Paper World



Retractable pencil holder

The PencilPull, a couple of dollars worth of plastic, metal and string, have made life as a carpenter and woodworker a whole lot easier. I reach for a pencil dozens of times every workday and no matter how much I’ve tried, I just haven’t been able to develop a steady habit of putting the pencil back in the same place each time, whether it’s in my shirt, apron or behind my ear.

In the morning, I clip the PencilPull to my shirt pocket, tool apron or the collar of a t-shirt, where it stays all day providing instant, trouble-free pencil access. The pencil is held in a soft plastic cone by friction, sort of like a Chinese finger puzzle, and the retractable chain gives you about 18 inches. The soft holder firmly grips both round and carpenter pencils firmly and — in the year and a half I’ve been using it — I have yet to break the string or return mechanism; that’s saying something. Whenever I am absorbed with the task at hand and need a pencil, the smooth flow of work never stops for a frustrated hunt through the shop or work site. I own thousands of dollars of expensive sophisticated hand and power tools, but really value the utility of this little gem.

Why not simply tie a chain to a pencil and safety pin it to your shirt? Fair question. A pencil on a string would flop around and get in my way, even a loop of string hanging out of my pocket would get caught on things. The PencilPull retracts the string so I don’t have to think about putting the pencil anywhere. The pencil pull does that itself.

-- Clarke Green 02/11/09