Erasers: The Unsung Heroes of Accuracy
I make lots of pencil marks on the wood as I work. Removing them is either easy or excruciating.
I can, I use a handplane to dress my stock, so the pencil marks usually
come off without any visible residue of the charcoal or polymer lead or
indentation from the penciling process. But sometimes I leave marks in
places that a plane cannot go. So I turn to other solutions.
alcohol seems to work in many cases, though you’ll still be able to see
the indentations from the pencil if you are working in soft wood. Most
erasers on pencils aren’t worth using. They leave a colored smear behind
on the wood, or they simply fail to remove the mark entirely.
day, Senior Art Director Linda Watts saw me struggling with removing a
pencil mark, shook her head and returned with a artist’s eraser. It was
like a magic show, a snake handling and ice cream sundae all wrapped up
Since then, I’ve been trying to educate myself about
erasers, and there is a lot to learn. Heck, there is a blog devoted to
erasers: The Joy of Erasers. And other web sites have reviewed erasers like we review tools. Check out this entry from Pencil Talk. And this one. Want to know the history of erasers? Check this site out.
my trip to Germany my eraser disappeared in transit. I suspect the
customs people impounded it, but that’s another story. So today I went
to an art supply store, marked up a piece of paper with some pencil and
tried out all the different kinds they sold.
My favorite? The
Sanford Magic Rub 1954, which looks like a gray marshmallow in rectangle
form. My second choice? The Design Kneaded Rubber 1225 eraser, which is
freaky. It’s like modeling clay that erases stuff. I’m going to shape
mine into the form of a duck with a cigarette.
Oddly, my choices
didn’t match up with the erasers from Pencil Talk. I suspect the people
of Pencil Talk were bought off by the Pilot Foam Eraser people (just
kidding about that).
In any case, if you have special eraser know-how, dazzle us in the comments below.
— Christopher Schwarz