The hardness or softness of these pencils was dependent on the quality or purity of the graphite, and so was difficult - or impossible - to control. Alloy % Lead % Tin % Antimony: BHN Hardness: Monotype: 72: 9: 19: 28: Stereotype Legendary Lead offers pencil leads in a wide variety of hardnesses. On the other hand, the mechanical pencil is a clean, convenient, no-fuss tool that is great for writing. Using a Pencil to find out the hardness of a lead alloy. 4B 9. Pencil Hardness BHN. 6B 4-5. Pencil leads are housed in a variety of ways. The term "lead" is a misnomer which originated in the early 1500s when a large deposit of graphite was discovered in England and used to make pencils, scientists incorrectly identified the graphite as a form of the element lead and the name has stuck to this day. 2B 11-12. For general writing, there are medium degrees of hardness which blend the longevity of a hard lead with the dark line of a softer lead. Hardness of Lead Alloys. Instead of me posting his chart here, you can pull his video up on u-tube and watch him do his thing and copy down his chart. If nothing else it will help keep your composition and paper free from lines that won’t fully erase because of the soft lead that has been ingrained into the paper too early. Much cheaper that a lead hardness tester and very quick. This is useful in reloading. 5B 7-8 . Different methods of refining and mixing of graphite were experimented with over the years, but it was not until about 1795 that a Frenchman, Nicolas-Jacques Conté, developed a process for making pencil leads that is still in use today. The wooden pencil offers the most extensive range of lead grades, and its thicker lead allows you to fully appreciate the expressions of each lead grade. Buying a hardness tester is better and way more expensive. The pencil hardness directly effects how your picture will look and can even add some depth should you choose to keep the lighter lines after outlining with your softer lead. 3B 10 . Pencil "leads" as we know them have never been manufactured from the element Lead. Feb 22, 2014 - Pencil Lead Chart Showing Hardness and Darkness Levels Which you choose will depend first on how you intend to use your pencil: technical applications usually require harder leads, while artists prefer softer leads for sketching.