Toolsday: Pencil

Anybody will tell you that you need a marking tool in your workshop, but the option field is wide. You could have a good old carpenter's pencil, a schoolroom pencil, an ink marker, a crayon, a marking knife, a tungsten scribe, or any number of things. This here is my favorite, the Staedtler Mars technico 780 C leadholder.

Drafter's Lead Holder

Technically, this is not a pencil, but a lead holder. It doesn't advance the lead with a click, like a mechanical pencil does. The button at the back end just loosens the claws that hold the lead, so you can extend or retract the lead as needed. This mechanism has fewer moving parts and doesn't wear out like mechanical pencils tend to. It uses thick 2mm leads (most mechanical pencils use leads), so the lead is durable and holds a heavy point. You can sharpen it to a razor point if you need to, though, so it makes accurate marks. The body of the technico is metal, so it is durable, thin as a wooden pencil, and protects the lead within. The metal clip holds it in a pocket, and keeps it from rolling off a workbench.

A pencil like this will run you between five and ten dollars, which is the down side, but it usually comes with extra leads and a high-quality eraser. I bought mine at the office supply store, and you want to look with the drafting tools like T-squares and compasses.

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2010.06.01 at 9:26am EDT