Last Updated on October 11, 2022 by Barry Gray
When it comes to woodworking, we can all be guilty of focusing on those large and impressive power tools that will cut, shape or finish. However, sometimes the tiny items can play a significant role in our potential success.
Step forward the humble pencil. Without one, I know I couldn’t complete most of my projects. After all, how would I make my marks or create lines I need to follow?
So, that made me stop and think about things in more detail, and I concluded that I was not the only individual who would be guilty of overlooking the pencil. With that in mind, it was time to look more closely at the best pencils you should not be without when it comes to your woodworking projects.
But you are probably sitting there thinking that just any old pencil will do, and to an extent, you are right. However, the pencils I’ve included in this list are just slightly different from the norm.
You see, a carpenter’s pencil exists, and it’s not always something that resembles a pencil you would have used at school. So, I do feel this is an important subject to tackle.
- Best Overall Woodworking Pencil – Dixon Industrial Carpenter Pencil 6-Pack (14206)
- Best Mechanical Woodworking Pencil – Hiboom Woodworking Pencil
- Best Woodworking Pencil for Heavy Use – Outus Carpenter Pencils
- Best Budget Woodworking Pencil – Irwin Carpenter Pencil
- Best Value Woodworking Pencil – Outus 20-Piece Woodworking Pencil Set
- Best 2-Piece Woodworking Pencil Set – Jetrishark 2-Piece
- Best Practical Woodworking Pencil – Misprint 24-Pack
- Best Woodworking Pencil for Grip – Ox Woodworking Pencil (T023010)
How I Made My List
I had to think carefully about which pencils to include on my list, and I concluded that specific criteria would be pretty important. For example, I wanted to include pencils that were pretty hard to break. After all, there’s a good chance those pencils will fall all over the place and drop to the floor, so making sure they remain hard to break is essential.
Also, I wanted the pencil to come with a good grip. This is key since you need accuracy when using the pencil, or your line or marks will not be quite where you need them to be.
Finally, I spent time reading what others had to say about their experiences with the pencils. That allows me to gain better insight into what they are like to use in the real world rather than just going with what the manufacturer has to say.
Ultimately, it led to me being able to create this list of the 8 best pencils for woodworking.
Best Overall Woodworking Pencil – Dixon Industrial Carpenter Pencil 6-Pack (14206)
Dixon has been responsible for producing high-quality carpenter pencils for years, and this 6-pack not only represents outstanding value for money, but it’s also just a brilliant pencil.
What you have here is a pencil with a medium-density graphite core, and that’s more important than you think. You see, a regular pencil, using regular lead, is just fragile compared to this carpenter pencil, so it does mean it’s much more unlikely to break.
These pencils are also rectangular in style, but they have been ergonomically designed to make them easy and comfortable to hold. I also feel that these pencils are easy to control, which impacts your markings as the pencil won’t just run all over the place.
But there’s another excellent reason why having a rectangular pencil is so good. It stays where you put it down and doesn’t roll away, which is undoubtedly the case with this set.
However, one of the critical things about a carpenter pencil is the mark it leaves, and I find these to be smooth and capable of giving you a pretty distinctive line. Sharpening requires a knife to carve away and to get your point, but this is easy enough to do, and then the graphite tip remains solid and resilient.
Overall, it’s just an excellent pencil and one that will last for some time.
- You get 6 in the pack
- They are tough and durable
- The rectangular design means they won’t roll away
- They feel comfortable to hold
- They won’t break
- Sharpening is time-consuming
Best Mechanical Woodworking Pencil – Hiboom Woodworking Pencil
If you are the type of person who just hates the idea of a large, chunky pencil, then this mechanical version will probably be your pencil of choice.
But I love this pencil for more than its mechanical nature. I also appreciate the overall design of the pencil, as it’s unique.
It comes with a needle nose tip that extends for some 45mm, and that’s a feature that will prove more valuable than you would expect. I find it completely transforms the way I can make marks through holes, as there’s no clash of the pencil against the fixture, so my marks become far more accurate.
The pencil does have a sharpener, which is easy to use, and I love how it’s stored on the top of the pencil. It’s a clever place to keep it.
But I also need to mention the grip on this pencil. It’s outstanding and makes you feel more confident about using the pencil since you know it’s not going to slip and move around.
Overall, this pencil is just a joy to work with.
