QuickTip: Carry an Eraser

Full disclosure: I’m actually embarrassed to say how long it took me to figure this one out.

I mean, talk about duh! Here’s the story.

There is one tool virtually every carpenter and DIYer has, and it’s a pencil. Nothing earth shattering there, right?

Of course, we use said pencil to write on our work: layout — 16 centers for framing, 5-inch centers for deck pickets, marking studs behind drywall to nail up chair rail and so on.

Every now and again (or more often than that depending on the kinds of day you’re having) a mistake gets made. You put the X on the wrong side of the line, read a 6 as a 9 and put a mark that doesn’t signify anything, or your stud finder is — as most are — wildly undependable.

Anyway, the result is you’ve somewhere between 1 and 58,000 pencil lines that you need to get rid of. The eraser on at typical school-boy (or #2 type) pencil is a nub in about 2 minutes, rendering that useless. But leaving pencil lines is both confusing and ugly (who wants pencils lines all over the deck where the pickets aren’t supposed to be?). They’ve got to go — I’ve even seen guys take a sander to the wood to get rid of them.

The good news is that the solution is much easier, a lot less work, and something I found in my daughter’s pencil box: One of those big ole parallelogram-shaped gummy erasers.

It doesn’t get the line all the way off in some cases (neither does a sander by the way) but I’ve found it gets enough to do the job.

Simple, easy, and it reminds me of my kids. It also reminds me that, embarrassing though it may be, you never stop learning.

  Mark & Theresa Clement host MyFixItUpLife and are HGTVPro’s home and how-to aces.

4 Responses

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  2. KFetz says:

    Ahhhhhhh yes the dreaded X on the wrong mark side or the check mark on the good side sometimes by the time we go to cut the thing we forget what the mark was for. This is an excellant idea and will come in handy ifn I could just remember where I put that darn eraser and why I had that eraser in the pouch there for in the firat place. Oh well You know what they say measure twice and cut once. I wonder if they still make that board stretcher thingy I once read about in that Sears and Roebucks Catalog. All puns aside This is an excellant idea and I will put it to use. Thank you.

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