Mechanical Pencils

In my last post, I showed a picture of new stuff I'd picked up. Some of it was experimental, and now I that I've played with some of it I can start reporting on the various successes (or failures!).

Mechanical Pencil

Jennifer Buxton has used mechanical pencils for years to punch holes. I found a mechanical pencil with a metal barrel once, but that particular pencil's barrel slid back up into the body under impact. After that failure, I've wanted to get on the bandwagon but have never stumbled across a mechanical pencil that looked small - or sturdy - enough. I've never really looked, either, since for the most part my trusty awl is good enough; very little of my tack has working buckles, and without working buckles what need is there for a really good hole?

An awl creates a slit of sorts, not a punched hole, and my recent acquisition of a mini Hazel has made me realize that actual holes might be nice. Plus, I finally found a 0.3mm mechanical pencil!

This pencil, as far as I can tell, has a tip that's part of the barrel and won't slide up into the body. It's tiny and slightly recessed, so really only time will tell.

I had to disassemble some stuff (removing the eraser, etc) to get it really functional, but then I took it on a test drive.

It does a good job for Hazel-sized halter holes and looks okay on the smaller Stablemate halter, but requires precision. It'll be great for girth straps on western saddles, but it's a little too big for regular bridles. Still, it's a good addition to my toolbox!

If you want to find one for yourself, this was a pretty cheap entry level option around $2.50 at Hobby Lobby. I tracked it down in the drafting section while looking for a tiny square for the barn project. You can always find a 40% off coupon online, too. Here's the barcode if you want to track one down online or at another retailer.


  1. Nice! Glad you found one. I got mine at Blick. I've used it lightly to make tooled circles (for flower centers) and also as a hole punch for stablemate western cinches. Definitely a good tool to have around!

    1. Ah - using it as a leather carving tool is brilliant! I'll have to remember that.