Faber Castell Tk-Fine Vario Mechanical Pencil Review

Sporting a combination of plastic and metal build, the Faber Castell TK-Fine Vario can be used for both drawing and sketching. Moreover, it’s equipped with features like adjustable lead hardness and control operation for an improved user experience.

Let’s agree – mechanical pencils are an important part of the pencil industry today, with various brands trying something new. While many mechanical pencils stand the test of efficiency and durability, others are nothing more than gimmicks.

So, when we heard of the Faber Castell TK-Fine Vario, we had to test it to see which of the above-mentioned categories it falls into. And if you, too, want to know the same, then continue reading!

Faber Castell Tk-Fine Vario Mechanical Pencil Review

Body Design: Durable And Stylish

The first thing we noticed was the dominating plastic body of this mechanical pencil, which makes it pretty lightweight without compromising durability. It features the brand’s classic dark green color with the logo, and a metal chrome-finished grip highlights the writing end of the pencil.

The upper part has a sturdy and stiff pocket clip, above which sits a twist-up and fairly long eraser. Its “chamber” can be easily removed for refilling the eraser as and when required. 

Measuring 15.4 cm, it’s taller than other pencils, like the Graphgear 1000 or the Zebra Delguard.

Now, some people say that the overall look of the pencil gives more of a retro feel, while others believe that it has a modern design, regardless of you see it, the pencil looks sleek and the green color is spectacular.

Grip section: hit and miss
Ⓒ Architecture Lab | Anton Giuroiu

Grip Section: Hit And Miss

With its chrome-plated body, the pencil’s metal grip section makes for a low center of gravity. This means that the pencil is front-heavy- a design feature that aims to give users with better control of the led. 

However, the flanged base feels and is extremely slippery, and the ridges on the rest of the tapered-in, chiseled grip don’t do much to counter it. As a result, you may have to adjust your grip several times while working. And this can be really frustrating when time is a constraint, or your hands become sweaty .

Lead Indicator Panel: Easy To Read And Adjust

Most mechanical pencils that we have used in the past had their lead hardness indicator panel located just near the click mechanism. But this isn’t the case with the Tk-Fine Vario, as its lead indicator is placed below the grip, right before the lead sleeve.

It ranges from HB to B with clearly visible letters, and you can easily choose the desired lead hardness by simply rotating the panel.

Customizable Mechanical Control: Reduces Lead Breakage

The plastic body of the pencil allows users to customize the mechanical control. In other words, it puts you in charge of deciding whether or not the lead will be spring-loaded. 

You will find the words “soft”  and “hard” on either side of the pencil body (just above the grip) with corresponding arrows. These indicate which way the body should be rotated to achieve the said settings.

Starting with the hard setting, it ensures that the lead’s held absolutely firm in the sleeve, providing better accuracy when speed is of priority (like while drafting). The soft setting, on the other hand, adds some springiness or bounce to the lead, meaning you can push down on it without fearing breakage. This option may also be suitable for users who have a heavy writing hand.

In hindsight, both these options are included to reduce the chances of lead breakage. As such, you may notice very subtle differences between the two.

Removal lead dock: facilitates easy lead refill
Ⓒ Architecture Lab | Anton Giuroiu

Removal Lead Dock: Facilitates Easy Lead Refill

The eraser housing, which also functions as a removable dock for refilling the lead, is very easy to remove with a single pull. Likewise, it can be put back in without applying much force. So, you don’t have to struggle for lead refills when you’re already short on time.

Another thing to note here is that the Tk-Fine Vario dispenses about 10 mm of lead per click, thereby reducing the need for frequent lead refills.

Product Name: TK-Fine Vario 0.5mm | Product Brand: Faber Castell | Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 1.4 x 1.4 cm (L x W x H) | Weight: 0.07 pounds | Ink Color: Graphite | Lead Size: 0.5mm | Grip Material: Metal
Faber castell tk-fine vario mechanical pencil conclusion
Ⓒ Architecture Lab | Anton Giuroiu

Faber Castell Tk-Fine Vario Conclusion

At the end of the Faber Castell Vario review, we’d say that it’s a good purchase for both sketching and writing without requiring you to break the bank. Besides, it comes in 4 lead sizes, so you can pick one according to your needs.

Sure, it’s not free of disadvantages, but with some practice, you should find the best technique to handle it. However, if you don’t want to spare the extra time, especially for perfecting the grip, you may look for another option, the grip might be a huge downsize for professionals.

Checkout our next article on Pentel Graphgear 500 if you are looking for a worth competitor!

Anton G.
Anton is a RIBA accredited architect, when he's offline, he spends his time with the sculpta.ba architecture practice or in the MKR.S crafting studio, laser engraving and laser cutting architecture models. In his free time he geeks over taking care of his pencil and mechanical pencil collection.

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