The Pacific Arc H-1304 Lead Holder

This is the lead holder that got me into mechanical pencils. After discovering erasable pens in the 7th grade I viewed pencils in general as a necessary evil for scantron testing and drawing. The only mechanical pencils available near me were very cheap and the lead would break and retract on me while writing. But then, a few years ago while shopping at St Louis Art Supply I came across this Pacific Arc lead holder. The gnurled grip was cool on my fingers and added heft to the front of the pencil. The tiny chuck held the lead tightly, and the lead itself was thick! I bought it right then and there and now have a collection of 4 lead holders.

Lead holders combine the durability, weight, and precision of a mechanical pencil with the unique lead qualities of a woodcase pencil. They were invented in 1862 by A.W. Faber as a solution for architects and draftspeople who were fed up with gradually shrinking wooden pencils. Lead holders are usually “gravity fed,” meaning that you need to hold down the back cap to release the clutch and the lead will slide out. When you’re finished using your lead holder you just hold down the cap again and slide the lead back inside the pencil.

The H-1304 comes loaded with 2mm 2B (I think) lead. It’s one of Pacific Arc’s basic lead holder models, so it doesn’t have a lead grade indicator, but it does have a lead pointer inside the back cap. To use it you just extend the lead about 3/4 of an inch, pop the cap off, insert the lead in the little hole and turn until the lead is sharpened to your liking. This lead pointer gets the job done but there’s nothing to catch the lead shavings. For a lead pointer that has a compartment for shavings, I’d suggest this one (or this one) from Kum.

The aluminum knurled grip prevents slipping if your hands are sweaty, and is cool to the touch. I’m not sure what grade the lead is that comes with this pencil, but it’s pretty soft and puts down dark lines without needing too much pressure. The nice thing about lead holders and mechanical pencils is that you can find a body you like and use whatever lead you prefer as long as it’s the correct thickness.

If you’ve read this review and would like an H-1304 for yourself, please consider clicking this Amazon affiliate link to purchase one. By clicking on said link and making a purchase, I may earn a small commission. It’s a way to support this blog at no extra cost to you!


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