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How to Sharpen and Use a Carpenter’s Pencil

Now when it comes to marking implements, what do you prefer, the round pencil or the rectangular carpenter's pencil. Well, my friend Jim, the cabinet maker likes this one. I, on the other hand, kind of prefer this one. Let me show you why. If you put the round pencil down on a slightly inclined surface, well, there it goes, right off on the floor. The carpenter's pencil on the other hand stays put.

Now here's another reason I prefer the carpenter's pencil. If you look very closely right at the tips, you'll see that the round pencil has very little lead right at the very end. That means it's going to wear down fairly quickly. The carpenter's pencil, on the other hand is more like a knife edge. You can do quite a bit more drawing in my opinion, without getting a fatter line. Now to get the most out of a carpenter's pencil, you do have to sharpen it properly. Here's a technique I use. I start by taking a knife and cutting away the wood.  And then I finish the point off on a piece of sandpaper. Now, whenever the lead starts getting dull, I just go back to the sandpaper or, if I'm in a real hurry, I turn on my belt sander and do it right here.

Indeed, they do make sharpeners for carpenter’s pencils.  However, the ones I’m aware of create a round, pointed tip defeating the advantages of the knife edge achievable with the rectangular-shaped lead.


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