Why Is a Carpenter Pencil Flat?

When  working, you don’t have time to waste fumbling and searching for items. Time efficiency and convenience are essential for high-quality work. As a carpenter, you need a pencil for marking on surfaces.

However, not any regular pen is suitable for the job. This particular one, known as a carpenter pencil, is the right one for carpentry work. The carpenter pencil has a flat, rectangular shape. The ‘weird’ form is not by sheer chance, but rather, it has a purpose. Although the carpenter pencils come in varying shapes and sizes, the most common dimension is about 19/32” wide, ¼” tall and 7” long.

Benefits of A Carpenter Pencil

The carpenters pencil has two specific features that set it apart from the other types of pens. The first noticeable feature is the rectangular shape. This shape prevents it from rolling even on a sloping roof.

Carpenters climb ladders and work on roofs in awkward positions, which makes it challenging to use regular pencils. With a carpenter pencil, you are not worried about it rolling away on a slanted surface. Besides, it might just save your life by not going under your foot, which might cause a severe fall.

The shape also offers convenience when working. Usually, Carpenters don’t have time to put back pencils in their pockets. Instead, they place their pens on the surface where they are working until when they want to use them again. This prevents the frustration of fumbling through your pockets when looking for the tool.

Another benefit of the flat shape of the carpenter pencil is its large surface area. This allows easier grip than other standard pencils even when wearing gloves. Furthermore, it provides for precision marking with its ease of use. The pencil is also durable to withstand the harsh working conditions. Meaning that if you store it together with heavy tools in a toolbox, it is unlikely to get damaged.

Their shape also makes it easy to sharpen. You can use X-acto, knife, sandpaper, or an ax for this process.
The second feature that sets the carpenter pencil apart from the ordinary ones is the large lead. Not only does this feature enable you to draw thick and thin lines on surfaces, but it also keeps the tip sharp for long. The strong lead also allows drawing on rough surfaces such as concrete. Therefore, with the shape and thickness of the edge, you can make clear markings that are easy to follow when working with a saw.

How to Sharpen Carpenter Pencil

When it comes to sharpening carpentry pencils, it is best to do it by hand. This is because you cannot sharpen in the round-shaped sharpeners due to their flat shape. Here is an easy guide on how to sharpen carpentry pencils.

1. Firmly hold your pencil a few inches from where you will be sharpening. You can use a chisel or a utility knife for this process. Always ensure that your sharpening tool is sharp for ease of use.

2. Using your free hand, take the sharpening tool and place it on the tip of the pencil. Hold the sharpening tool at a 45-degree angle, pointing away from you.

3. Start slicing the wood, beginning with the narrow sides before moving to the broader sides. Carefully, continue cutting until you expose the lead. However, ensure that you do not cut into the lead. Stop the process once about ¼” of the granite is showing.

4. Smoothen the sharpness of the lead by using sandpaper. Drag the pencil tip against the paper until you achieve your desired sharpness.

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Final Thoughts

While the shape of the carpenter pencil may seem ridiculous, it is made like that for a reason. Not only does it provide convenience and ease of use, but the shape also prevents it from rolling thereby, stopping the urge to chase it down the roof.