Carpenters use various types of pencils: common lead, hard lead, and the regular carpenter pencil. The most widely used one is the flat, hard lead pencil measuring 8 inches long. Used in rough work, the pencil must be trimmed so that about 1/4 to 3/8 inch of lead sticks out from the wood sheath. In finished work, the pencil must be trimmed so that 3/8 to 1/2 inch of lead is revealed and the lead sharpened to a long, flat point. During marking, the pencil should be slanted away from the guide so that the lead would mark close tothe edge of the guide. If the pencil gets wet, the glue that holds it together might fail and make the pencil useless.
In measuring with a rule, it is best to handle the rule edge-wise for accuracy. If it lies flat there, isa tendency to miss accuracy since of the thickness of the rule and the angle of vision. Another element that sometimes throws off your markings is the width of pencil marks, particularly if one measure is taken from another in a long series. For greater accuracy, use a knife or an awl to mark the dimensions. Naturally, do not mark a piece of work in this manner if it will show in the finished surface and there's a risk that the mark will produce a blemish.
When marking for saw cuts, you should make provisions for the kerf, or width of the saw blade. Sawing is always done on the waste side of the cutting line so that sufficient stock stays on to allow the end to be finished using a plane, a file or sandpaper.