Author Topic: A mini review for a....pencil!  (Read 22593 times)

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Offline builderbob

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A mini review for a....pencil!
« on: December 08, 2012, 11:11 PM »
Hello all!

I want to take a minute and talk about one of my most used tools...it's a pencil!  This is not just any pencil, it's called a Pica Dry.

I received a package in the mail a week and a half ago and had no idea what it was. It just so happened I received this pencil.



I got on the horn with Andrew...the awesome dude selling these!  Had a great conversation with him and told him I'd let him & the FOG know my thoughts.

After having this for about 10 days, I have to say I REALLY enjoy this pencil and wouldn't be without it. As you can see in the photo below, the lower third of the pencil is narrow and can fit into smaller spaces & openings. This is a mechanical pencil, so you can get replacement leads...which are also available in quite a few colors.



The pencil is a two part unit...the sheath clips to the inside of your pants, apron, etc. the base of the sheath has a sharpener for the lead, which you can sharpen to a nice point. The green cap of the pencil (like Festool moving parts ;)) comes off to reload the leads.

The only missing part is an eraser which I have no problem carrying a separate eraser.

My understanding is that this pencil was first spotted on Brian "the Sedge" Sedgely by Andrew and he (Andrew) found a way to bring them to us on this side of the big lake!  The selling price for the pencil is around $12, the replacement leads vary around the $5 price point. There are also 2mm felt tipped sharpie type pens that have a very thin neck. I have not had a chance to play with those yet, but I'm sure they're cool & handy!

If you're in the market for an awesome pencil that definitely will last, I'd highly recommend one or two of these!  I'll be ordering a few more so I'll never be without one on the road and in the shop!

The site to purchase these is www.artisantool.co (not .com)

I'll be interested to hear others input if anybody else ends up buying one!

I am not being paid, endorsed or bribed for this review!  I discussed with Andrew of Artisan Tool that I would give my honest thoughts...here they are!

Bob
Kapex, TS55, CMS GE, Carvex 420, Domino DF500, MFK 700, OF 2200, OF 1400, OF 1010, EHL65, RAS 115, RTS 400, RO150, ETS 150/3, ETS 125, CT 22 (2), CXS (2), C-15+3, T-12+3, PSB 300 & more MFT's than i can count!

Festool USA does not pre-approve the contents of this website nor endorse the application or use of any Festool product in any way other than in the manner described in the Festool Instruction Manual. To reduce the risk of serious injury and/or damage to your Festool product, always read, understand and follow all warnings and instructions in your Festool product's Instruction Manual. Although Festool strives for accuracy in the website material, the website may contain inaccuracies. Festool makes no representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness or timeliness of the material on this website or about the results to be obtained from using the website. Festool and its affiliates cannot be responsible for improper postings or your reliance on the website's material. Your use of any material contained on this website is entirely at your own risk. The content contained on this site is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice.


Online Peter Halle

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Re: A mini review for a....pencil!
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2012, 02:42 AM »
I too have a Pica-Dry and enjoy using it.  I saw it being used at JLC Live (not being demonstrated) and went looking for one.  Couldn't find one and gave up.  I noticed Andrew's signature line in a post not too long ago and decided to buy one.

The lead is fairly soft (but not too soft) allowing you to control the thickness of the line with hand pressure.  The sharpener does what it it is supposed to do, but if you break the lead - usually only from dropping it - it does take some time to get the point back due to the thickness of the lead.  MY solution is to check that into the Jacobs chuck on my C-12 and let it rip. The holster for the technical marker (fancy name) is pretty remarkable in that it holds the marker in securely without any sort of latching action.  If you turn it upside down and try to shake it loose it takes some effort to dislodge the marker.  The color also makes it hard to misplace in even the cab of my truck  [scared].

I hate carpenter's pencils (too thick a line) and have been using mechanical pencils and regular No. 2's for decades, but find that this lead thickness is a good compromise.  Of course for those who use Incra or Woodpecker products with the marking holes or slots the lead is too thick.  For those who hand cut dovetails and don't use marking knives, these will get into tighter places due to the thin barrel.  As Bob said, there are different leads available that even include "water jet resistant" but I haven't tried any of those yet

They would make a great gift for Christmas.

Peter

Offline joiner1970

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Re: Re: A mini review for a....pencil!
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2012, 06:49 AM »
Anyone know if these are available in the UK ?

