Thursday, November 25, 2010

Striker Carpenters Mechanical Pencil

Striker Carpenters Mechanical Pencil

The oldest known pencil in existence is a carpenters pencil dating from the 17th Century.

Time moves on. Part of the Biss Products design brand group, “Striker” is the brand name used for their range of hand tools, which includes a mechanical carpenter pencil. Or should that be carpenters mechanical pencil, or mechanical pencil for carpenters or…?
striker mechanical carpenter pencil

Striker claims their carpenters mechanical pencil is tough, durable and reliable, and you can run it over with a ¾ ton truck and it will still keep working. I’m not a carpenter, which makes me the black sheep of the family. I suppose I should really be a collector of carpenters pencils…but I’m not?
carpenters pencils

However growing up around all that sawing and hammering, helping build many relatives’ houses, etc means I do know my tenon saw from my fret saw, and I just don’t see my sawdusty relatives using a Striker. I don’t see it being suitable for all the non-drawing things that a carpenters pencil gets used for – as a glue spreader, a little wedge or lever, and so on.

Anyway, putting practicality aside, the Striker carpenter mechanical pencil certainly looks interesting, and I’m glad to have one. Thanks to Henrik for sending me one.

The Striker is of relatively normal dimensions for a carpenter pencil. Tough plastic body with a pocket clip.
striker carpenter pencil top clip

It is a push top mechanism - that whole black pocket clip section is the ‘push button’ - but it’s not your normal mechanism. Basically it’s a clutch pencil or leadholder with a rudimentary advance mechanism. The pencil has to be held horizontally for the lead to advance. Hold it vertically facing downwards and the lead will free-fall as you push the top, and the lead won’t advance if it's facing upwards.

Feast your eyes on those leads!
striker carpenter pencil leads
Woo-hoo! The Catepillar of lead!

That’s impressive.

Striker brand them as Dura Lead.
striker dura lead carpenter refills

As well as “medium density” graphite, there are red and white coloured replacement leads available.

I’m under the impression some artists use carpenter pencils so the Striker maybe useful for them, and I could see it being used in some home workshops, but for carpenters out on the building site…I have my doubts. So, if anyone who swings a hammer for a living (well these days its probably more like pulls the trigger on a nail gun) reads this and has used a Striker then it would be interesting to read your comments. Of course that also goes for anyone who uses a Striker for any other purposes too.

From Isu, here’s two mechanical pencils aimed at the Japanese domestic market for carpenter pencils…but that’s a posting for another day.
carpenter mechanical pencils


Anonymous said...

I have a soft spot for carpenter's pencils (of the wooden variety). They are such a useful tool, not just a marking implement. I worked as a plumber's helper during grad school and I always had a pencil one me at all times. Plus, you sharpen them with a knife, what could be simpler? And that lead is strong as can be. I can't remember actually breaking one when writing with it. Prying or something else, well that's another story.


Dwscamel said...

The red leadholder in the last picture looks interesting.

My brother was a handyman and carpenter. I remember going to the hardware store with him and watching him grab a handful of carpenter's pencils because he never finds them anywhere else and they seem to disappear. Very rich tools.

Dittohead said...

The Lewisburg (sandford) plant in Tennesse closed down last year not sure if that was the last carpenter pencil plant in the US. I know venders on ebay sold them from that specific plant by the boatload I got a few hundread.

Timewaster btw =)

Anonymous said...

Maybe a finish carpenter would use something like this. Someone who did a lot of clean, smaller scaled work. But I don't see this much out on the framing side of things. It's difficult to make things like this strong enough to stand up to the work they endure and also price them where it would be advantageous for a guy to buy it and use it.

Standard carpenter pencils aren't all that expensive and they last a good while. So, I think this mechanical version certainly has a niche. Albeit a small one.

Henrik said...

The last comment : "I think this mechanical version certainly has a niche. Albeit a small one".. Wonder which, really ? I bought a Striker for Calligraphy layouts but alas the leads are too hard for that - only faint marks on paper. It would have been nice to avoid the sharpening.

Excellent review Dave, nice to see the Striker in woody surroundings ;-)
regards Henrik

Anonymous said...

Love this review. I'm not a carpenter. Although,I've been looking for this type of pencil without success in craft shops. For art & craft work. Carpenter's pencils are perfect for my calligraphy etc. Now I know where to buy.thankyou.