Rockler has come out with new HB/No. 2 shop pencils, emblazoned with their name on it.
Rockler advertises their new pencils as being suited for marking wood, sketching out designs, jotting down cut lists, and all kinds of other writing or marking tasks.
The pencils feature solid wood hexagonal-shaped casings, and the shape gives them an anti-roll design.
If you haven’t seen this style of pencil before, it’s more of an art or drawing pencil, with a smooth end rather than the typical eraser you might find on office or student pencils.
The pencils are sold in packs of 5 for $4.
Rockler has also come out with a magnetic pencil keeper kit, which also comes with a small sharpener and 3 pencils.
The magnetic pencil keeper fits over the end of the pencil. In addition to the magnet, for sticking the pencil to ferromagnetic surfaces, it also has a pocket clip and eraser.
This kit is priced at $10.
Other Drawing Pencil Options
Here are some other like-priced options if you’re thinking of getting some drawing pencils for workshop use:
There are higher-priced options, and many art-focused brands also offer pencils in different hardness grades. HB is the same as number 2 pencils commonly found at office supply stores, and generally the hardness increases with higher H grades (e.g. 2H), and softens with higher B grades (e.g. 2B).
HB pencils don’t dull very quickly, and leave dark-enough markings on paper and most wood species.
If you’re saying “yeah, yeah, I know all this, I use HB pencils all the time,” well, have you tried 2B pencils yet?
Staedtler 2B Pencil 12-Pack: $7 via Amazon
These Staedtler 2B pencils aren’t artist-grade pencils, they’re described as being writing pencils, but it’s a low cost and low risk way to try out 2B pencils.
2B pencils have softer graphite cores than HB, and so they leave a darker line. They also have to be sharpened more frequently.
Too “old school” for you? Check out our posts on mechanical pencils.
Why Not Use Office Supply Pencils?
You can and should.
These are all other just options for users who want more. If you don’t know whether more premium pencils will work for you, they are usually inexpensive enough to try them out for yourself. If you’re placing a Rockler order, consider picking up a pack of pencils for $4. If not, art supply stores generally have a couple of different brand and style options.
Personally, I like drawing pencils because they write smoother, their graphite cores are usually of greater quality and are less prone to breakage, and it’s overall an improved experience.
There’s more of a difference when it comes to drawing and sketching, and much less when it comes to marking wood or filling in knife marks.
What About Carpenter Pencils?
What about them? They are a hassle to sharpen and usually leave a broader line. They’re great for thick markings, but lousy for drawing, sketching, or writing on paper.
A drawing pencil is a fret saw, a carpenter pencil is an axe.
A Better General All-Purpose Pencil
I like the Staedtler Norica for general purpose use. They deliver a better experience than typical office supply pencils, but aren’t as pricey as drawing pencils.