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  • Pen or Pencil?

    I have been watching an Ian Norbury video hoping to improve my carvings. Two equipment choices have caught my eye. First he works almost exclusively with fishtail gouges. The second and my question is pen or pencil for marking your wood and why? I have always used a pencil but noticed he primarily uses pen. Any thoughts?

  • #2
    I'm a pencil guy. I feel like I can make lighter marks that are easier to remove. I can see where a pen would make for less smudging, but to me it seems you either use a ballpoint which would leave an impression, or a felt tip that would bleed into the wood.

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    • #3
      I always use a black fine point sharpie marker or a black gel pen it is noted I carve in hardwoods there has never been an issue with the wood soaking in ink or marker marks....., I want to see those lines easily and from a distance. I use white chalk for dark woods. The way I see it does not matter what you use because it will get cut or sanded off. The pencil does not mark easy enough and it is too light, the gel pen is easier to use and see and I do not have to worry about getting pencil marks rubbed onto my hands as I often rest the hands on the carving as I carve. Although some markings will not stick to some woods then it is any means necessary I have used painter's tape to mark carvings also.
      Last edited by DiLeon; 01-10-2022, 11:17 AM.
      . Explore! Dream! Discover!” aloha Di

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      • #4
        I have been a pencil person but started using gell pens after taking a class with a carver named Dylan Goodson. They make a clean line and do not smear like led will. If you ahve not seen his work you will like his faces and figures Ed.
        https://oldoakenterprises.com/galler...s-woodspirits/

        https://oldoakenterprises.com/gallery-figure-carvings/
        Last edited by Randy; 01-10-2022, 12:41 PM.
        We live in the land of the free because of the brave! Semper Fi
        https://www.pinterest.com/carvingbarn0363/

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Randy View Post
          I have been a pencil person but started using gell pens after taking a class with a carver named Dylan Goodson. They make a clean line and do not smear like led will. If you ahve not seen his work you will like his faces Ed. https://oldoakenterprises.com/galler...s-woodspirits/
          Thanks for the info and the share real nice works.

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          • #6
            I'm a bother guy. When I first lay my pattern down is the time I use the ink/gel, after I start carving I use aq 4B. I like the way you can mark on your rough-out wood areas. When I'm getting to a finish stage, I still use the 4B, so I outline my carving, the line comes off when I power brush with a mandrel with non-woven fabric, which is usually by final step before painting.
            . . .JoeB

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            • #7
              Pencils for me. Easier to change. Ink smears for me. I like F lead.

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              • #8
                After a layout and a lot of study I will usually just use a pencil to draw out my pattern. Or if I'm on a flat I'll us a copy paper, pencil is prime. Oh and I always have a white eraser, the red ones smear.
                Chuck
                Always hoping for a nice slice that won't need sanding!

                https://woodensmallthings.blogspot.com/2021/01/

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                • #9
                  #2 pencil for me...if I can't erase it off the wood, I carve it off. I use a white fabric marker when carving bark. If it doesn't get carved off, I can use a nylon brush and get it off the bark...

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                  • #10
                    I put the major reference lines of the pattern on the wood with transfer paper and carve it away as I proceed.

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                    • #11
                      Very soft 4B pencils for low pressure and graphite paper, not carbon paper (greasy).
                      An artist's graphite stick is even better.

                      China markers, grease pencils, don't soak in at all, many colors and really easy to shave off.

                      I can't tell by looking, how absorbent the wood will be and how much that might change
                      over the length of the carving. The butterfly storey poles are 64" tall and I'd rather do all the line work with a 4B or 6B pencil. Those flat carpenter's pencils are pretty good, too.

                      I don't care if it smears, I will be carving/shaving it off anyway. I might have to replace the center line 5-10 times to try to keep the left/right symmetry.
                      Brian T

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                      • #12
                        Whatever soft lead pencil I have on hand. I tried pens but they either dry up or get clogged. I haven't tried gel pens though.

                        BobL

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                        • #13
                          I started using mechanical pencils. The line is fine and doesn't smudge as much. Pens don't seem as user friendly.

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                          • #14
                            Given that I have the artistic talent of a Shmoo and find it difficult to draw a straight line with a ruler I lean towards graphite and collect 4B pencils. The way I figure it that why Proctor and Gamble invented Dawn. Yes it gets messy but any product that can remove fuel oil off a Duck's back should have no problem with a little smudge!

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                            • #15
                              I think he may use whichever is handy.
                              Here he used both .... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anAo...l=JamesNorbury
                              Here he uses pencil ...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QT68...l=JamesNorbury
                              Other videos ink.
                              I don't think it matters as long as the ink does not absorb into the wood.
                              Last edited by johnvansyckel; 01-11-2022, 10:38 AM.
                              John
                              ​​​​​
                              "Quality is not expensive. It is priceless!"

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