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Shop Tips & Tricks #28: Pencil Nub Therapy

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Blog entry by GnarlyErik posted 12-24-2020 06:13 PM 846 reads 0 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 27: Small paint jobs and touch-up painting. Part 28 of Shop Tips & Tricks series no next part

Woodworkers use lots of pencils. We wear them down to nubs, which then get lost in our pockets. I’m so miserly I always feel bad about tossing three or four inches of good pencils. Some years ago I got tired of contouring my elbows to dig around for nubs in my shirt pockets. So, I came up with this simple little hack which makes me feel better. This can easily be done in one of those times between jobs when you are looking around for something to do.

Scarfing a painted wooden tab or extender make my pencils easily retrievable, plus much easier to find on the workbench. Doing several at once seems to make it worth the time it takes to do it. I use a 6 to 1 scarf ratio, but a shorter scarf will likely do just as well. Obviously you must cut the eraser ends off the pencils, so you lose that function – but still have a plentiful supply of short erasers left on hand!

It’s surprising how satisfactory using my pencils now feel! These also make cool gifts for people.

Here is a short pictorial of the process:

Construct a down & dirty scarfing jig!


Cut scarfs in pencil & tabs to match – make sure clamp clears saw blade – DUH!


Pencil after scarf cut


Match the pencil to the tab and glue. A couple of small spring clamps work great for each of these sets.


Smooth up pencil & tabs after glue sets with knife/drawknife/sandpaper, whatever works best for you.


Paint/varnish pencil/tab sets to suit. Bright colors help find the pencils on a busy workbench!


Never lose a pencil again!

-- "Never let your dogma be run over by your karma!"



16 comments so far

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

3709 posts in 4446 days


#1 posted 12-25-2020 02:30 AM

This is a cool idea for someone wanting a little quick project that will make things easier in the long run.

Here’s what I do. I have a box of 100 of those cheapies you can find sometimes. I sharpen a couple dozen of them then put them in various places around the shop. On my clamp rack, in the depresion rail of my saw, on my drill press, router table, window sill, etc. So, no matter where I am or where I look, there is a pencil. As you walk around they catch your eye everywhere. You eventually develop a habit memory of where one will be. When I use them I try to put it back, if not then I just pick them up after I use them and put them back or put them someplace I’ll see them if I just scan the shop.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View GnarlyErik's profile

GnarlyErik

344 posts in 3142 days


#2 posted 12-25-2020 04:07 AM

Thanks Craftsman -
I, too like to leave several pencils in specific locations around my shop. But, what I like most is to have the pencil tab sticking up out of my shirt, or overall pocket. It’s become almost automatic for me to just reach for the pencil tab.

Oh, and one of the best investments any woodworker can make is is in having one or more electric pencil sharpeners strategically located in the shop. I got mine at Goodwill for $1.50!

Cheers,

Erik

-- "Never let your dogma be run over by your karma!"

View John Stegall's profile

John Stegall

549 posts in 4524 days


#3 posted 12-25-2020 11:46 AM

You can even scarf the eraser onto the same addition of wood. I used your idea for a scarf jig and then just used my hand saw to cut it. No electricity used or dust thrown into the air.
Thanks for posting!

-- jstegall

View robscastle's profile

robscastle

7738 posts in 3212 days


#4 posted 12-25-2020 09:37 PM

what the !

how about I fly a few newies in for you?

-- Regards Rob

View GnarlyErik's profile

GnarlyErik

344 posts in 3142 days


#5 posted 12-26-2020 12:44 AM



what the !

how about I fly a few newies in for you?

Cool pencils!

- robscastle


-- "Never let your dogma be run over by your karma!"

View robscastle's profile

robscastle

7738 posts in 3212 days


#6 posted 12-26-2020 01:25 AM

Hey did I tell you the joke about the constipated mathematician?

he needed a pencil to work it out

-- Regards Rob

View GnarlyErik's profile

GnarlyErik

344 posts in 3142 days


#7 posted 12-26-2020 04:58 AM



Hey did I tell you the joke about the constipated mathematician?

he needed a pencil to work it out

- robscastle

A rabbi, a nun and a sailor walk into a bar The bartender says: “What is this? Some kind of joke?”

-- "Never let your dogma be run over by your karma!"

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

6510 posts in 1829 days


#8 posted 12-26-2020 10:16 AM


Hey did I tell you the joke about the constipated mathematician?

he needed a pencil to work it out

- robscastle

A rabbi, a nun and a sailor walk into a bar

- GnarlyErik


So which one ordered the pencil?

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View GnarlyErik's profile

GnarlyErik

344 posts in 3142 days


#9 posted 12-26-2020 02:47 PM


Hey did I tell you the joke about the constipated mathematician?

he needed a pencil to work it out

- robscastle

A rabbi, a nun and a sailor walk into a bar

- GnarlyErik

So which one ordered the pencil?

- LittleBlackDuck

The submarine.

-- "Never let your dogma be run over by your karma!"

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

6510 posts in 1829 days


#10 posted 12-27-2020 11:55 AM

The submarine.

- GnarlyErik

Paul hinted at a yellow one,

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View GnarlyErik's profile

GnarlyErik

344 posts in 3142 days


#11 posted 12-27-2020 03:09 PM


The submarine.

- GnarlyErik

Paul hinted at a yellow one,

Now THAT looks like half a dead cow – or, a halfhearted rude gesture!

- LittleBlackDuck


-- "Never let your dogma be run over by your karma!"

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

6510 posts in 1829 days


#12 posted 12-27-2020 10:22 PM



Now THAT looks like half a dead cow – or, a halfhearted rude gesture!

- GnarlyErik


The udder side looks better. The turd finger is hidden.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View GnarlyErik's profile

GnarlyErik

344 posts in 3142 days


#13 posted 12-28-2020 12:06 AM


Now THAT looks like half a dead cow – or, a halfhearted rude gesture!

- GnarlyErik

The udder side looks better. The turd finger is hidden.

- LittleBlackDuck

Probably scraping on a chalkboard somewhere – but, on the udder hand maybe it’s just enclosed in a ransom note someplace else . . .

-- "Never let your dogma be run over by your karma!"

View mafe's profile

mafe

12928 posts in 4097 days


#14 posted 12-29-2020 12:36 AM

They are lovely little pieces of pencil art.
Fine idea.
Best thoughts,
Mads

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View GnarlyErik's profile

GnarlyErik

344 posts in 3142 days


#15 posted 12-29-2020 09:56 PM



They are lovely little pieces of pencil art.
Fine idea.
Best thoughts,
Mads

- mafe


Thank you Mads -

I checked out some of your projects and your shop looks a lot like my own, except maybe a bit neater. I make my own tools, jigs & fixtures too, so I have things stacked and hanging all over the place. Some things are for-one off projects, so sometimes I have to stop and figure out what I originally made a particular jig for.

Keep up the good work!

Erik

-- "Never let your dogma be run over by your karma!"

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