Online Peter Halle

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Re: Re: A mini review for a....pencil!
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2012, 07:50 AM »
Anyone know if these are available in the UK ?

Chris,

I believe that company is out of Germany but will ship:  Euro Industry  .

Peter

Offline Sal LiVecchi

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Re: A mini review for a....pencil!
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2012, 07:52 AM »
Bob.   This seems to be something worth trying, I like the idea of the different color  leads.

Nice find

Sal
Life is too short and the road is too long to drive anything less than a Festool

Offline joiner1970

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Re: Re: A mini review for a....pencil!
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2012, 08:20 AM »
Cheers Peter, I spotted them already but its £18 postage plus £10 so £28 for a pencil :o

Offline galwaydude18

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Re: A mini review for a....pencil!
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2012, 08:46 AM »
Jesus £28 for a pencil  [eek] I bought 13 2H pencils the other day for €4.40

Offline sheeschen

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Re: A mini review for a....pencil!
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2012, 01:48 PM »
During the cabinet class in Lebanon a few months ago (awesome class - just never got around to writing a review for it), Brian Sedgely was using one of these and loved it.  My "lab partner" and I both googled around and found Artisan Tool and promptly ordered some.  I've been happy with mine.  It is pricey for a pencil, but it's nice with the protective cap and sharpener built in.

I also picked up a variety pack of different-colored leads (like white if I ever have to mark on something dark), but haven't used them yet.

     Scott


Offline joiner1970

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Re: Re: Re: A mini review for a....pencil!
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2012, 03:01 PM »
http://stores.ebay.co.uk/profi-bueroartikel/Industriemarker-/_i.html?_fsub=1794559012

Cheers Dean but its still a lot of money for a pencil, even festool ones aren't that expensive :D

Offline Frank-Jan

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Re: A mini review for a....pencil!
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2012, 06:47 PM »
I have a few of those, but stopped buying new ones over a year ago. They were introduced after the felt-tipped deephole markers which I really like.
At first the only annoyance with the pica dry was that once a little piece got stuck inside the little sharpener, it's a pain to clear it.

Then I tried the colored fillings, but they are way too soft and break easily, but what made me stop buying new ones is, that once they get wet from the rain, they won't work anymore. (I think due to loss of friction inside, it even won't work with a new filling)

But I really like the felt-tipped version, for marking mounting holes, the sleeve is a lot thinner, and you can slide the lower part of the sleeve up, so more of the felt tip gets exposed, so you can trim the tip a bit when it starts to fray.

Over here they are sold under the Lyra brand, which also sells the "good" carpenter's pencils.

link to pdf lyra catalog

Offline Chris Wong

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Re: A mini review for a....pencil!
« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2012, 03:30 AM »
Can somebody please post a picture of the Pica Dry out of the sheath, next to a regular wooden pencil for scale?
Chris Wong, http://FlairWoodworks.com

The thoughts and ideas expressed here are my own and do not necessarily represent those of http://UltimateTools.ca.  But Dan does say "hello".

Offline Kristian

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Re: A mini review for a....pencil!
« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2012, 05:14 AM »
I've used this one for a while as well and really enjoy using it. As said earlier it's great for marking mounting holes, the metal part is 5 mm and fits perfectly into pre-drilled holes centering the lead and therefore leaving nicely centered marks on the wall.

The lead is soft and leaves perfect lines on tiles and laminated floors. On rough lumber I still use a traditional harder carpenter's pencil but this is a great supplement to have in your kit.

The coloured refills are great for markings on darker materials but I haven't used those much.

79685-0

Online Peter Halle

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Re: A mini review for a....pencil!
« Reply #13 on: December 12, 2012, 07:11 AM »
Chris,

Hope that this helps:

79687-0

79689-1

79691-2

Peter

Offline Chris Wong

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Re: A mini review for a....pencil!
« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2012, 10:40 AM »
Peter,

That was everything and more I was looking for in a picture.  Thanks!
Chris Wong, http://FlairWoodworks.com

The thoughts and ideas expressed here are my own and do not necessarily represent those of http://UltimateTools.ca.  But Dan does say "hello".

Offline bwiele

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Re: A mini review for a....pencil!
« Reply #15 on: December 12, 2012, 09:09 PM »
Bob, my friend, why have you fallen out of touch with me?  And now THIS?  I also saw Brian using this pencil at one of the classes in Lebanon, IN and I came back on a hunt to find one, which I eventually abandoned (frustrated).  I'm so glad you posted this - I'm placing an order immediately!

