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How to use a pencil…


I have been using Ticonderoga pencils since I started the trade 36 years ago. I use a #4 because it holds a point (the tip won’t break off) when I press too hard…which is often…especially when things aren’t going too good. And it puts a nice fine light line instead of dark wide line. The sharpened tip lasts longer than #2 or #3.

The problem with writing/marking/drawing/labeling on wood is that it’s soft and the pencil tip will indent or groove the wood when writing, which will then have to be sanded off. IF you don’t, your marks will show up in the stain. This is one I learned the hard way. This is also good for writing on just about any material because of the light amount of pencil that will have to be cleaned off afterwards.
(Only use pencil sparingly on formica as the clay in the pencil lead can actually scratch the laminate, especially if it is a gloss finish. Only use felt tip pen on laminate and wash off with lacquer thinner or acetone with done.)

The trick is to mark with the side of the lead instead of the tip. This will make a wide line that will show without much pressure and having to use the tip. This will not indent the wood if done without a heavy hand and is easily sanded off. Of course, this will not work for layout lines (which usually get covered up after assembly) but only for marking pieces for orientation (top, bottom, left, right) or piece numbers per cabinet or location in the cabinet. Once the item is built, then these can be sanded off and the finish can be applied.

One Comment
  1. good tip! I find that using a soft lead pencil (B2) helps as well.

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