9 Replies to “Why I Never Use A Pencil For Woodworking”

  1. I agree with you that the cone tipped pencil is less than ideal for accurate marking when making precision cuts or other layouts. The problem with graphite and ink are the residues they tend to leave in the wood, thus diminishing their effectiveness. The 0.5 lead mechanical pencil will allow for very fine marking but suffers from too faint a line when using HB and 2H leads. I tend to favor the use of the marking knife when using hand tools as it has more favorable uses in conjunction with hand saws, chisels, and even planes. The knife line allows a slight groove to guide a hand saw or chisel for precise work. It all depends on what applications you wish to use. In home construction the old carpenter's pencil has great advantages although one must master the process of sharpening it correctly. The reason for the oval lead is so that you can turn the pencil broadside to lay a wide mark where you want the saw blade to cut. You cut on that line, not to one side.

  2. I've been using pens for marking for a while. I always felt a little funny doing so, though, because I didn't see anyone else doing it. This video has provided me with a little affirmation. Thanks.

  3. Please be aware that I agree to allow comments on this video but make a special request that you leave comments that add to the knowledge base of using the ball point pen. Eg what are the best ball point pens for marking, say upwards and with the finest tips. We already know that the majority of woodworkers use a pencil so there is no point endorsing it here. I welcome open debate on my future video that will show all the traditional methods across the woodworking spectrum for marking.

  4. I understand what you mean about the use of a pencil and going blunt. When working in a workshop with school students (12-17) I always ask for sharp pencils and try to focus on the setup.

    I personally use a mechanical pencil or a marking knife. As I cannot have a marking knife at school, I’ve grown accustomed to not using it often.

    I have now had my mind blown by listening to you talk about using a ball point pen whilst marking wood. This is so counter intuitive to everything I’ve been taught and teach to my students. I understand stand not physically marking the timber, but the bleeding of ink into timber? I’m not knocking the approach, just something I wouldn’t have thought of in this forum.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *