Thursday, March 05, 2020


Most of the "markers" I use in the shop have a "yes but" factor, pen or pencil there is something that is a PITA. I have found a mechanical pencil that while it doesn't address all the "yes buts" comes pretty damn close.

The Zebra Del Guard Mechanical Pencil with a 0.5mm lead is the best all around marker I've found.  You can find them on Amazon.  

The lead is thin enough to mark inside a knife line but because of the way it is supported will not break as easily as other 0.5mm pencil leads. 

I just finished marking out a small box, I broke the lead three times which if you have used a 0.5mm mechanical pencil is pretty amazing.

BTW, the reason I'm marking out a small box is I'm finally getting around to making MsBubba's dining room table. My associated trip to the wood store was pretty disappointing.  There were not a lot of 8/4 wood on the racks and what was there was pretty grim or over $8 USD a board foot. The exception was Alder both clear and knotty.

I've never worked with Alder so I bought a small 4/4 board to play with, to see how it works and takes finish. I thought "self, what better way to test wood than make something out of it". I haven't made a small box in awhile so might as well. Kinda a long way around to a mechanical pencil, working Alder, and making a table for MsBubba but that's life, it is almost never linear.

BTW, that is a piece of the Alder under the pencil. 



  1. When my sister had her kitchen re-done a few years ago, I got the wood from all drawer fronts and doors. I thought it was maple at the time, as it had a yellow appearance with a thick coat of finish on it. When I removed the finish, I realized it wasn't maple, but had no idea what it was. I finally found out last year that it is red alder, when I came across that species at the lumber store. I think it is a really beautiful wood and it has been nice to work with hand tools. But I guess if there is a "red" alder, there must be other species of alder. Don't know which yours might be ...

  2. Matt,

    Me either :-). They sell it as Knotty Alder and it does have a few knots but at less than $3.00USD a board foot I can live with a few knots. BTW, they have timber labeled as Alder for $6.00 USD a board foot. Again I can live with a few knots.