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Are Mechanical Pencils Good for Woodworking? What Pencil Is Best?

March 08, 2022 6 min read

Close up of someone holding a triangle square to a 2 by 4 and marking a line using a STKR mechanical pencil.

Woodwork requires all sorts of tools and equipment, but no one can underestimate the value of a good carpentry pencil.

Simple as it is, carpenters need the most functional pencil to write accurate measurements or designs.

This is why many people consider mechanical pencils as good if not excellent marking tools in woodworking. Some even claim that mechanical pencils are the best option considering their durability – a property that is not common with your average pencil.

But is there a difference between using a mechanical pencil and a regular one? You’d be surprised by the benefits, so read on.

Closeup bundle of carpenters pencils

What Type of Pencil Is Used for Woodworking?

In terms of carpentry or woodworking, wood pencils and mechanical pencils are often used.

It is no secret that excellent woodwork begins with careful planning, which involves establishing necessary markings on the wood. Then, patterns and lines can be cut, nailed, or attached accurately if the markings have optimum visibility.

In this sense, an ideal carpenter pencil ensures legible markings on sturdy materials such as a plank of wood. By extension, it would be even better if such a pencil could write clearly on other materials such as stones or concrete.

Nevertheless, the ability to produce clear and bold patterns is the hallmark of an ideal pencil for woodworking. This is why pencils used in carpentry have a standard design.  

Instead of a tubular body with a circular rim, pencils used in woodworking have rectangular or elliptical bodies. The rough edges are necessary to prevent them from rolling off the table, as most carpenters would simply place the pencil on the top of a flat surface.

It could take some precious time to look for the pencil.  

Furthermore, carpentry pencils often have a wider surface area making them easier to grip. It also contains more lead or core material which is evident when you sharpen the pencil. This design works well with the fact that woodworking requires bigger markings that shouldn’t be easily erased.

Although there are particular carpentry pencils you can find in the market, it doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to use other types of pencils found in your home.

Here are some of the other pencil types used in woodworking.

1.      Graphite pencils

They are perhaps the most common type of pencils used in everyday activities. Whether writing, drawing or marking you can rely on graphite pencils enclosed in wood covering. 

However, some drawbacks of using this type of pencil are that it can easily roll off of the table/work surface, and you may have to exert extra strength or streak to bolden your markings.

2.      Charcoal pencils

You may have already heard of charcoal pencils used in artworks. While it is less than ideal to use them in woodworking because they are, after all, used elsewhere, it’s not so far-fetched. 

Charcoal pencils produce darker markings than graphite which can be advantageous in carpentry, making them an excellent marking tool. 

However, these markings can be too broad, which potentially mess up precision.

3.      Carbon pencils

If you want something darker, then consider using carbon pencils. 

Simply put, they contain a core that combines charcoal and graphite. They produce smoother markings. 

However, carbon pencils are also used in arts instead of woodwork. Therefore, they may not be as readily available. 

So, if you’re purposively looking for pencils used for carpentry, better seek better alternatives.

4.      Mechanical pencils

Mechanical pencils are far more unique than other types of pencils. They contain a retractable and replaceable core made of graphite. This core can be extended, thus eliminating the need for sharpening.

But more than the efficiency of mechanical pencils, they are commonly used in technical tasks due to their precision. 

Therefore, using them in woodwork can lead you to the most accurate markings and measurements.

Close up of an STKR mechanical carpenters pencil inserted into carpenters bags with hammer dangling below

Are Mechanical Pencils Good for Woodworking?

Yes, mechanical pencils are suitable for woodworking.

A mechanical pencil is also called an automatic pencil, lead holder, click pencil, pump pencil, and technical pencil. 

They are used in fine art drawing and technical work because of their precise range of thickness. 

Contrary to popular belief, the lead in mechanical pencils, and any other pencils for the matter, does not refer to the toxic lead we know. It is actually made of graphite and clay.

Over the years, the use of mechanical pencils expands towards woodworking or carpentry. 

The best thing about it is that you get the most of a carpenter pencil while losing drawbacks such as the need to frequently sharpen, making the endpoint more fragile.

Here are some of the benefits of mechanical pencils in woodworking:

  • Durability

Using a mechanical pencil in woodworking ensures that your marking tool stands the test of time. 

With the absence of constant sharpening, the core pigment is maintained at the same length. 

Take, for example, the STKR Mechanical Carpenter Pencil, a mechanical pencil designed for woodworking. This type of mechanical pencil has a high-impact A.B.S. body that does not only prevent rolling but guarantees extra strength.  

  • Efficiency

By eliminating the need for sharpening, you can enjoy woodworking without too much interruption. 

Likewise, it also reduces pencil waste which is inevitable when a pencil becomes too small to be used. As a result, you will be compelled to throw it out and use a new one. 

Furthermore, the mechanisms used in mechanical pencils such as twist click, auto-feed, sliding lead, and more keeps the core extending.  

  • Refillable Core Pigment

Simply refill the core without throwing the body out is an excellent means to get more out of your purchase. 

In the long run, you can save more time and money than when you have to replace the entire pencil.

With the STKR Mechanical Carpenter Pencil, the product comes with replaceable DURALEAD which you can simply refill once the original core is completely used.

  • Consistency

When you sharpen a wooden pencil, you’ll notice that the line width of your writing or marking becomes thinner. The more you use the pencil, the broader the line width becomes.

But when it comes to mechanical pencils, you won’t encounter this problem – at least not in the most obvious sense. 

The line width remains consistent. This is helpful if you’re trying to draw precise patterns or markings on small wooden planks.

One excellent feature of the STKR Mechanical Carpenter Pencil is its angle-shaped stroke which guarantees legible markings even on rough surfaces like concrete or sandpaper.

person breaking lead trying to sharpen a carpenters pencil

Are Mechanical Pencils Better Than Wooden Pencils?

If you assess the benefits of mechanical pencils, it is clear that they can be better than wooden pencils when it comes to woodworking.

Mechanical pencils provide precise and consistent markings that can’t be achieved with ordinary wooden pencils. They also come in a flat shape to avoid rolling over smooth surfaces.

Furthermore, mechanical pencils are designed for long-term use, whereas ordinary pencils are intended to be consumed. 

The downside for the latter is that the pencil is not completely used as most people discard the ordinary pencil once it becomes short and not necessarily when they are entirely used.

But perhaps the main advantage of mechanical pencils over other marking tools is their prevention of the weak point due to frequent sharpening. This consistency makes the mechanical pencil a perfect tool to keep our measurements consistent and on point.

jobsite shot of a man using a speed square to mark a 45 with an STKR mechanical carpenters pencil

What Pencils Do Carpenters Use?

Carpenters choose pencils with the right form and marking visibility which is naturally referred to as carpenter pencils. 

Therefore, it could either be a graphite pencil or a mechanical pencil.

Over the years, interest in mechanical pencils in woodworking has increased. 

This modern alternative became preferable because it performs the same level of purpose and efficiency as that of a regular carpenter pencil while improving other critical aspects of marking.


Woodwork is not exactly an easy task to carry out. 

You have to do it with high precision and accuracy, delivered with the right pencil at hand.

And what better way to draw your markings than with a reliable mechanical pencil like the Mechanical Carpenter Pencil right here at STKR Concepts.

Get all the known benefits of a classic carpenter pencil added with an extra layer of efficiency brought by this revolutionized marking tool.

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