How to Clear a Mechanical Pencil Lead Jam

By: Guest Author John Hartzog

Have you ever been using a fine lead mechanical or drafting pencil and have the lead jam? The lead has broken inside the lead sleeve and /or the end cap and by trying to advance more lead you have jammed up the pencil with even more broken lead. Here’s an easy way to fix it:

Most drafting pencils have a thin, short metal rod stuck into the eraser under the push button. This is called a clean out rod. You’ll need this to clear the lead jam. (You can also use a stiff wire that will fit inside your lead sleeve.)

To get to the clean out rod under the push button, remove the push button, then the eraser with the clean out rod.

Replace the push button so no lead will spill from the lead reservoir tube. Keep the clean out rod in the eraser and use the eraser as a handle. Next remove the end cap, which houses the lead sleeve, from the pencil.

Depending on your pencil this could be just the very end of the pencil or it could incorporate the grip as well. The end cap will unscrew from the pencil, but on a brand new pencil it may need a little coaxing.

Once the end cap is off the pencil turn it up so that the end of the lead sleeve is pointed up and place the base of the end cap firmly on top of the desk, table or counter top. Holding the end cap firmly in one hand and the clean out rod in the other guide the clean out rod to the tip of the lead sleeve and insert it straight down into the lead sleeve until the end of the eraser contacts the tip of the lead sleeve. Remove the clean out rod and lift the end cap from the desk.

You’ll see the scraps of lead on the desktop. The lead sleeve is now free of broken lead. Replace the end cap and eraser and advance more lead until it protrudes from the end of the lead sleeve.

John is a JetPens customer. You can read more about his passion for pencils on his blog


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