What pencil to use? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 09-12-2019, 03:01 PM Thread Starter
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Question What pencil to use?

For decades I have used an ordinary lead pencil to mark out woodwork, for cutting usually. But even if used very lightly there is often a mark which will not rub out with an office-type rubber eraser. There are several carpenter's pencils available but their sellers don't mention the problem of markings being left.

(1) My main question is: how to avoid this problem?

I have seen an image on the Internet (not a selling site) showing an (I think) carpenter's pencil with a yellow "lead".

(2) Is this for woodwork?

(3) Can it be used for woodwork?

(4) Where can I get one to try?

Thanks.
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Last edited by stevekir; 09-12-2019 at 03:06 PM. Reason: Too many spaces in the text.
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post #2 of 16 Old 09-12-2019, 03:42 PM
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welcome to the forum, Steve.
when you have time, please complete your profile with your location.

one "possible" type of pencil you saw would be the Stabilo pencil.
signmakers use these for laying out projects. the "lead" is water soluble.
(and is much softer than a graphite lead).
so after the marking is not needed anymore, a damp cloth removes it.
available in the finer art & craft shops or online suppliers.
personally, I use www.dickblick.com for my drafting supplies.
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post #3 of 16 Old 09-12-2019, 06:15 PM
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Use denatured alcohol to remove pencil marks on wood, not an eraser.


In woodworking there is always more then one way to accomplish something.
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post #4 of 16 Old 09-12-2019, 06:36 PM
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I use white erasers. They are much better than the pink ones. Denatured alcohol and acetone also work.

"The kind of man who wants the government to adopt and enforce his ideas is always the kind of man whose ideas are idiotic." -H.L. Mencken
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post #5 of 16 Old 09-12-2019, 06:40 PM
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Here is a related question: What do people use to mark wood?

I am still searching for an easy way to label boards for later use, usually what kind of wood it is or the person who gave it to me. Here are my needs:

* Easy to use. A pen or pencil would be easy. A label and tape would be easy. Writing on tape would be easy.
* Easy to remove, no matter how long it has been there.
* Durable. It must be readable 10 years from now. It must not fall off when the wood is moved around, or easily knocked or torn off.
* High contrast. It must be readable on light woods and dark woods. A choice of colors would be one answer.
* Does not damage the wood. It should not soak in or become stuck on.

I looked at Sharpies (soaks in, hard to remove), various colored pencils (waxy, hard to remove, hard to read), and also considered tape. I have seen old tape on wood furniture, usually put there by movers. Tape gets dry and brittle, and can easily come off when the wood is moved. Sometimes it leaves a hard to remove residue.

I am still looking for the answer. Please Help!
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post #6 of 16 Old 09-12-2019, 06:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tool Agnostic View Post
Here is a related question: What do people use to mark wood?
Pencil

"The kind of man who wants the government to adopt and enforce his ideas is always the kind of man whose ideas are idiotic." -H.L. Mencken
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post #7 of 16 Old 09-12-2019, 08:05 PM
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I use soft lead mechanical pencils in # 5 and #7 sizes. I use very little pressure as to not leave an indentation in the wood. White art eraser to clean it off. Sometimes I use tape on the wood, make marks on the tape with either pencil or very fine marker, and then pull the tape off as soon as the cut is done or Iím otherwise finished with using those marks.
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post #8 of 16 Old 09-12-2019, 08:20 PM
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A lumber inspector uses a type of crayon when grading lumber. I use to have one when I worked at a flooring mill.

Don in Murfreesboro, TN.
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post #9 of 16 Old 09-12-2019, 08:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tool Agnostic View Post
...............
* Easy to remove, no matter how long it has been there.
* Durable. It must be readable 10 years from now. It must not fall off when the wood is moved around, or easily knocked or torn off..................
If those are problems to you, maybe you should build more stuff?
Build for yourself, friends and family or simply furniture for sale. I'm sure lots of people would be very envious of your wood inventory. Make them more envious when you turn it into projects. Who knows, they may even write songs about you. It could happen.

Tony B



Retired woodworker, amongst other things, Sold full time cruising boat and now full time cruising in RV. Currently in Somerville, Tx
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post #10 of 16 Old 09-12-2019, 09:27 PM
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To @Tony B: Sorry to disappoint, but I am working it off as quickly as is reasonable. I don't have a huge supply, just a wide-ranging collection of small pieces, many from the priced-per-pound bin of cutoffs at the woodworking store, or donations from woodworkers at my local club. I want to remember the species for later. Sometimes I get a piece of wood from someone, and want to make it into something for them after it is thoroughly dried, and I want to remember who it is for. What else can I say?

To everyone else:
Thanks for the helpful input from everyone. I am still looking for a good way to label wood. Easy to read, durable, easy to remove years later.

Pencil: Doesn't show up well on dark woods. I tried colored pencils. They are waxy, were not easy to read, and did not remove easily.

Lumber Crayon: Thanks for the tip. I had never heard of them before. They looked promising until I found articles and info suggesting that they are hard to remove, and advice not to put marks in places that might be visible later. Okay for construction lumber that is hidden in walls, etc.

I think that maybe handwritten paper strips held down with Scotch Magic Tape (yeah, office tape) might be the next thing to try. They would be hard to peel off after years, but I bet they sand off easily enough. I assume that the adhesive won't damage the wood below the surface.

-> I hope other people have found better answers and will share them here.
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post #11 of 16 Old 09-12-2019, 09:51 PM
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When I purchase rough sawn hardwood, I use a sharpie on the end grain for long term notes. Iíll cut off about 1/8Ē to provide a smooth writing surface. When I later mill the boards I cut them about 4Ē long in case I get any planer snipe or if there are drying cracks in the end grain. At that point I donít need the notes and the ends get cut off when cut to final length.
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post #12 of 16 Old 09-13-2019, 05:35 PM
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1) Fold a piece of paper in half. Then fold it in half again.
2) Use a fine-tipped Sharpie to write your details.
3) Place said paper onto the wood.
4) Shrink wrap it.
5) Done.

That should meet all your requirements @Tool Agnostic.
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post #13 of 16 Old 09-13-2019, 05:53 PM
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As for erasing, I have been using these eraser bags for years to clean marks from mat boards while framing and have now discovered they are great for cleaning marks on wood . . . especially plywood where sanding quickly cuts through the top veneer.

https://www.amazon.com/Alvin-1248-Pr...22960600&psc=1
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post #14 of 16 Old 09-14-2019, 02:07 AM
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The softer the "lead" in the pencil, the better.

I use a Pentel mechanical pencil, .5MM and the "lead" that I use is HB.

As for removing the pencil marks, you need to think in terms of density and how to make the "lead" float in a solvent. Denatured Alcohol / Acetone / Lacquer Thinner are way too volatile to float the "lead" off of the wood. Mineral Spirits or Paint Thinner would be a better choice.

On a project I wanted the markings show and I was using Minwax Antique Oil Finish. The MAOF very nicely floated all of my markings that I wanted to preserve.

Rich
In furniture 1/32" is a Grand Canyon
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post #15 of 16 Old 09-14-2019, 10:34 AM
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Dixon Ticonderoga ;-)
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post #16 of 16 Old 09-14-2019, 03:49 PM
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Hi


There are different types Carpenter's Pencil, some have hard lead some have soft lead.


Here is a video to help you decide.

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