At the end of 2012 I had a chance to try out a new-to-me product for marking up my materials – Lumber Crayons!
Yes, there are lots of different ways you can mark layout lines and notations on your materials:
- pencil – is the most obvious choice
- magic markers
- lasers (ok that one is a stretch unless you’re a major factory shop perhaps)
I’ve used all of these, except for the laser (yet), and they have their pros and cons especially when it comes to working on rough lumber.
The folks over at Kaufmann Mercantile contacted me and asked if I had ever tried a Lumber Crayon? My first response to anything with the word “crayon” in it is first skepticism.
Then I remembered all those drawings on the walls my kids did! They were bright and easy to see, but they ALSO didn’t smudge very easily and more importantly, they didn’t penetrate deep below the surface either! So I said yes.
Coincidentally, when the samples arrived, I was in middle of the Bedside Tables build and was just about to break down some the last of the rough lumber for milling. The crayons worked great on the rough surface of the wood and I had no problem writing and laying out lines and even component names for later where necessary.
Eventually I even used the crayons to indicate where I still needed to work the surface of the rough table tops when handplaning them to their finished dimensions. I simply scribbled lines along across the surface and after planing I’d know exactly where I needed to concentrate my next passes.
They come in three colors; red, yellow and black. These colors are all highly visible and work great with most species of lumber. I’d suggest using the red or yellow on darker species such as walnut and the red or black on light colored woods such as maple or poplar. The contrast of colors will make the lines stand out so much better when you’re laying out your cut lines for rough work.
The crayons are a clay-based tool that’s described as being able to “write smoothly on metal, lumber, concrete, wood, and almost any surface too, whether wet, dry, frozen, or hot, from -20F to 150F. A great tool for woodworking, sorting firewood, building a shed…”.
I definitely wouldn’t use them for fine layout lines on my projects due to the size of the tip, but for rough work and even writing things like component names and dimensions for when it’s time to mill the pieces, these lumber crayons working amazing and I imagine a whole box is going to last me a long time.
I suggest going with the red crayons because they show up equally well on both bright and dark colored species of lumber, and if you really want to be cool like me, get the Aluminum Crayon Holder. It’s a great accessory to keep the crayon from being broken, your hands from possibly getting discolored and it just looks cool. too.
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