Carpenter Pencils: Tools of the Craft

Today we look at a different type of pencil with a very specific purpose. I wanted to grab a few carpenter pencils from some of the big box stores and see which ones may actually be worth the investment. Carpenter pencils are very cheap but have they been held to an enthusiast’s standards? Let’s get our sharpeners out and take a look!

Carpenter Pencil

Carpenter pencils are really only made for one use. They are designed for making marks or lines but not really for writing. They typically have longer flat bodies so that they are easier to grip, do not roll away, and they are also supposed to be durable enough to be thrown in a tool bag and not broken. Today I’m going to do some analyzing of the Home Depot Carpenter Pencil, the Lowe’s Carpenter Pencil, and the Dixon Carpenter Pencil.


Carpenter Pencil

The Home Depot Carpenter pencil has a nice  orange lacquer that is smooth in the hand but also easy to grip. Only one side has pressed in info and also claims to be made in the USA. This pencil weighs in at about 1.5 ounces and is about 7.3 x 1.4 x 0.9 inches. You can buy these at Home Depot for $0.17 per pencil or $3.50 for a 10 pack and it includes a sharpener which would make the pencil about $0.35 a pencil if you bought the pack. This is the same sharpener that can be bought at Lowe’s for $0.25. To me this is not as good of a deal as the Dixon.


Carpenter Pencil

The Lowe’s carpenter pencil is made by a company called IRWIN that manufacturers other tools. It doesn’t state what kind of wood they use but these have a nice raw finish to them. Unfortunately they do have a large barcode on them and it takes between 2-3 sharpens to cut past the barcode. These are also about 7.3 x 1.4 x 0.9 inches and weigh about 1.2 ounces. Lowe’s has them available in individual purchase so you can inspect the pencil before purchase. The single pencil is $0.25.


Carpenter Pencil

The Dixon carpenter pencil, also sold at Lowe’s, has an awesome black matte finish. They unfortunately also have a large barcode like the Lowe’s Irwin carpenter pencil but something I noticed was that these don’t state whether or not they were made in the US… Hm…  Lowe’s not only has them on sale available in large packs but they also have them available in individual purchase so you can inspect the pencil before purchase. The single pencil is $0.25 and the 20 pack is $3.50 which saves  you about $0.03 per pencil but thee pack does not include a sharpener and  that is only about $0.25.


Carpenter Pencil

Carpenter Pencil

I am not sure what wood is used in the Home Depot pencil but it was very difficult to sharpen. The blade would often get stuck trying to shave it down. The Lowe’s pencil shaved down like butter. I also like the the look of the grains through out the pencil even when it is sharpened. The Dixon seemed to sharpen fine  but that was about it. It was just like sharpening your standard pencil.


Carpenter Pencil

After the writing test I have determined the Lowe’s Irwin pencil is much harder. It was more scratchier than the other two. The Home Depot pencil seemed to be your standard HB pencil. The Dixon however was much darker and smoother to write with. This must be more of a B. It felt great writing with it.

Carpenter Pencil

Ultimately what I’ve  concluded out of these, and this is my opinion alone just gathered through testing, is that the Dixon pencil is the better of the three. Although the Lowe’s Irwin pencil was close because of it’s pretty raw finish beautiful would grains I could not look past how hard this pencil was. It was as dark as an HB but was definitely what I would call a Vampire killer with how hard it was. The price of the Dixon 20 pack is pretty awesome and even though it didn’t include a sharpener.. that only puts you back an extra $0.25 anyways and the matte black finish on the pencil definitely catches my eye and it writes darker and smoother than the other two.. The Home Depot pencil just seemed fine.I can see thee appeal of this pencil with it’s orange lacquer and not having a barcode but doesn’t really have much else going for it.

I hope you enjoy my Battle of the Carpenter pencils and maybe in the future I’ll add some more. If you’ve got some favorite carpenter pencils be sure to comment below and let me know or email me in the contact section of my page.

Links for the Pencils in this post:

Lowe’s Irwin Carpenter Pencil

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