the lead blocking the nozzle bit usually but I can't get a strong enough fine needle to unclog it - alcohol could work .... I'll try it.

I think possibly rubbing alcohol is what we call surgical spirit - it shouldn't do any harm and may do some good :>)

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