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The Best Woodworking Pencils: 2023 List

Brandon Forder
  Oct 4, 2023 8:28 PM

It is common practice to take a number of measurements before beginning a woodworking job. You need a sturdy pencil that doesn't break easily to go with your trusted measuring tools. After extensive use in the woodshop, I've compiled a list of the top ten pencils for woodworking.

You won't find two woodworking pencils that are exactly alike in terms of their features, dimensions, or intended use. Let's examine each one carefully to be sure you're not wasting your money or living with regrets afterwards.

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Last update on 2023-10-04 / Affiliate links / Images, Product Titles, and Product Highlights from Amazon Product Advertising API

Buying Guide

Pencil Type

Carpenters can either use regular pencils or more advanced mechanical pencils. Mechanical pencils include additional functions such as a grip, sharpener, and eraser, but traditional pencils are just as effective. Metal and plastic versions exist as well.

Pencil material

A carpenter's pencil is not the same as any other pencil; it must be strong and dependable. If it is made of metal, such as stainless steel, metal, aluminum, etc., then it is a high-quality carpenter pencil.

The plastic used, if any, should be of high quality despite the item's plastic construction. The durable frame aids in damage prevention, extending the life of the product.


In most cases, a round or hexagonal shape will suffice for a woodworking pencil. Because of the possibility of the mechanical pencil rolling as you work, the form is important.

While any pencil will do for woodworking, it's best to pick one with the least amount of rolling potential. Therefore, a hexagonal shape is preferable. Contrarily, a clip will prevent a circular pencil from rolling very far.

Comfortable grip

A non-disruptive work environment is further ensured by the ergonomic design, which provides a firm yet gentle grip. You can't focus on your task if you use a pencil that is uncomfortable to hold. A pencil with a non-slip grip made of metal mesh, rubber, or silicone is much more pleasant to write with.

Those holds are designed to function even with wet hands. If you suffer from joint pain, a strong grip comprised of rubber or silicone is your best bet. Individuals with smaller hands should adopt a narrow grip.

Lead size and grade

What matters most in a carpenter pencil is the quality and thickness of its lead. Carpenter pencils can be used for marking wood or for sketching and drawing.

Use a soft, dark pencil for working on wood, with measurements like 0.5 mm, 0.7 mm, etc. If you don't mark something clearly, it will be difficult to see later.

For both carpentry and sketching, a pencil of HB grade in a tiny size like 2.0 mm or 2.8 mm is ideal.


Woodworkers aren't the only ones who can use the pencils. They have a wide range of applications and are suitable for usage on a variety of materials, from wood and glass to plastic and metal.


Larger than standard pencils, their dimensions are 0.5 inches (1.27 centimeters) in width and 0.25 inches (6.4 millimeters) in thickness (0.635 centimeters). Because of their size and durability, they won't break while being transported in a toolbox.

Graphite core

Carpenter pencils are designed for use on hard surfaces (like wood) due to their thicker and more stiff graphite. In addition to facilitating readable, darker markings, the grade of the graphite used also permits more prominent markings. Since the graphite is rectangular in shape, it makes it easier to draw straight lines while marking wood.

Smudge Resistance

Smudge-proof lead grades are F and HB. If you're working with wood, you know that smudge marks are a pain, so it's helpful to have a pencil that doesn't leave them.


Carpenter pencils with integrated sharpeners and replaceable leads are a time-saver. Some experienced carpenters may find that classic woodwork pencils are more suitable for their needs, therefore it is wise to weigh the pros and cons of both before making a purchase.


Whether you're searching for it in a toolbox or up against a dark background, a pencil with a bright color will stand out more.


There is no guarantee that pricier brands will perform better than their less expensive competitors. Start by evaluating a pencil's suitability based on the aforementioned features, and you might be pleasantly pleased to find low-priced ones that meet your needs.

Environmental Impact

Depending on the manufacturer, the graphite core of a carpenter's pencil may be encased in either plastic or wood. Wooden pencils are better for the environment because they decompose over time.


Is 0.5 or 0.7 lead better?

If you want a fine, precise line, use lead that is 0.5 mm in diameter rather than 0.7 mm. But 0.7 mm lead gives you a wider line than the darker 0.5 mm lead.

The standard thickness for writing is 0.5 mm, while artists and designers prefer 0.7 mm. Since a 0.5 mm lead does not require frequent sharpening, it is often used for general writing and drawing.

Which is better, HB or 2B pencil?

Lead grades HB and 2B are identical. Hard lead, or HB, has more clay than graphite and is hence more brittle. It's not smudge proof or anything, but it does produce a fine point.

Moreover, graphite is more prevalent in 2B lead than clay is. This results in thick, smudgy lines that are softer, darker, and more durable.

Why Do Carpenters Use Rectangular Pencils?

Rectangular pencils are used by carpenters because they are more comfortable to hold. Even when working on rough or uneven surfaces, the pencil won't slip.

Carpenter pencils, with its bigger writing surface, are also put to use as a ruler for drawing precise, non-erasable lines of varying thicknesses.


Carpenter pencils are the best kind to use when scribbling on wood. The graphite core and rounded barrel of these pencils make them easier to hold without losing your grasp.

Graphite core, environmental effect, versatility, color, smudge resistance, convenience, and the sort of wood you're working on are just few of the features to think about while shopping for a carpenter pencil. Your impressions of the pencil will change depending on all these factors.

You can get them from a hardware store or, more conveniently, from Amazon. If you use your carpenter pencil in accordance with the advice in this article, you will save time, money, and effort with every project.

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