The Lowly Pencil

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Forum topic by Greg3G posted 02-07-2008 06:34 PM 1642 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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815 posts in 5206 days

02-07-2008 06:34 PM

Topic tags/keywords: humor pencil tool

As I stepped into the workshop, I could hear something scurrying around just before I turn on the light. I know that sound; it’s the pencils fleeing to the hidden places around the shop. I have come to believe that they have created a “Pencil Preserve” somewhat akin to the wildlife preserves on the savannahs of Africa. A place where they can take refuge from the abuses of the pencil sharpener or the bite of a distracted woodworker.

These subjugated objects feel unappreciated but in reality are one of the most valuable tools in the shop. They set the course for the saws, chisels, and drill bits. They transform ideas into illustrations and guide the turning of that illustration into reality. I think that they feel looked down upon by the other tools because they are most often blamed for errors by the unwitting workman who used them. Is it the lowly pencil’s fault the person made the mark in the wrong place? No, the pencil, just like any other tool is only as accurate as the operator at the time of its use. Most people blame the pencil or the tape measure (another blog for another day.) for an error in length or an appointment logged on the wrong day. No wonder they scurry away in the darkness of the shop, seeking the peace of the Pencil Preserve. Some have even taken to fleeing in the full illumination of the light. You know what I mean. You use one of your pencils and lay it down, next time you reach for it, it is gone. Off to where it is safe from the sharp teeth of the sharpener or the wrath of a woodworker who realized his mistake too late.

So show your pencils how much you appreciate them. Put them in a place of honor, perhaps next to those prized hand planes or antique saws. Let them know how valuable they are to you. Place your trust in them. Then, just maybe, they will begin to emerge from their hiding places to take their rightful place in our shop.

-- Greg - Charles Town, WV

14 replies so far

View Mario's profile


902 posts in 5172 days

#1 posted 02-07-2008 06:58 PM

Thank you for giving voice to the oppressed and the abused among us. I for one shall go into my shop this evening and give my marking utensils a hearty round of aplause. From hense for they shall be given a place of honor.

Thank you. ... I think?

-- Hope Never fails

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 4943 days

#2 posted 02-07-2008 07:12 PM

Thanks, Greg. You made my day. I will do as you suggest and immediately give my pencils the attention that they deserve as well try to atone for all of their brethren that I have done bodily harm to when they did not mark a cut correctly. I always leave them in the second pocket of my tool belt where I am sure to find them.

(Slight pause as I go into the shop).

Now where did they go?

Great post.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View sharad's profile


1119 posts in 4926 days

#3 posted 02-07-2008 08:21 PM

You have touched on a very sensitive point. We will honour them in the future. Their right place is on your ear

-- “If someone feels that they had never made a mistake in their life, then it means they have never tried a new thing in their life”.-Albert Einstein

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5282 days

#4 posted 02-07-2008 08:36 PM

“I’m sorry pencil.”

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5339 days

#5 posted 02-07-2008 08:41 PM

One practical suggestion:

A while back there were a spate of postings of Wood Whisperer pencil holders. I whipped one up for the workbench, and keep it well-stocked with pencils. It is much easier to spot the pencil holder and grab a pencil from it than to look around for the one I laid down flat on the bench (or was it the table saw, or the drill press stand?) amid the piles of sawdust. When I periodically straighten up the shop, I gather all the wayward pencils and return them to their place of honor.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 4996 days

#6 posted 02-07-2008 10:14 PM

I have (ab)used a pencil while using Gorilla Glue to insert the tubes into pen blanks. Makes ‘em harder to sharpen.

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 5420 days

#7 posted 02-07-2008 10:35 PM

Great post Greg.

Lots of times, I’ll take a pencil out of my pocket to mark a board,

& the next time I need it, it’s in a different pocket. ;)

My father-in-law had a method of keeping his pencils.

He was a mine inspector, & sometimes while working in field,

if someone didn’t have a pencil with them,

& they wanted to borrow one, he always had a bunch of short 2’’ long ones that he’d loan out.

They would always return them, because who wants a stubby pencil.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Greg3G's profile


815 posts in 5206 days

#8 posted 02-07-2008 11:13 PM

Now I know why they give out those small pencils at the Golf course! Never thought of it that way…what guy wants to be seen with a small pencil :-) sorry…I couldn’t let that one slide by without taking the shot.I know, I know….crude humor. I’m bad :-(

-- Greg - Charles Town, WV

View Karson's profile


35276 posts in 5522 days

#9 posted 02-07-2008 11:19 PM

Greg. All that you said, and buy them by the gross. Because they do have a mind of their own.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Eric's profile


875 posts in 4905 days

#10 posted 02-08-2008 08:19 AM

Wow, look at all this passion for the pencil…

-- Eric at

View cajunpen's profile


14578 posts in 5187 days

#11 posted 02-08-2008 10:24 AM

Ahhh, that elusive little pencil. That is why I recommend everyone buy an expensive pen from Cajun Pen Shop and you will be more careful with it and I’ll make more money :-))

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5282 days

#12 posted 02-08-2008 12:45 PM

haha good plan Bill… (great promotional idea as well.. smartie!!)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 4995 days

#13 posted 02-09-2008 08:35 PM

So true and great writeup!

-- Happy woodworking!

View TomK 's profile


504 posts in 4996 days

#14 posted 02-11-2008 08:43 AM

I feel like we should be playing “Taps”!

-- If you think healthcare is expensive now, wait until it's free! PJ O'Rourke

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