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Builders & Carpenter Pencils

Updated on March 6, 2011

The most common and well known carpenters pencils are the red, yellow and green Staedtler types. These are for writing on soft and hard surfaces. Other companies have builders pencils on sale as well for soft and hard surfaces.

Promotional pencils are usually produced in a variety of coloured casings.

Carpenter pencils are made in casings that are rectangular or elliptical.  This serves a dual purpose. The first is to stop the pencil blowing or rolling away. The second has a more serviceable purpose, this being that the sturdy rectangular construction makes the pencil perfect for building sites where they are subjected to very rough handling and storage conditions.

Usually, these pencils are sold unsharpened. This has caused numerous injuries to tradesman on building sites. Many cuts are incurred because the traditional method of sharpening, until recently, was the stanley knife.

There is now a sharpener available, which is available at most hardware stores, that is suitable for sharpening carpenters pencils. Unfortunately, a lot of builders are of the old school and seem quite attached to their stanley knife method of sharpening.

Not any pencil will do.
Not any pencil will do. | Source


The red and yellow pencils are classified as a medium pencil. They are suitable for all soft surfaces such as plasterboard, timber and gyprock etc.


The green pencil is classified as a hard pencil. This is suitable for all hard surfaces such as stone and concrete, but can be used on formwork as well. It is very durable and seems to last quite well when used on concrete etc.


Another pencil which has recently been introduced from the USA is the Chattahoochee FAT Builders pencil. Apparently it marks anything, including tiles.

This new pencil is revolutionary because of the fact that once it is sharpened it keeps itself honed to a point. There is also very minimal wastage because the whole pencil is made of the writing substance. It is not encased in timber as are the usual building pencils.

Although this pencil is more expensive than the normal wooden cased varieties is does last extremely well and is very flexible. Plus it has the advantage of maintaining it's point without the need for continual sharpening and unnecessary finger cuts.

With Thanks
With Thanks


The chinograph pencil is very similar, in style to the everyday colouring pencil. They come in black and white as well as many other colours. They are made of hardened coloured wax and the print is also moisture resistant. An added advantage is it's ability to be used on wet surfaces.

This pencil is extremely flexible in that it can be used on surfaces that the normal carpenters pencil won't write on.

The chinograph pencil is used to write on plastic labels, colourbond, glass, acetate, tiles, glass, film and any other impervious surface. They are extremely good for glossy surfaces. It is a pencil which can be used in laboratories to mark beakers.

Another advantage of this useful pencil is the ability to erase it with either a wet or dry cloth.


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