(I'm kidding, of course, in the way I started this post.  I hope you are well.  I've been super busy myself, and I'm working on some built-ins in my shop (a la Guido Henn) so I've been out of touch.  Hope to see you again soon pal.  Perhaps a Tool Nut gathering soon?)

Brian

Offline builderbob

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Re: A mini review for a....pencil!
« Reply #16 on: December 12, 2012, 10:19 PM »
Brother Brian!  I'm glad you could be assisted in find your elusive pencil!

I saw your Guido post and am looking forward to photos!  We need to hook up soon!  I see a trip up to the Nut to chill!

Glad you're doing well!  Talk soon!

Bob
Kapex, TS55, CMS GE, Carvex 420, Domino DF500, MFK 700, OF 2200, OF 1400, OF 1010, EHL65, RAS 115, RTS 400, RO150, ETS 150/3, ETS 125, CT 22 (2), CXS (2), C-15+3, T-12+3, PSB 300 & more MFT's than i can count!

Offline yashiromishoone

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Re: A mini review for a....pencil!
« Reply #17 on: October 08, 2014, 08:09 PM »
I PMed the person who asked the question but just in case there is anyone else wondering here's the message again. I actually edited it a bit cos I had made some errors moving text up and down and some bits made no sense.

"I noticed you were looking for the PICA-dry pencil in the UK. It's difficult to get excited about a pencil but trust me you can get excited about this one! it's that good! if you use festools and you get a hard on (maybe this is just me!) for well designed-well considered-quality products, then this is  the pencil for you. not sure where you live in the UK and whether there is one near you but there is a chain called 'Clas Ohlson' that stock both the pencil and the refills . I'm in Kingston and there is one here and as of 6 months ago they stocked them in that branch. good luck. I love the sheath. for me ,the best of a great number of excellent design features. you hook that on to your pocket and the pencil always goes back in there so in terms of interaction design it's perfect. you always know where to reach for the pencil and you don't get holes in your pockets or broken tips or have to wonder how to stick your pencil behind your ear and put on safety specs at the same time. it's just awesome. have I mentioned I like this product? the only downside is that if you accidentally bend the tip (I had it sticking out of my pocket and the other end got caught in a door frame as I was running past. it takes some force as I ended up with a bruise so not that easy to do) then it takes some time to bend it back and forth to get the really sharp point. 

P.S. even if you order them from germany on Ebay £24 for the pencil and the 8 pack assorted refil pack inc. delivery, it's still worth it."

Offline rst

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Re: A mini review for a....pencil!
« Reply #18 on: October 08, 2014, 08:15 PM »
Toolnut sells the Pica.  I use it in my shop.  I have Fastcaps Fatboy in my carpenter pants packet always.  I don't bother with a sharpener; I just drag it over a file or sandpaper to sharpen.

Offline wow

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Re: A mini review for a....pencil!
« Reply #19 on: October 08, 2014, 08:56 PM »
Lately my projects have had me working a lot with steel. Do you believe that this pencil with a white lead would work for marking on dark steel stock?
Trying to be one of the most helpful members on the FOG.

Offline RobBob

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Re: A mini review for a....pencil!
« Reply #20 on: October 08, 2014, 09:46 PM »
Lee Valley sells this pencil.  One of these should work on steel.

Pica Workshop Pencils & Markers

Online Peter Halle

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Re: A mini review for a....pencil!
« Reply #21 on: October 08, 2014, 09:48 PM »
I can't speak to the white "lead", but the yellow should work.  Waxy crayon type material.  Would need to be careful getting a sharp point though.

Peter

Offline Curt Boyer

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Re: A mini review for a....pencil!
« Reply #22 on: October 15, 2014, 11:08 PM »
I use the white to mark steel but it really works great on dark tiles. It doesn't have to be that sharp to mark. Make sure you buy extra leads because they are soft and on steel or tile they'll go fast. I do a lot of dark colored woods and the Pica really shines. In fact I only ever use the white lead in the pencil.
Cheers
Curt

Offline SMJoinery

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Re: A mini review for a....pencil!
« Reply #23 on: October 24, 2014, 03:51 PM »
Seeing these prices I'm glad I have a pencil "sponsor"!!
UK Guys, next time your near a Howdens pop in and ask for some pencils and they will gladly oblige, they also give away some nice little notebooks with a blank sheet and graph sheet on alternate pages....oh and they sell kitchens and joinery stuff!