- It has a fantastic grip
- That extended point makes a huge difference
- It works on more than just wood
- The clever positioning of the sharpener means you never lose it
- The pencil is highly effective at making those marks
- It’s not suitable if you prefer a more chunky pencil in your hand
Best Woodworking Pencil for Heavy Use – Outus Carpenter Pencils
The Outus carpenter pencil is my choice if you want a carpenter pencil that’s perfect for heavy use. Also, I just feel that this pencil is tough and capable of lasting for a crazy length of time.
This pencil also comes with graphite refills, and while that’s useful, it’s not the feature I love best about the graphite. Instead, it’s the fact that they are resistant to moisture, so that does mean they won’t really weaken, which is fantastic.
From a grip perspective, you will love the non-slip aluminum surface. It feels as if you can really grip them and make those marks. Outus has also gone an extra step in designing these pencils by adding a weight balance. It means you have better control thanks to how the weight of the pencil is distributed, and it also adds to the general comfort.
Overall, this is an excellent pencil that should last a long time before you think about potentially swapping it out for another.
- The graphite refills are moisture-resistant
- The non-slip grip is excellent
- The pencils feel well-balanced in your hand
- You can use them on different materials thanks to the carbide scriber
- It has a clip to attach it to your pocket, so you never lose it
- The sharpener aspect is not the best
Best Budget Woodworking Pencil – Irwin Carpenter Pencil
If you want to go down the budget route, I suggest checking out Irwin carpenter pencils. These pencils are no thrills, and I don’t have a problem with that.
I find they do an outstanding job even though these pencils remain as basic as they come.
In this instance, you get a pack of six different pencils, meaning you can complete many projects before you need to consider purchasing any others. These pencils are also oval in shape, so they won’t roll away too easily either. I love that aspect because of the number of times an ordinary pencil has just vanished without a trace.
The lead here can also mean it’s easy to make either fine or broad marks. Obviously, you will have moments in projects where either is required, so at least they have you covered.
I find these pencils exceptionally tough, and they don’t seem interested in breaking either, which is a great thing. The only downside is you don’t get a sharpener, but your knife will do a fantastic job all on its own.
- They are budget-friendly
- They don’t roll away, thanks to their shape
- These pencils are very tough and won’t really break
- You can make both broad and fine marks
- They have an excellent grip on them for better control
- You don’t get a sharpener, but it’s easy to work around that
Best Value Woodworking Pencil – Outus 20-Piece Woodworking Pencil Set
If you tend to go for value, then this set of 20 different pieces may prove to be the best buy. Getting all these pencils in one pack means you will never run short of having something to make those marks, and Outus is undoubtedly a brand name that won’t let you down.
But what do you get? Well, you have two different carpenter pencils, along with a total of 12 refills. There’s also an engraving pen thrown in for good measure.
These pencils tend to come with a long lifespan, and it’s no wonder they have remained a favorite with carpenters for a long time. They are known for being tough and durable, which is certainly the case with this set.
One thing I love is the tough shell of this pencil. It does mean breaking them even when dropped is harder, which I find helpful.
These pencils come with a tough tungsten carbide tip, so you will find it easy to scribe on a variety of materials and not just wood. That’s also useful for any other projects you may have lined up.
I find the pencil’s design, regarding the shape, makes it comfortable to hold. That improves your control over the pencil, leading to better lines and marks and increasing accuracy.
- You get a large number of refills in the pack
- The pencil feels comfortable to hold
- The shell is tough, so it’s not going to break too easily
- The tungsten carbide tip allows you to mark different materials
- You have good control over the pencil
- There really are no cons
Best 2-Piece Woodworking Pencil Set – Jetrishark 2-Piece
I felt drawn to this 2-piece set by Jetrishark for a few reasons. First, you get two high-quality mechanical pencils and several refills, but while that’s appreciated, it’s not the main reason I love this set.
Instead, it’s the extended nib that makes this pencil so good. Suddenly, that job of trying to mark through holes in brackets becomes a whole lot easier as this pencil will reach in without a problem.
But this brand has also gone another step by adding a special groove on the pencil’s body. This improves grip and removes some stress that would have otherwise been placed on your hand. As a result, you will experience less fatigue.
This set comes with a black refill inserted, and you have another 18 refills included. That should mean these pencils will last for some time before you think about purchasing anything else.
