Seven Reasons The Mechanical Pencil Is A Carpenter’s Best Friend

Seven Reasons The Mechanical Pencil Is A Carpenter’s Best Friend

The first patent application for a mechanical pencil was handed in by Charles R. Keeran in the US in 1915.

Five years later, the Japanese inventor Tokuji Hayakawa applied for a patent for his pencil with a metal core.

However, Keeran’s first mechanical pencil is the base of our modern mechanical pencil today.

Mechanical drawing pencils are often used to draw lines in architectural sketches or for fine-art drawings but they are also very popular with tradesmen, including carpenters.

You don’t need to sharpen a mechanical drafting pencil with a pencil sharpener, and their precision is often much better than a standard pencil.

In this article, we take a closer look at what this type of pencil is and seven reasons why every carpenter should have a mechanical carpenters pencil in his toolbox.

Seven Reasons The Mechanical Pencil Is A Carpenter’s Best Friend

What Is A Mechanical Pencil?

The exact definitions of a mechanical pencil vary depending on the specific design but most mechanical pencils are simply pencils that have a separate, movable lead stick inside which can be pushed forward.

They differ from woodcased pencils in that the lead stick inside is not fixed to the pencil, so the lead can be pushed mechanically (by the push of a button) forward to create the writing tip of the pencil.

It’s not only the different designs that can make a mechanical pencil hard to define but there are also plenty of different names for this type of writing tool.

Some people call them “propelling pencil”, “construction pencils”, “woodworking pencil”, “carpenter marker”, or “automatic pencil” in the United Kingdom. They are also sometimes known as “clicky pencils”.

Mechanical carpenter pencils that are specifically designed for technical drawing are called “technical pencils” or “drafting pencils”. A “deep hole carpenter pencil” is used to accurately mark holes.

In Asia, you can also sometimes find the term “lead pencil” or “pen pencil”.

But no matter what you choose to call a mechanical pencil, they always work in a similar way.

The thin lead stick inside a mechanical pencil is not glued or connected to the casing. This means that the lead can move around freely.

Typically, you have to press a button on your pencil, then a spring inside will move the lead forward just enough, so you have a small pencil tip to write with.

As there is always the perfect length as a writing tip, you do not waste any of the lead. This makes mechanical pencils very economical and practical to write with.

Seven Reasons Why Every Carpenter Should Use A Mechanical Pencil

Mechanical pencils do not just have a much sturdier outer casing that doesn’t break as easily as a wooden pencil, but they also have plenty of other characteristics which come in handy as a carpenting tool.

Here are our seven top reasons why every carpenter should carry a mechanical pencil.

1. 2-In-1 Pencil And Pen Combination

Essentially, a mechanical pencil is a mix of a wooden case pencil and a traditional ballpoint pen.

The outer casing of a mechanical pencil is typically made with sturdy metal. The casing contains the advance mechanism that pushes the lead forward.

There are a range of different mechanisms that are used in different mechanical pencil designs but most work either through clicking or twisting.

Once you work the mechanism, the solid graphite core is pushed forward and you can start writing.

The lead graphite core is just a thin stick which is available in a wide variety of diameters. It’s also thick enough to mark dark surfaces.

However, the most popular writing lead insert is between 0.5 mm and 0.9 mm in diameter.

Similar to a woodcased pencil, the lead is also available in different degrees depending on graphite hardness. 

If you want to change your writing experience, depending on the surface that you write on, then you can mix and match the hardness and diameters of the graphite core.

For example, a solid carpenter pencil works to draw on metal surfaces.

If you want to write on wood and you don’t need to remove the writing later, then it’s best to use a thicker core with a greater hardness to ensure that you can see the writing properly.

2. Doesn’t Need To Be Sharpened

The inventor of the first mechanical pencil called his product “ever-sharp” because the pencil never had to be sharpened.

As the pencil core isn’t connected to the outer casing, you can just insert a new lead core once the old one is worn out, which works kind of like a built-in sharpener.

3. Good Grip

Wood cased pencils continually need to be sharpened, which means you always remove a little bit of your woodworking marking tool and the grip you have of it.

This means that at some point your pencil becomes so small that you just cannot hold it anymore.

On the other hand, you do not ever need to sharpen a mechanical pencil which means the writing tool itself always stays the same, with a good grip, no matter how low the graphite core gets.

Once you are done to the last bit of lead, you just refill the pencil and it is ready to write again.

This makes it very economical because you don’t have to buy another pencil each time you run out.

4. Lasts For Years

Seven Reasons The Mechanical Pencil Is A Carpenter’s Best Friend

As mechanical pencils are made of metal, they are surprisingly sturdy and durable. This means these pencils can last for many years, depending on how well you treat your pencil.

The reason why some mechanical pencils eventually need to be disposed of is because the internal mechanism has worn out.

Although a good-quality mechanical pencil does cost a little more than your standard wooden pencil, it also lasts that much longer.

This saves you plenty of money over the years, and the refill costs are negligible.

5. Lightweight Travel Companion

When you are out and about on a job, you probably need to carry a heavy toolbox with plenty of tools, so the last thing you want is to add weight.

While mechanical pencils are made of metal, they are very lightweight and you can take them wherever you go. They also come with a pen clip design to attach to your pocket.

Plus, you can also protect the tip by pushing it inside the pencils. This means you won’t have any broken lead cores anymore.

6. Resilient When Dropped

Another reason why mechanical pencils are so popular with carpenters and other tradesmen is that they are immensely resistant to damage.

The metal exterior and inner core protect the lead very well. Even when you drop it on a hard surface, the lead will not break.

7. Built-In Eraser

When writing by hand, it can happen very easily that you make mistakes and you need to remove some or all of what you put down.

Just like with some woodcase pencils, mechanical erasers also come with an inbuilt eraser. You can easily replace it, just like the core.

When the eraser comes to an end, you simply replace it with a new one without replacing the entire pencil.

Final Thoughts

Mechanical pencils are a staple in architecture and anywhere where you need to draw, sketch or write.

The best mechanical pencil has many advantages compared to a traditional wooden pencil.

Mechanical pencils have a protected metal outer casing that protects the lead, so it never breaks.

You do not have to replace the whole pencil when the graphite core or eraser runs out. Simply replace them and you are ready to start writing again.

Mechanical pencils are also lightweight, so they can travel wherever you are on the job.


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