Offline richy3333

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Re: A mini review for a....pencil!
« Reply #24 on: October 24, 2014, 05:52 PM »
Seeing these prices I'm glad I have a pencil "sponsor"!!
UK Guys, next time your near a Howdens pop in and ask for some pencils and they will gladly oblige, they also give away some nice little notebooks with a blank sheet and graph sheet on alternate pages....oh and they sell kitchens and joinery stuff!
And free tapes and high vis vests :)

Offline charley1968

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Re: A mini review for a....pencil!
« Reply #25 on: November 19, 2014, 10:43 AM »
I like the pencil for allround work in the house but don't use when i'm woodworking.
While you can get a nice point, i find it cumbersome to keep it that way. Otherwise you will have markings in the 1-2mm range, which i think is too broad. But for marking stuff, drilling a hole, marking areas etc. it's quite good.
Just for today..

Offline ChrisK1970

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Re: A mini review for a....pencil!
« Reply #26 on: November 19, 2014, 10:49 AM »
I actually bought mine about six months ago and thoroughly love it.  The pencil fits in all of those small holes to mark up screw alignment.  I bought the extra colored leds but hoenstly have not used them.  I got mine through tool nut.
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Offline Harvey

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Re: A mini review for a....pencil!
« Reply #27 on: November 19, 2014, 11:05 AM »
I was so-so on these, but decided to try them out. They really shone when I volunteered for habitat of humanity doing carpentry & drywall work. In the shop I sill prefer 0.5mm mechanical pencils. I often use Incra rules which are intended for 0.5mm leads.   
Just a duffer

Offline epicxt

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A mini review for a....pencil!
« Reply #28 on: November 19, 2014, 04:02 PM »
I was so-so on these, but decided to try them out. They really shone when I volunteered for habitat of humanity doing carpentry & drywall work. In the shop I sill prefer 0.5mm mechanical pencils. I often use Incra rules which are intended for 0.5mm leads.
Ditto. The picas are great for rough framing. I've been keeping two in my pants for working lately along with my trusty old Pentel .5mm mech pencil. I've got normal lead in one Pica and red lead in the other for working with frozen pressure treated lumber (laying out 4x12 stair stringers off a deck).

Edit: meant to add that the Picas are really easy to grab and put back with winter gloves on.
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Offline Sparktrician

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Re: A mini review for a....pencil!
« Reply #29 on: November 19, 2014, 04:50 PM »
I was so-so on these, but decided to try them out. They really shone when I volunteered for habitat of humanity doing carpentry & drywall work. In the shop I sill prefer 0.5mm mechanical pencils. I often use Incra rules which are intended for 0.5mm leads.

I really like mine.  The 0.5mm leads are too fragile for me.  I found that the 0.9mm pencils do a very respectable job with the Woodpeckers gear. 

- Willy -

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Offline Jason Kehl

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Re: A mini review for a....pencil!
« Reply #30 on: November 20, 2014, 08:29 AM »
I bought a pica for general carpentry use and for about a monthnit was awesome,  then the lead wouldn't advance. I bought another hoping that I had somehow abused or damaged the first one. I got about 6 weeks,  maybe 2 months out of the 2nd one before it wouldn't advance the lead anymore.

No more Pica pencils for me.

Festool USA does not pre-approve the contents of this website nor endorse the application or use of any Festool product in any way other than in the manner described in the Festool Instruction Manual. To reduce the risk of serious injury and/or damage to your Festool product, always read, understand and follow all warnings and instructions in your Festool product's Instruction Manual. Although Festool strives for accuracy in the website material, the website may contain inaccuracies. Festool makes no representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness or timeliness of the material on this website or about the results to be obtained from using the website. Festool and its affiliates cannot be responsible for improper postings or your reliance on the website's material. Your use of any material contained on this website is entirely at your own risk. The content contained on this site is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice.


Offline Throwback7r

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Re: A mini review for a....pencil!
« Reply #31 on: November 20, 2014, 09:10 AM »
That seems odd.. I have had mine for a while on a few different job sites. I wonder if your bending it where do you keep the holster?

Offline Jason Kehl

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Re: A mini review for a....pencil!
« Reply #32 on: November 20, 2014, 08:49 PM »
I kept the holster in a small front "pencil pocket" in Bjornkladers. I am quite sure I didn't bend anything, but maybe with working in the rain and snow somehow the mechanism got fouled up. It's too bad, I really liked it while it worked.

J