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How many times have you cursed at a wooden pencil slipping endlessly through your greasy-handed grip? Not many? Well, listen up anyway. The Draftmatic is a pencil designed for artists (yes, I know. Bear with me), available with 0.3, 0.5, 0.7, and 0.9mm lead sizes. Since it’s mechanical, you won’t lose any time sharpening it, but the tiny little eraser probably won’t last very long in rough environments. The pencil itself, made by a very good name from strong plastics and fine steel, probably will.

But why bother mentioning it? Well, the answer is that bit of machined steel at the pencil’s business end — a chromed, knurled-steel grip. Oily hands? Pfft. Your fingers are going nowhere. The quality materials won’t collect gunk, either, and even if they do, a shot of brake cleaner would restore the pencils to brand-new status. Woodworkers will appreciate the 0.9mm version, with lead thick enough to stand those little bumps and knots, as well as any annoying notches in your ruler. Art and online stores have Draftmatics for around $9.

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7 Responses to Alvin Draftmatics

  1. jeffrey immer says:

    for starters mechanical pencils are horrible for marking wood, unless it like ac plywood, plus drafting pencils in my experience are horribly uncomfortable to write with unless you use proper drafting techinque, i did hand drafting for 8 years

  2. Cybergibbons says:

    Useless for wood, I agree. I used to carry a very similar mechanical pencil for writing in my notebook when I worked on ships. I’d always find that ball points stopped working with oil and sweat, yet a mechanical pencil always worked. I also can’t do maths when I use a pen…

  3. eric says:

    I would stay away from mechanical pencils that have the thin metal tube at the end, especially if it doesn’t retract with the lead, once it’s bent the pencil is useless. Personally I like these in the shop, http://www.reuels.com/reuels/Sumo_Grip_9mm_Pencil_Clear.html

  4. heywood says:

    I have a couple of these in .7 mm thickness. They are great, but I also almost never work with wood at work.

  5. johnnyp says:

    I own about 20 of these style pencils and haven’t used them in about 20 yrs. They are sitting in a brief case along with templates, lettering guides and various other
    outdated drafting tools. If I remember correctly these pencils were not even used for formal drawings they were relegated to note taking ,calcs & basic layout w/blue lead(blue is not reproducible on an old ammonia copier) on mylar and finished in ink No two pencil and a fine small file is the way to go when working with wood just dont get any filings on your work

  6. Mrten says:

    These fixed-width pencils are great for woodworking (and all kinds of home improvement), no need to ever sharpen your pencil, just push the button. That being said, you should really go for the cheap plastic versions that retail for $0.60 or less (Bic matic is one), then you needn’t worry about the refills either.

  7. I like to use mechanical pencils in the shop, but you have to know their limitations like they don’t work well for soft/rough stock, but seem to be fine for oak, other hardwood trim plastics and paper — I’m always jotting things down, sketching and doing calculations, using a carpenter’s pencil for that drives me crazy.

    I still keep other pencils around for when the mechanical one doesn’t work well, but I like having a nice fine point. I personally like the Zebra M-301 — cheap and I like the grip.

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