Woodworking projects of all types invariably lead to the same problem: sorting and tracking all the different kinds of lumber and scraps you have laying around. Sure, there are chalk markers and grease pencils, but both are messy to handle, can be hard to clean up should there be a spill or mismark and require frequent refilling or peeling.
When you’ve got some spare time to spend in your woodshop, you should be working on your next big creation, not frittering with refilling chalk containers. That’s where lumber crayons come in. These heavy-duty wax blocks are perfect for marking wood (hey, it’s even in the name!) and easy to maintain.
Lumber Crayon Versus Crayola
Just because a thing is made of wax doesn’t mean it’s the same as another thing made of wax. In fact, lumber crayons and the Crayolas in your couch only share one main characteristic: the wax. While Crayolas will do the job, they may prove just as messy as your other alternatives.
Lumber crayons are ideal for woodworkers for reasons like:
No smears, no tears. Chalk, grease and even Crayolas will smear, so if you’re doing more than color-coding with a basic “X,” you’re going to feel the pain of this sooner rather than later.
They’re melt-resistant. Lumber crayons, unlike Crayolas, don’t melt in hot trucks or woodshops without air conditioning. When you get back to your project, the marks will be intact and so will your marking tool. Win-win!
They last forever. Because lumber crayons are much denser and harder than Crayolas, they last nearly forever. This might be less of a concern if you literally have hundreds of broken Crayolas hanging around because of kids or grandkids, but it’s nice to know your tools can go the distance.
You can write on green lumber. There’s not much that’ll write on green lumber, especially when it’s still pretty wet. Lumber crayons, though? They’re made for this. This is why they’re so commonly used by workers in lumber yards!
Literally designed for adults working with wood. Instead of a narrow, fruit-colored Crayon that can’t hold up to the heat and is perfectly round (and prone to rolling off of counters and under tables), lumber crayons are made for adults. They still come in a variety of colors, but they’re significantly thicker, generally hexagonal and you can even pick up a holder designed to give you even better grip and control.
What’s the Cost of a Lumber Crayon?
You can expect lumber crayons to run just slightly more than a box of Crayolas, putting them more or less on par with other marking tools. They can be ordered in bulk from Amazon for a little over a buck a piece ($14.50 per dozen) or you can pick one or two up at your favorite lumber yard so you can decide if they’re right for you and your project before going all in.
Sometimes, the right tool for the job just isn’t that good at putting its best foot forward, so craftsmen end up having to do the best they can with what seems to be available. Lumber crayons are definitely one of those very shy tools that does its job flawlessly – but isn’t backed up by a million-dollar marketing budget.
What are you using to mark your lumber now? How well is it working? Tell us in the comment section below!