Wooden Pencils Vs Mechanical Pencils For Carpenters - What's The Difference

Wooden Pencils Vs Mechanical Pencils For Carpenters – What’s The Difference?

Pencils are an essential tool for carpenters as they are used to mark the wood that they are working on with various shapes and lines that are later used as guides to shape to cut the material. But which pencils are the best for carpenters to use?

In this article, we are going to be comparing wooden and mechanical pencils, looking at the difference between them, and considering which is best suited for carpentry. Let's get started.

Wooden Pencils

Wood pencils feature a graphite core that is encased in wood.

As well as graphite, this core also features clay, though the ratio of clay to graphite within the core will vary depending on several factors, including the hardness or softness of the pencil lead, the smoothness of the lead, or how dark or light it is.

This is why these pencils are also called graphite pencils.
This pencil type can also include colored pencils, which are ideal for artists.

Mechanical Pencils

Mechanical pencils are not encased in wood, with their lead being free from its casing. There are three different kinds of mechanical pencils: clutch pencils, general-purpose pencils, and drafting pencils.

Clutch pencils are the most traditional and the oldest form of the mechanical pencil, also known as lead holders. They are not completely like the standard mechanical pencil, though, as the lead within them does not emerge with a push button mechanism.

Clutch pencils instead use a spring-loaded clutch mechanism in which the lead is held in place. The push button controls the clutch opening, which lets the lead drop until you let go of the push button.

Once the button is released, the mechanism will close and the jaws of the device will hold the lead in place.

General purpose mechanical pencils are typically used for sketching, geometry, or writing. They tend to have a lead thickness of between 0.5mm and 0.7mm, with the finer option being better suited for sharper lines.

The 0.7mm option is the standard for general-purpose mechanical pencils, with the lines being comparable to that of a pen with a fine point.

Drafting pencils are mechanical pencils that have a professional quality and are usually used for technical drawing. Due to this, they are often referred to as technical pencils.

The main lead diameters of a drafting pencil range from 0.3mm up to 0.9mm. Some other common lead diameters include 0.5mm and 0.7mm, much like the general purpose mechanical pencils.

Drafting pencils have a lead sleeve that is longer than a general purpose pencil, though, making them better for working with straight edges.

These pencils also have several other benefits due to their professional nature, including a lead grade indicator that is built into the pencil itself.

Which Is Better For Carpenters?

Which Is Better For Carpenters

Both wooden and mechanical pencils can be used by carpenters, and both have their advantages and disadvantages.

Wooden pencils are more popular in this profession, though, as the lead within mechanical pencils isn't always as durable and robust as those in traditional wooden pencils.

This means that mechanical pencil lead can break more easily. Since the lead within wooden pencils is bonded to the wood, they are much less likely to break under pressure.

That being said, wooden pencils are not without their downfalls when it comes to being used for carpentry.

As wooden pencils need to be manually sharpened, it can become quite frustrating for carpenters to keep stopping their work to sharpen the pencil if they need to use it frequently.

On the other hand, mechanical pencils can be much easier in this regard as they use refillable tips.

These tend to be more convenient to use, but it doesn't change the fact that the lead can be more difficult in terms of maintaining their integrity in comparison to wooden pencils.

Carpenter Pencils

The best alternative to both wooden and mechanical pencils is the carpenter's pencil, which - as the name suggests - is designed specifically for use by carpenters (though they are a type of wooden pencil in general).

Let's take a closer look at the carpenter pencil to see what it offers and how it differs from regular wooden and mechanical pencils.

Carpenter pencils are a graphite pencil that tends to be made from high-quality hardwood, with most of them having a similar composition.

Some of the wood that carpenter pencils tend to be made from include beech wood, oak wood, and ash wood.

The durability and strength of these kinds of wood make them a particularly popular choice for carpenter's pencils.

The aforementioned graphite core found in both wooden and mechanical pencils can be found within carpenter's pencils too.

Although regular pencils are made from wood (though typically not built with wood that is as sturdy as those that carpenter pencils are made from), they have a completely different shape.

Whereas regular wooden pencils tend to be round, carpenter pencils are designed to be either rectangular or square in shape.

This change in shape is to make sure that the pencil does not roll away from the carpenter when they are working on a slanted surface.

The shape also means that carpenters pencils cannot be sharpened with pencil sharpeners.
There are also a few other reasons that carpenter pencils tend to have a different design, including the following:

  • More lead within the pencils, making it hard to break them when they are sharpened properly.
  • Larger leads - that can be around 6 to 7 inches - help to create clear and larger markings for carpenters to follow whilst they work.
  • A broader stem that makes the pencil much easier to hold whilst the carpenter is working.

Different Kinds Of Carpenter Pencils

Different Kinds of Carpenter Pencils

There is also a wide range of carpenter pencils available, with different lead consistencies and pencil tips, all of which have their own benefits.

Soft lead carpenter pencils leave a darker and heavier mark, which makes it easier for carpenters to see their guidelines as they work.

Despite this heaviness, soft lead can be removed more easily, simply by using fine sandpaper.

However, they also wear away more easily when friction is applied. Soft lead is well suited to woods such as softwood and newly hewn timber.

Medium lead wears away more steadily, whereas hard lead is the most resistant to abrasions, whilst leaving a finer mark when used on wood.

In terms of pencil tips, carpenter pencils can have one of four kinds: chisel tips, flat tips, fine point tips, and ornate tips.

Chisel tips are the most common and are shaped with a utility knife rather than a sharpener, unlike flat tips which are also common but can be sharpened regularly.

They also allow you to draw both thick and thin lines due depending on the angle of the pencil.

Flat tips are more common in artist's pencils, whilst ornate tips have thick leads that can be fashioned into specific shapes.

Final Thoughts

Whilst both wooden and mechanical pencils can be used in carpentering, wooden pencils - particularly wooden carpenter pencils - are usually the weapon of choice for most carpenters.

It all depends on your personal preferences and how you tend to 


You may also like

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Start Cutting Pipes The Easy Way With Our Pipe Cutter