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The Best Carpenter Pencils for Writing on Wood
Whether you’re a carpenter or a DIYer, if you’re doing any wood-related project, it’s always important to take accurate measurements. Marking areas for sawing or reminding yourself what part goes where with marks and writing helps with fleshing out the final result. You can’t just use any old pencil for the job, however, as not all of them write clearly on rough surfaces such as wood. That’s where carpenter pencils come in.
Made just for carpentry, these pencils aren’t the same tools you use to write or draw. Instead, they make clear and visible marking on wooden surfaces to help you out with your projects. So no matter how large or small your work may be, our favorite carpenter pencils of 2024 are sure to make your life a little easier.Show contentsThe Finest Carpenter Pencil Worth Considering in 2024
Carpenter Pencils Buying Guide
- Irwin Tools Carpenter Pencils - Best Overall
- RevMark Carpenter Pencils - Best Value
- Swanson Tool Co Mechanical Carpenter Pencils - Best Refillable Pencil
- Hiboom Solid Carpenter Pencils - Best for Holes
- Dixon Industrial Carpenter Pencils - Most Premium
Carpenter Pencils Buying Guide
Carpenter pencils are incredibly handy for DIY projects. This buying guide covers what you should know while you’re shopping for them.
What Are Carpenter Pencils?
Carpenter pencils are pencils used for carpentry and woodworking. They are great for making thick lines that last for days and even weeks at a time. These tools function much like regular pencils and are even sharpened in a similar way, but they are used specifically for making heavy-duty markings and measurements.
Carpenter Pencils vs. Regular Pencils
There are a few similarities and differences between regular pencils and carpenter pencils. For one, regular pencils are much thinner and easier to hold for long writing sessions. The design of a regular pencil is meant to make it comfortable on the fingers no matter how you hold it, with a circular shape that persists on all sides.
On the other hand, carpenter pencils have an oval shape that can be a bit awkward to write with at first. The purpose of the oval shape is to prevent the pencil from falling in the event that you place it on a slanted or tilted surface. While a regular pencil would roll down, an oval carpenter pencil stays in place.
Then there’s the thickness. Regular pencils vary greatly in thickness, but they’re generally thin enough that you can make legible and readable lines with them. Carpenter pencils, however, do not care nearly as much about legibility. Instead, they offer thicker and bolder lines, which can help you take note of measurements and markings even from afar.
Finally, there’s the sharpening method. Most regular pencils have a supporting pencil sharpener that you can use to automatically sharpen the pencil with little to no effort. These pencil sharpeners work because the shape of the regular pencil is cylindrical, meaning that it’s got the same shape no matter how you turn the pencil lengthwise.
For carpenter pencils, the sharpening process is a little more involved. You’ll have to manually shave off the wood on the pencil using a knife or similar tool. It does take a bit of time to do and is more dangerous than sharpening regular pencils, but you’re rewarded with a pencil that’s durable and doesn’t roll off the table — which more than makes up for the minor inconvenience of manual sharpening.
Types of Carpenter Pencils
Wooden carpenter pencils
Wooden carpenter pencils are carpenter pencils that need to be manually sharpened. Because they’re made out of wood, they need to be shaved with a sharp tool, and thanks to their oval shape you can’t do it with a traditional pencil sharpener. These carpenter pencils are easy to use and cheap, often sold in packs of three or more.
Mechanical carpenter pencils
Mechanical carpenter pencils use refillable tips to make replacing the lead easy and convenient. The benefit of this design is that you won’t be left with wooden shavings after “sharpening” the pencil. You will need to buy more tips if you want to use the pencil for an extended amount of time, however, and this can cost more than just using a wooden carpenter pencil.
Tips When Sharpening Carpenter Pencils
No matter how experienced you may be with woodwork, it’s still a dangerous task to sharpen a carpenter pencil. You’re moving a sharp blade, and while it’s usually pushed away from yourself, it only takes one slip-up to cut yourself or worse. Make careful strokes when cutting to ensure no accidents occur.
Sharpen in the right location
You can sharpen your carpenter pencil in your garage or shack, but that will leave wooden shavings for you to clean. Instead, consider shaving over some plants so that the shavings can decompose into the soil.
The Finest Carpenter Pencil Worth Considering in 20241– Best Overall28% Off
Traditional carpenter pencils are a little more difficult to sharpen than the average pencil, but this set of pencils by Irwin Tools is definitely an exception. It’s an incredibly reliable pencil made with medium lead. This results in lines that are not too thick but not too thin either, which means you can make visible and readable marks. The quality of the pencil is also worth noting, as its tough wooden exterior is great for heavy-duty environments. With a design that won’t roll off the table, this carpenter pencil is the best choice for DIY carpentry and handiwork.2– Best Value
Looking for a great deal on carpenter pencils? Well, you’ve found it — the RevMark carpenter pencil set comes with a whopping 24 pencils, more than enough to last you at least a few months. Each carpenter pencil also comes with a standard ruler printing on the side, allowing you to use the pencil as a measuring tool or device in a pinch. The green color may not be for everyone, which is why you can also get the pencils in pink, yellow, and white. Great for busy garages and worksites, these bright colors also conveniently make it much harder to lose your pencil. In terms of lead options, there are black and red, which can be useful when taking separate measurements on the same surface.3– Best Refillable Pencil
Ever wanted a mechanical pencil, but for carpentry? This mechanical carpenter pencil by Swanson Tool Co is the ideal choice if you’d rather not get messy whenever you need to resharpen your pencils. Instead of wood, the pencil uses a plastic base and graphite tips that you can remove and replace when the previous tip runs out. Of course, you’ll have to buy extra tips if you want to use the pencil for even longer, but 16 graphite tips should be more than enough for at least a few months.4– Best for Holes20% Off
Some carpentry projects require that you make measurements and markings in hard-to-reach areas which can be very difficult to do with something like a traditional carpenter pencil. The thickness of a regular carpenter pencil makes it almost impossible for it to fit inside small holes. But with this option from Hiboom, that’s no longer a problem. Made for these tight areas, its thin frame makes it quite easy to measure and mark in even the smallest of spaces. This carpenter pencil can also be used and refilled multiple times.5– Most Premium
This set of six carpenter pencils is quite high-quality. Made by Dixon, the pencils are colored in this deep black, giving them a premium look that you won’t find with typical carpenter pencils. The logo also adds to the professional vibe of the pencils. Besides the looks, however, they’re just your average carpenter pencils with an oval shape to prevent rolling over and a body that requires manual sharpening. This pick is sold at a decent price and looks great — and that’s honestly a good enough reason to get these.
Carpenter Pencil FAQQ: Can you draw with carpenter pencils?
A: Carpenter pencils may be ideal for measurements and marking, but they’re also usable for art. In fact, some artists use them specifically due to their thick and bold lines.Q: When should I use a carpenter pencil?
A: You should use a carpenter pencil when you want to make markings on a hard surface (usually wood) for measurement or reference.Q: Are carpenter pencil markings permanent?
A: It depends on the surface. Some surfaces may absorb the lead and keep it in place whereas other surfaces may let the lead easily rub off when pressure is applied.
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