What kind of pencil do you use

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Forum topic by JAY Made posted 07-15-2014 12:21 PM 1957 views 1 time favorited 38 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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JAY Made

202 posts in 2243 days

07-15-2014 12:21 PM

Topic tags/keywords: marking tip question trick

Hey Guys,

I was wondering what kind of pencils do you use in the shop? It seems like every pencil I have really sucks when marking wood the lead breaks way to easy. Does anybody else have this problem? What brand works the best?

-- We all should push ourselves to learn new skills.

38 replies so far

View jeffswildwood's profile


3596 posts in 2176 days

#1 posted 07-15-2014 12:33 PM

I use a .05 lead pencil for delicate marking, a standard (sharp) #2 for other marking and occasionally a red pencil when contrast is needed. I keep a sharpener mounted in my shop and yea, I break the lead a lot also. Would love to try a marking knife but my eyesight is not that great anymore.

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".

View bigblockyeti's profile


5285 posts in 1919 days

#2 posted 07-15-2014 12:40 PM

Most of the time I reach for a sharp #2 pencil in the shop. For drawings I’m taking into the shop, usually I’ll use a 0.5mm mechanical pencil. I don’t take mechanical pencils into the shop anymore due to the inherent hazards they’re exposed to, if I break a #2, no problem, a broken mechanical pencil is a problem.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View whope's profile


143 posts in 2644 days

#3 posted 07-15-2014 12:59 PM

I bought a can of 20 pencils and sharpened them all. I put the sharp ones in a pencil cup and the dull ones back into the box. I change them out relatively frequently. When I get low, I re-sharpen them.

I recenly picked up some Accutrax Pencil Blades. Haven’t had a chance to use them.

For drawing plans, I use a 0.5mm Pentel (P205) pencil. I may get a couple for the shop if the pencil blades don’t work. Problem is that pencils hide when let loose in my shop.

-- Measure it with a micrometer, mark it with chalk, cut it with an axe.

View Mario's profile


182 posts in 3595 days

#4 posted 07-15-2014 01:03 PM

Staedler Tradition Series 3B, need to use an electric sharpener though, it goes through it continually during the day.

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile


1294 posts in 2271 days

#5 posted 07-15-2014 01:39 PM

It is also my margin of error ;) I use medium hard lead, and experience, but still break lead every now and then.

-- Who is John Galt?

View Yonak's profile


986 posts in 1719 days

#6 posted 07-15-2014 01:49 PM

... the lead breaks way too easy. Does anybody else have this problem?

- JAY Made

I wonder why it keeps breaking. My pencils never break unless I drop them on the floor. They’re just regular pencils.

Maybe the lead is broken inside the sheath long before it breaks off while marking. Are your pencils exposed to rough handling for some reason or are they subjected to flexing somehow ?

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30052 posts in 2537 days

#7 posted 07-15-2014 02:03 PM

I use mechanical pencils. Never have a problem and they are always sharp.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View dogmir's profile


25 posts in 2171 days

#8 posted 07-15-2014 02:23 PM

It really depends on the task. I love my fastcap fatboy clutch pencil. I also have hundreds of various #2 lying everywhere.

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 2568 days

#9 posted 07-15-2014 02:51 PM

I use this :

Every once in a while they go on sale for something like $2/dozen. When that happened, I picked up 3 dozen. That was about 2 years ago, and I still have most of them. But, when one does wander off and get lost, I don’t really care. Usually after I finish a project, I find 3 or 4 of them as I clean up.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3507 days

#10 posted 07-15-2014 03:30 PM

I use Pentel pencils in both .5 and .9mm leads. I have about 2 dozen of them spread out around the shop so I can always have one near by when needed. I don’t like having pencils or anything else in my shirt pocket

View PeteMoss's profile


207 posts in 3669 days

#11 posted 07-15-2014 03:37 PM

I like the Lee Valley wooden pencils in B hardness.

-- "Never measure......cut as many times as necessary." - PeteMoss

View helluvawreck's profile


32087 posts in 3065 days

#12 posted 07-15-2014 04:10 PM

I use regular no. 2 pencils. Ocassionally I’ll use the heavier carpentry pencils. I have an old fashioned crank handle pencil sharpener in the shop and will sharpen maybe a dozen pencils at a time when I’m out of sharp ones and I usually have two or three sharp pencils in the bib pockets of my overalls.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Timberwerks's profile


360 posts in 3360 days

#13 posted 07-15-2014 04:21 PM

I use 2.0 mm lead holders and pointers, very easy to get a fine point for accurate marking & layout.


View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 2568 days

#14 posted 07-15-2014 04:29 PM

For marking dovetails, I use nothing other than a quill pen made from a dove’s tail feather.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View Richard H's profile

Richard H

489 posts in 1879 days

#15 posted 07-15-2014 04:46 PM

I have both a .5mm mechanical pencil and a box of regular school pencils. I tend to use the regular pencils 90% of the time because most of the marking I do just needs to be close. I’ll measure or better yet reference off another piece when I need to be dead on. If I do need a dead on mark I use a marking knife of which I have three. The mechanical pencil is nice to reenforce a knifed line when I want to be able to see it easily but unless the piece is very smooth it’s not great device to mark with and it breaks really easily if you don’t take a light touch.

I also use a fine tip sharpie or felt tip pen of a couple different colors a lot when I am breaking down stock into smaller pieces.

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