The Half-pencil: Your Layout Friend

Carpenter’s pencils have restricted makes use of in a furnishings store, however
after I encountered the “half-pencil” years in the past I began
hoarding carpenter’s pencils to remodel them into
half-pencils for my pals.

The half-pencil, as its identify implies, is a carpenter’s pencil
that has been planed right down to half its thickness. (Utilizing a
carpenter’s pencil makes it simpler to airplane it down and it
provides you extra bearing floor in use than a college pencil.)

What’s it good for? Transferring marks from one floor to
one other with none fear that the pencil line will wander.
Contemplate tracing round a wood sample to the wooden beneath.
With a mechanical or college pencil, you need to tilt the pencil
to make sure the lead marks precisely on the intersection of the
sample and the wooden. It’s simple for the result in slip below the
sample or get lost from it.

With the half pencil you set the lead proper on the sample. You
can’t miss.

One other unbelievable use for the half-pencil is when transferring
massive tenons to the areas that can be mortised, reminiscent of when
slicing the mortises for a large Roubo benchtop. The
half-pencil additionally goes locations a knife received’t and precisely
traces the form of the tenon and the dovetail on the underside
of the benchtop. Even when the lead is boring, you might be in nice
form since you need to minimize away the wooden contained in the
lead line.

(Facet word: After I mark out the joints for this bench, I come
again with the iron of my block airplane. I place the flat again of
the iron flat on the joint and hint across the tenon and the
dovetail. This offers me each a pencil line (for my growing older eyes)
and a knife line (for my instruments).)

The half-pencil can be splendid for marking out the ultimate lengths
of chair legs earlier than slicing them down. As proven within the picture
above, I first degree the chair’s body on the benchtop,
propping up the legs to get the chair canted simply the way in which I

Then I minimize a four&occasions;four to size that symbolize the quantity I wish to
noticed away from the underside of the legs. I place the four&occasions;four on the
benchtop and put the half-pencil on prime of it. Then I can
simply mark the chair legs throughout.

Sure, I do know there are methods round all of the above conditions. I
explored them. The half-pencil makes these duties a cinch. Give
it a attempt – I wager you’ve an unused carpenter’s pencil in your
instrument chest someplace.

— Christopher Schwarz

P.S. For individuals who assume the graphite within the pencil will boring
your airplane blade, I simply wish to say…. uh… I greatest not. And
ditto for individuals who assume the graphite will intrude with

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