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Carpenters Pencils why oblong not round?

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Forum topic by anthm27 posted 08-23-2018 09:46 AM 1760 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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anthm27

987 posts in 1530 days


08-23-2018 09:46 AM

I had a friend ask “is there anything in the fact that carpenters pencils are elongated oblong as opposed to conventional round?”
I’ve used them for years and never really thought about it.
I know personally I tend to use a small conventional round pencil for finer work
Anybody have any ideas? Oblong as opposed to conventional round pencils?
Thanks in advance.
Anthony

-- To be a true artist one must stick to their own thought process


23 replies so far

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RobbieB

11 posts in 644 days


#1 posted 08-23-2018 10:27 AM

So they don’t roll off the bench and bounce off your boot to the very back where you never see them again.
Also easier to create a flat side to run against work for accurate lines.

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JCamp

986 posts in 971 days


#2 posted 08-23-2018 10:47 AM

Probably so they don’t roll around in your hand while ur using it. I’d personally prefer they make the lead a little harder to break. I use a pen anymore because I can’t hardly sharpen the pencils with breaking the lead a few times

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

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AESamuel

95 posts in 1643 days


#3 posted 08-23-2018 12:13 PM

You can sharpen them easily with a chisel for one thing, but you can also shape the point to produce a thin line that will last longer than a round point.

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AAL

80 posts in 1847 days


#4 posted 08-23-2018 12:43 PM



So they don t roll off the bench and bounce off your boot to the very back where you never see them again.
Also easier to create a flat side to run against work for accurate lines.

- RobbieB


Humorous 1st sentence & I agree with the 2nd.

-- "Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery." Winston Churchill

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CampD

1786 posts in 3906 days


#5 posted 08-23-2018 12:58 PM

They’re made to stand-up to the riggers and abuse of a “Framing Carpenter”.

-- Doug...

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bondogaposis

5454 posts in 2771 days


#6 posted 08-23-2018 01:18 PM

The graphite on a carpenters pencil is shaped into a “blade” rather than a point which lasts longer, between sharpenings. The blade shaped graphite is also stronger in the direction it is used so it is less likely to break when being drawn over rough wood.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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recycle1943

3039 posts in 2042 days


#7 posted 08-23-2018 01:21 PM

If I were to make an uneducated guess, I would say that the size and shape are designed to withstand a lot more abuse than a regular round pencil – not to mention they are much easier to sharpen with a razor knife than a round pencil.

-- Dick, Malvern Ohio - my biggest fear is that when I die, my wife sells my toys for what I told her I paid for them

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GR8HUNTER

6225 posts in 1133 days


#8 posted 08-23-2018 03:12 PM

reason #1- so they dont roll #2 – lead does not break (if sharpened correctly) #3- can be any color beside yellow LOL :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

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Gaffneylumber

103 posts in 1249 days


#9 posted 08-23-2018 07:47 PM

I’ve always heard that if you are scribing something to a wall, you can put the flat side to the wall and you will take off an 1/8”. Put the thin side to the wall and you will take off a 1/4”. I’ve used it plenty of times scribing a countertop to a wall.

-- Grayson - South Carolina

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anthm27

987 posts in 1530 days


#10 posted 08-24-2018 08:39 AM

Thanks for all the replies , very interesting.

-- To be a true artist one must stick to their own thought process

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robscastle

6223 posts in 2624 days


#11 posted 12-12-2018 08:38 PM

Amazing what you find digging around,

So What the correct answer, all have practical purposes.
A question I would ask is how they drill the rectangular hole to get the lead in!!
Maybe a very small Hollow Chisel Morticer!
And finally why cant you have yellow?

-- Regards Rob

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Johnny7

470 posts in 1511 days


#12 posted 12-12-2018 08:59 PM


And finally why cant you have yellow?

- robscastle

What makes you say that?



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RobHannon

276 posts in 951 days


#13 posted 12-12-2018 09:11 PM

https://www.facebook.com/SeeJaneDrill/videos/why-is-a-carpenters-pencil-flat-and-other-stuff/2041899652697328/

Doesn’t answer how they are made, but does go over why and I think one of her pencils is yellow.

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5317 posts in 2729 days


#14 posted 12-12-2018 10:06 PM

For inquiring minds

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=why+is+a+carpenter+pencil+flat

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View sepeck's profile

sepeck

402 posts in 2561 days


#15 posted 12-12-2018 10:24 PM

So I was kind of curious and went down the search rat hole and mostly duplicated the previous answers but had to share.

Purports to be the oldest known pencil in existence.
http://www.pencilpages.com/gallery/oldest.htm

Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carpenter_pencil
Carpenter pencils are also used by builders, because they are suitable for marking on rough surfaces, such as concrete or stone. This shape and lead density aid in marking legible lines with a straight edge that are clear and easy to follow with a saw blade.

I have a vague memory of a Roy Underhill show where he showed some machines and how these were made 150ish years ago…. Can’t find the episode.

This weird post
https://www.popularwoodworking.com/woodworking-blogs/half-pencil-layout-friend/

This site has the most I’ve found
https://everipedia.org/wiki/lang_en/Carpenter_pencil/
The flat pencil is one of the oldest pencil types. The first versions were made by hollowing out sticks of juniper wood. A superior technique was discovered: two wooden halves were carved with a groove running down them, a plumbago stick placed in one of the grooves, and the two halves then glued together—essentially the same method in use to this day.

-- -Steven Peck, http://www.blkmtn.org

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