Are Faber Castell Mechanical Pencils Any Good for Carpenters?

Are Faber Castell Mechanical Pencils Any Good For Carpenters?

A pencil is one of the most important tools that a carpenter owns. It is used to note measurements, marking cutting points, write reminders and a multitude of other things.

For years carpenters used ordinary pencils, but with mechanical pencils entering the arena we ask, are Faber Castell mechanical pencils any good for carpenters?

Are Faber Castell Mechanical Pencils Any Good for Carpenters?

What Are Carpenter’s Pencils?

Carpenter’s pencils are an essential tool for those who work with wood. You will rarely see a carpenter without a pencil behind his ear, and they will often have several floating around their toolbox.

These pencils are used for marking all kinds of wood, from rough framing timbers to kitchen cabinets.

A pencil is essential for taking measurements or as a reminder of where a part goes.

However, carpenter’s pencils are not the same type that you would use to draw and write with.

They are designed to be harder and make more obvious marks that stay visible for days or even weeks at a time, making them one of the most important marking tools for carpenters.

Wooden Pencils Vs Faber Castell Mechanical Pencils For Carpenters

Most carpenter’s pencils are, unsurprisingly, made of wood. They are also typically flat. But there are also mechanical pencils for woodworking.

These are also called automatic or technical pencils.

Wooden Pencils

These traditional wooden pencils have been the carpenter’s aid for many years and most woodworkers have used them.

Many prefer them as they are quite inexpensive and as they do tend to get lost or broken this is an obvious benefit.

However, a wooden pencil does need to be sharpened regularly to keep the lead sharp and easy to use.

Luckily as a carpenter you will have a host of sharp tools to do this with, a chisel is a popular choice for pencil sharpening.

Faber Castell Mechanical Pencils

Mechanical pencils have migrated into many trades and occupations from their original purpose. They are now widely used for their convenience and durability.

Unlike wooden pencils, mechanical pencils do not need to be sharpened with a pencil sharpener.

This is a bonus when you are doing a lot of marking on timbers and your lead wears down quickly.

With a mechanical pencil there is no need to go looking for a chisel to sharpen your pencil.

A quick click and you have all the lead you need for marking your woodwork, just like a drafting pencil.

These mechanical pencils however are not specifically designed for carpenters and as such may be too delicate for the job.

Work sites can be notoriously tough places and most tradesmen prefer something rugged to withstand the inevitable knocks and drops that occur.

Are Faber Castell Mechanical Pencils Good For Woodworking?

Faber Castell makes mechanical pencils that can be used in woodworking or for architectural drafting.

They are constructed as a lead holder and come with different colored solid lead refills.

These mechanical pencils can be used for marking timbers, noting measurements and drawing cutting lines.

They are reasonably robust and can be sharpened with the appropriate sharpener, usually provided in the pack.

You can choose a fairly simple and basic mechanical pencil especially if you are going to be out on construction sites.

There’s always a chance that you will drop it or lose it at some point so inexpensive mechanical pencils make sense.

One of the downsides of using a mechanical pencil as a carpenter is that the lines that you can draw with them tend to not be as thick and bold as a traditional carpenter’s pencil.

This may make the markings hard to see which is not a good thing on a building site.

Often a carpenter will leave marks on timber framing not only for themselves but for other trades as well.

Sometimes as an indication of where a window or door is going or where pipework or electrics should be routed.

If these marks aren’t clear it can lead to all sorts of mistakes and possibly expensive problems.

Carpenters Pencils Vs Regular Pencils

Are Faber Castell Mechanical Pencils Any Good for Carpenters?

There are some similarities between a regular pencil and a carpenter’s pencil. For instance, they can both be used to write with or to make marks for measuring.

Both types of pencils can be sharpened although the shape of a carpenter’s pencil means a standard sharpener won’t work on it.

Most tradesmen use a sharp tool such as a chisel to sharpen their pencils.

But carpenter’s pencils are designed to be used on wood and so the lead is much harder than an ordinary pencil.

They are also typically flat or oval shaped so that they don’t roll off uneven or sloping surfaces such as a roof.

Regular graphite pencils are thinner and more often than not are round. So they are much more comfortable to hold which allows you to write for longer with them.

A regular pencil will also have a much softer lead than a carpenter’s pencil as they are meant to be used on paper.

The hard lead in a carpentry pencil would tear most paper as it is meant for tougher surfaces such as wood.

The lead in both carpenter and regular pencils is not actually lead but a mixture of graphite and clay. The higher the percentage of graphite the softer and darker the lead is.

What Pencils Do Carpenters Use?

So we have seen that there are wooden carpenter’s pencils and mechanical pencils but what about the lead in the pencils? There are generally three types of lead, soft, medium and hard.

Soft lead is good for making marks on new timber such as softwood. They tend to make darker marks on the wood.

However, these marks can be easily removed by lightly rubbing down with sandpaper. Soft lead pencils wear down quite quickly.

Medium lead is good for general use and won’t wear down as rapidly as a soft lead pencil.

The marks, as you would expect, fall between the dark of the soft lead and light of the hard lead pencils.

Hard lead is much more durable and will not wear away as quickly as other pencils. They are abrasion resistant and can be used to write on brick, plastered walls and hardwood.

This lead leaves a finer and lighter mark than the soft or medium lead pencils.

Little Known Facts About Carpenter’s Pencils

You’ll find that most carpenter’s pencils are flat but do you know why?

Well there’s nothing more frustrating than when you’re working, and you put your pencil down, and it decides to roll away.

Quite often your pencil will manage to fall behind the stud work or worse, off the roof you’re working on.

So now carpenter’s pencils are flat so that when you put them down they stay where they’re put.

Another handy use for flat carpenter pencils is to employ as a consistent gap divider when you are laying something like decking.

By using your pencil as a gap guide between each piece of decking you know they will all be evenly spaced.

Final Thoughts

We hope this foray into the world of carpenter’s pencils has been enlightening for you.

Hopefully, you will now be able to decide which of these pencils is right for you whether that is a Faber Castell mechanical pencil or a traditional wooden pencil.


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