Use the right tool for the job!...How many times have we all heard dad tell us that!? (Even as he was pounding nails into the walls with the back of a screwdriver LOL)
Lets face it he was right and now its our turn to scream at our kids(WOOT!). Even still we often DON'T use the right tool. No matter how we try, because as simple as it seems it's often more difficult than it seems to do.
Many people think that a pencil is all you will ever need in a wood shop. To a large degree they are probably right.
The question is "Which pencil???"
I use a lot of marking implements in my shop. A standard old #2 pencil is great MOST of the time, however. I work in 128ths of an inch every so often and a #2 pencil no matter how sharp, just wont do the job. So in that case I use a marking knife. When I am marking walnut in irregular shapes (I actually do this quite often) a Pencil just doesn't work at all - it doesn't make enough contrast to see the line when cutting on the bandsaw - I use a green pencil (or even better -shocker- a PEN, ink and all LOL) because they create more contrast against the browns and reds of the walnut. When I'm marking the center of a hole (for drilling) I like to use an ice pick - Its simple and does the job. Lastly, remember those big square pencils grandpa always told you was the only pencil you will ever need because is a 'carpenters pencil'? Well I even have a use for that one - Sanding. Yup I said it right , SANDING. When I'm doing a final sand on a job and I'm looking for all previous grits scratches a square carpenters pencil is what reach for, its big and lays down a lot of graphite. Which makes scratches easy to see, then I just sand it until the graphite is all gone and more often than not - so are the scratches.
So you see I went through and wrote this whole blog asking and telling about our sample of a pencil as a tool and still never answered which one is the RIGHT one for the job, as I stated earlier its not such a simple question. All I can say is you know when you are abusing a tool and dad also taught you this - Take care of your tools and they will take care of you.