How To Refill The Lead On Any Carpenters Mechanical Pencil

How To Refill The Lead On Any Carpenters Mechanical Pencil

Mechanical drawing pencils are a very handy drawing tool that can be used in a wealth of professions, including carpentry. However, they can be a little bit tricky to refill if you aren’t used to using them. 

In this article, we are going to be providing you with a step-by-step guide on how to refill your mechanical carpenter pencil, as well as offering a bit of information about these kinds of pencils in general and why they are often used for carpentry.

Let’s get started.

What Is A Mechanical Pencil?

Although definitions tend to vary, the general consensus is that the term mechanical pencil (also known as a deep-hole carpenter pencil) relates to any pencil that features a lead advance mechanism that allows the lead to be pushed forward. 

Some other terms for mechanical pencils include propelling pencils, technical pencils, and automatic pencils. 

The Uses Of A Mechanical Pencil

Whilst wood-cased pencils certainly have their merits – particularly those with square casings, which are useful for carpenters as the shape helps prevent them from rolling away – mechanical carpenter pencils are a handy tool that was created with ease of use and functionality in mind. 

Here are some of the reasons why you might want to consider a mechanical pencil over a traditional wooden pencil when it comes to woodworking marking needs. 

Balance Consistency

One of the issues with wooden pencils is that as the lead gets shorter, the balance within the pencil changes, and it becomes more difficult to maintain stability when using it.

This can lead to issues when being used in a profession such as carpentry where accuracy and precision are key.

Mechanical pencils don’t have this problem, which can make them a more attractive option for those who need to maintain balance when using pencils in their work.

Line Width Consistency

Newly sharpened pencils are able to create thin lines with a needle nose tip, but as the lead wears down from use, the pencil lead will get progressively thicker. 

Traditional carpenter pencil lead will always stay the same, which offers a level of predictability that can’t be found with standard wooden pencils.

Consistency can also be an important factor when it comes to using pencils in a profession such as carpentry, due to the precision that is needed, and so this is an important factor in this regard. 

No Need for Sharpening

Wooden pencils can be frustrating when they need to be sharpened, as they can interfere with work and be an unnecessary hassle. 

One of the best things about mechanical pencils is that there is no need for a pencil sharpener, which can be a big time saver in the long run.

A nice precision mechanical pencil that doesn’t need sharpening is generally very convenient.

Can Be Refilled

When the leads within mechanical pencils start to wear down, you can refill them.

This creates a somewhat more environmentally friendly choice if you have the same pencil and continue to refill it, rather than just purchasing new ones. 

The refillable nature of a mechanical pencil is – of course – also the main subject of this article!

Different Mechanical Pencil Mechanisms

Different Mechanical Pencil Mechanisms

There are different kinds of mechanisms for different types of mechanical pencils, but most of them have a similar way in which they work, which is via a button on the end of the pencil which will feed out the lead whenever it is needed.

The lead can then be retracted by pressing the button in and then gently maneuvering the lead back into the pencil case.

There are a few variations in terms of the kind of mechanisms that mechanical pencil can have, including the following:

  • Shaker Mechanisms: These mechanisms can help solve the issue of having to keep stopping to click more lead out of the pencil. All you need to do is shake the pencil up and down firmly, which will trigger a hidden weight inside. 
  • Twist Click Mechanisms: A drafting pencil with this mechanism allows you to twist the top of the pencil barrel to click the lead forward. When this is done, all you need to do is release it and the lead will stay in place whilst the top springs back. This mechanism is pretty similar to the standard clicking one, but it replaces the pushing motion with twisting. Twist click mechanisms also tend to use an adapter, which features a lead tube, a cap that can be removed to add more pencil leads, and the entirety of the pencil mechanism.
  • Continuous Twist Mechanisms: Though not as common as other mechanisms, there are still some mechanical pencils that use this screw-like design. The mechanism allows the user to wind the lead down when it is used. Once the lead is finished, a stub is removed and a new lead can be put into the mechanism. Simply wind it back to the top and there you have it!

Refilling A Mechanical Pencil

Now that you have an idea as to how a mechanical pencil works and how it is different from a traditional pencil - as well as the benefits of using a mechanical pencil and the different mechanisms involved - let’s now get to the main subject at hand: refilling your mechanical carpenters pencil.

Step 1

Make sure that you have the correct size refill for your particular mechanical pencil, as not all lead refills are the same diameter. 

If you are unsure of the lead size that you need, you should be able to find it printed onto the pencil itself near the eraser. 

Step 2 (If You Don't Have A Click Button, You Can Skip This Step)

If your pencil is one that utilizes a click mechanism, locate the click button. This is usually found on the side or on the top.

Hold the button down as you tap the pencil when it is in an upright position, as this allows any lead particles to come out. 

Refill the new lead by gently inserting it into the shaft of the pencil. 

Press the release button and click it repeatedly until the new lead aligns itself into the correct position. 

Step 3 (If You Don't Have A Twist Mechanism, You Can Skip This Step)

Find the twist mechanism on your pencil, which is usually found at the top of the pencil or in that general area. 

Gently twist the mechanism clockwise. This should open the shaft. 

Once open, carefully insert the lead into the casing, making sure that you refill it at your preferred depth. 

Twist the mechanism counterclockwise to tighten it up again.

Step 4 

Test the pencil to make sure that everything is working correctly. If you have any issues with the lead not coming out, carefully reopen the pencil and refill it again. 

Final Thoughts

You should now have all of the information that you need to successfully refill a carpenter's mechanical pencil! 

Remember to check that you have the right lead size and that you are always gentle when refilling your pencil. Don’t force it, or you could risk breakage. 

Maintain your mechanical pencil with care, and it should last you for many years to come!


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