Kuru Toga: A Comprehensive Guide

Kuru Toga: A Comprehensive Guide

January 6, 2015 - Posted by Miriam to Guides, Mechanical Pencils

When you think high-tech, mechanical pencils are probably not at the forefront of your thoughts. Enter the Kuru Toga—the mechanical pencil that is about to change every last conception you ever had about mechanical pencils. This innovative pencil features a built-in mechanism that rotates the lead in the pencil as you write, resulting in a sharp, crisp line for everything you pencil down. Intrigued? Keep reading to find out more about this fascinating pencil.

What's in a Name?
Uni had a lot of fun with coming up with this name! The Kuru Toga is aptly named by taking two words from the Japanese language and merging them together. "Kuru" (クル) is an onomatopoeia for something turning or rotating, and "toga" (トガ) is taken from the verb "togaru" (とがる), meaning to taper to a point or become sharp. The name conjures up an image of something constantly spinning to a precise point, which is exactly what the Kuru Toga does.
Characteristics of Kuru Toga

What sets the Kuru Toga apart from other mechanical pencils is a mechanism that rotates the lead as you write. With regular mechanical pencils, the lead gets worn down on one side while you're writing, resulting in a slanted edge. Every time you write, the lines will look different depending on the angle of the pencil. Even though you may start off with clear lines, the point of the lead is gradually worn down until your line widths are thick and smudgy. What's more, if you pick the pencil back up and start writing with the sharp end (versus the blunt, slanted end), the lead is likely to catch on the paper and may even break.

Kuru Toga has solved this problem with its core rotation mechanism. Using three gears, the lead is twisted through a spring-loaded clutch that turns the lead incrementally every time you lift the pencil (i.e. between words). This allows the lead to be worn down uniformly, resulting in a consistently pointed tip. Your writing will always remain clean and sharp, and you don't have to worry as much about lead breakage.

Kuru Toga also developed a special lead that is softer on the outside and harder at the core, a contrast to Uni's standard lead which is harder outside but softer inside. This works together with the pencil's rotation mechanism to ensure a sharp point at all times.

Form Factor
The design of the Kuru Toga across the different models is relatively similar. The bodies are slim with a grip area that is clearly designated. The Kuru Toga logo is also present in the design, usually as an indicator for the writer to see that the rotation mechanism is working.
Tip Size
The Kuru Toga comes in three tip sizes: 0.3, 0.5, and 0.7 mm. You get the sharpest line with the 0.3 mm; however, the lead is more likely to break (especially if you are heavy-handed) due to its delicate size. We also noticed that it dragged slightly, which is maybe a result of the sharp edge catching on paper. This was not present when we tested the other two sizes.
Product Lines
10 body colors of the Standard in 0.5 mm.
4 body colors of the Standard in 0.3 mm.

The Standard model is the most basic of the Kuru Toga line. We love that the body features a clear grip area where you can clearly see the mechanism at work while you write. The grip also has shallow grooves that allow you to hold the pencil firmly.

Rubber Grip
The Rubber Grip model.
3 body colors of the Rubber Grip model.

The Rubber Grip version stands out from the other models with its rubber grip and lack of a clip. To be honest, we didn't really miss the clip and the little knob that took its place added to the sleek look of the pencil. The knob also features the Kuru Toga logo and is connected to the lead feeder. This is the perfect choice for those who want a little extra comfort in their pencil grip.

High Grade
The High Grade model.
4 body colors of the High Grade in 0.5 mm and 1 body color of the High Grade in 0.3 mm.

With its modern, polished aluminum look, the High Grade model is ideal for professional settings, where a refined appearance is a must. You can still see the Kuru Toga rotation mechanism hard at work through a discreet little circular window located in the grip of the pencil.

The Roulette model.
2 body colors of the Roulette.

The knurled grip of the Roulette is unique to this model, allowing you to have a secure hold on the pencil. The metallic finish on the pencil gives it a luxurious and high-tech feel, making it appropriate for a workplace environment like the High Grade model. The Roulette also has a small circular window at the grip to demonstrate the rotation mechanism.

Starter Set
The Starter Set in 0.7 mm and 0.5 mm.

Exclusive to the US, this starter set includes a pack of lead refills and two replacement erasers with the pencil. We like the convenience of having everything you need in one package. The set comes in two tip sizes: 0.5 and 0.7 mm. The 0.7 mm tip size is smooth and pleasant to write with, best for those who like a bolder line.

Alpha Gel Kuru Toga
6 body colors of the Alpha Gel Kuru Toga.

If the rubber grip on the Rubber Grip model doesn't satisfy you, this Alpha Gel Kuru Toga collaboration has one of the cushiest grips we've ever come across. Its slightly thicker barrel makes it a great choice for those who have bigger hands. This pencil looks significantly different from the other Kuru Toga models, because it adopts the look of the Alpha Gel but features the rotation mechanism of the Kuru Toga.

Kuru Toga Pencil Lead

Like we mentioned earlier, this pencil lead is optimized for use with the Kuru Toga rotation mechanism. With a softer outer layer and a harder core, the lead is able to wear down evenly as it gets rotated, while maintaining a sharp point. The lead comes housed in a streamlined cylinder featuring different case colors. It is available in two different lead grades: HB, and B, but only in 0.5 mm. What lead grade you choose depends on your preference or application.

Final Thoughts

The careful thought behind the construction of the Kuru Toga makes it a revolutionary innovation in mechanical pencil design. We're enjoying the features of this extraordinary pencil, and can't wait to see what the next development brings!

Model Diameter Length Weight Body Colors Tip Sizes Best For
Standard 10.6 mm 14.2 cm 0.6 oz Black, Blue, Green,
Navy, Orange, Pink, Red
0.3, 0.5 mm General
Rubber Grip 10.5 mm 14.6 cm 0.7 oz Black, Blue, Pink 0.5 mm Students
High Grade 9.8 mm 14.7 cm 1.0 oz Black, Blue, Pink, White 0.3, 0.5 mm Professionals
Roulette 9.8 mm 14.6 cm 1.0 oz Gun Metallic, Silver 0.5 mm Professionals
Starter Set 10.6 mm 14.2 cm 0.9 oz Black 0.5, 0.7 mm General
Alpha Gel Kuru Toga 13.2 mm 14.0 cm 1.1 oz Black Grip, Blue Grip,
Red Grip, Lavender Purple, Noble Pink,
Turquoise Blue
0.5 mm Students

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