Overall, the extended nib and the added reach this provides have made me add these pencils to my list. Also, they feel comfortable to hold, and for some people, that comfort could make all the difference.
- The extended nib is a fantastic feature
- The groove in the body makes the pencil more comfortable
- You get absolute control over your marks
- You get several refills in the pack
- They work on different materials
- The clip is not the best, so the pencil could fall off
Best Practical Woodworking Pencil – Misprint 24-Pack
Sometimes the look of a pencil is unimportant since practicality is the key. That’s certainly the case here with this 24-pack by Misprint.
These pencils are not the most attractive, but who needs that to be the case when all you want is the ability to make marks? This set is also a bulk box, so I don’t think you will be in a position to need to buy any other carpenter pencils for some time.
This set comes with a wood casing on the pencils and a #2 core. Also, don’t expect the different pencils to all be the same, as that’s rare. However, remember I said these pencils are all about practicality rather than looks, so it doesn’t matter that much at all.
Overall, I find these pencils practical and easy to use. They have a chunk design that remains comfortable to hold, and the most important thing is that they work and do the job they are designed to do.
- You get a bulk box for a fantastic price
- They feel comfortable to hold
- They focus on practicality rather than aesthetics
- They feel robust and durable
- Sharpening them is not a problem
- They are not the best-looking pencils, but when why care about that?
Best Woodworking Pencil for Grip – Ox Woodworking Pencil (T023010)
If you want to keep things nice and simple, I suggest checking out the Ox woodworking pencil. I love the design of these pencils, and they also feel a joy to hold. Their focus is on producing a fantastic grip, which means the pencil sits quite nicely in your hand.
Their grip is designed to withstand sweaty hands and any other fluid being on the pencil. I love this because it means you can use the pencil confidently.
They come with a hard lead insert, which means you can easily use them on a variety of surfaces, not just wood. It’s clear from just the feel of the pencil that it’s designed to last, and it’s not going to shatter should you put something on top of it or drop it off your workbench.
Sharpening the pencil is easy to do, leaving you with a strong point that won’t snap under pressure. It means you can confidently make your marks, resulting in a more accurate line or mark.
Overall, the solidity of these pencils cannot be questioned, and if you suffer from sweaty hands, then this is the pencil I think you need to buy.
- The grip is excellent
- It’s the best pencil if you suffer from sweaty hands
- The pencil is robust and tough
- It leaves strong marks
- You can use it on different materials
- Some people feel they are slightly heavier than other pencils
How to Choose the Right Carpenter Pencils
The different options listed above are all fantastic carpenter pencils in their own right, but how do you choose the right one for you? Well, I have a few tips that may make a difference and help you decide.
If you know that you tend to work with different materials in your projects, then knowing your pencil can mark more than wood is important.
Thankfully, most of the options I’ve listed above will do exactly that, but it’s still worth double-checking before you make your purchase.
A standard pencil is just not durable enough to survive in a workshop. They roll off tables, break easily under pressure, and you lose them.
Focus on purchasing actual carpenter pencils, which are far more durable than a regular pencil.
You need to consider sharpening with a woodworking pencil as it doesn’t generally work the same way as an ordinary pencil.
Some brands provide you with a sharpener when you purchase them, while others leave you to use a knife or razor.
Think about which option you would prefer when making your decision.
A number of these woodworking pencils will come with refills, and I find them particularly useful. However, with the refills, I would stress you should check they are moisture-resistant.
Being moisture-resistant means they are less likely to just break, thanks to being worn down. I would recommend focusing on options that include moisture-resistant refills to make life easier.
Finally, there’s the grip, and I included a model perfect for any individual who tends to suffer from sweaty hands. It does mean the pencil won’t slip and slide, leading to more accurate marks being made, and you can understand why that’s important.
But also look to see how a pencil generally stops your hand from slipping. Some add a non-slip section or groove to make it more comfortable to hold. If you have a gripping problem, this section becomes even more important.
That’s my list of the 8 best pencils for woodworking on the market right now, and any one of them should be more than capable of doing a fantastic job.
The pencil is undoubtedly one of the main items you need to purchase when serious about woodworking projects. They mark, score, and offer guidance on what to cut and where to cut.
Life becomes harder without a pencil, and there’s no need for that to happen. So, I believe any of the 8 options listed above will be highly successful. As a result, I think you will have no problem completing your projects as long as your other tools reach the same high standards as these pencils.