All wrong measurements in carpentry lead to noteworthy errors that can be rather costly if a piece of high-priced lumber is mistakenly cut off too short. Accurate measurements always start with quality measuring devices and good-sharpened pencils. Here are some tips for the proper sharpening of carpenter’s pencils.
Good Ways to Sharpen Carpenter’s Pencil
Carpenter’s pencils occupy a special place in the toolbox of every man. They are special flat-shaped writing instruments that look odd in comparison with regular pencils for office work. Such a form prevents them from rolling away on an inclined surface.
Their appearance is not the only difference. Such pencils come with much harder leads, #4 and 5. They are able to be used longer on rough surfaces, like concrete and wood. Besides, these leads are several times larger and have a non-traditional rectangular form.
Such devices are employed to make notches in lumber pieces and require the correct sharpening for correct markings. This short guide will describe how to sharpen carpenter pencils using a knife and a sharpener.
Proper Sharpening with Knife
Sharpening with a knife is a common practice for sharpening carpenter’s pencils. It is done by hand using a utility knife. This way provides a decent marking lead and takes minimal time and waste. The whole process can be split into several steps:
- Hold the pencil near the point firmly in your hand. The pencil tip points away from the user as well as the sharp edge of the knife. Whittle away the inner and outer wooden casing from all 4 edges. Push the blade slowly with the thumb of the hand that holds the writing instrument. Proceed doing so carefully until you see the graphite tip. The majority of the wood should be gone. Keep a low angle and do not remove too much of the material. Make some outward final strokes for polishing.
- As we require a perfectly sharpened writing instrument, we will need a piece of 60-80 grit sandpaper. Put it on a smooth surface. Holding the pencil by the wooden part, sand off some wood that was left on the lead. Try not to disturb too much lead. You may also try 220-350 grit sandpaper to refine the pencil tip. Sanding all lead edges to shape the graphite, you achieve a sharp and straight tip edged “V.”
Some carpenters choose a different way of shaping the graphite: steep on one lead side and flat on the other. This is common among furniture makers. If you prefer this kind of sharpening, use only the first type of the sandpaper on just one lead side.
If the lead wears down too far, sand the graphite again. When it can’t be sanded any longer, take the knife and repeat the first step.
How to Sharpen This Pencil Using Sharpener?
Users who are not ready to risk their limbs during sharpenings with a knife may invest a few dollars and get a special sharpener for oval carpenter’s pencils. This pencil type can’t fit into the round hole of a traditional sharpener. This particular device allows the user to make sharpening techniques automatic. You simply insert the writing instrument into the guide and move it back and forth across the blade.
This wonderful mechanism is the best way to sharpen carpenter pencils and a must-have in your tool kit. Most sharpeners come with one unsharpened carpenter pencil, so you can practice your sharpening skills.
Don’t Forget About Safety
Hand-sharpening always involves risk by sharpening any kind of pencils, because the work is related to blades. Hold the writing instrument steadily in your hands with the knife razor always pointing away from you. Cutting away from yourself is the safest method, even if it takes more wood than it could. Nothing can affect your movements and skewer your hands. The equipment suggested for safety performance may include leather gloves and goggles.
You know how to act if your pencil goes blunt. Fine and accurate lines help to make proper measurements and leave no questions where to drill or cut. Share your own tried-and-true ways of sharpening carpenter’s writing devices at WoWPencils.