thảo luận The Great Pencil thảo luận

harold posted on Apr 04, 2008 at 12:43AM
This it the thread for the Great Pencil Debate, described link.

To wit:
Are mechanical pencils or wooden pencils better?

As arguments are made, I will start articles to archive the different arguments for the positions.

Edit: I have now added the summary articles.
last edited on Apr 08, 2008 at 05:25PM

thảo luận 24 các câu trả lời

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hơn một năm qua _lina_ said…
I believe mechanical pencils are better for the simple reason that they require less time, effort, and equipment to keep them in a sharpened state. Whenever a mechanical pencil gets dull, you just click the top, and voila! You're good to go. This is great, especially if you're in school and in the middle of writing an important test. Before I discovered mechanical pencils, if my wooden pencil broke I would have to a) raise my hand until the teacher noticed (which often took a minute or two), b) ask permission to get up and use the pencil sharpener, c) take a minute or two spinning that horrible little knob on those old-fashioned sharpeners that they forced you to use because they were too cheap to buy electric sharpeners, and finally d) walk back to my seat and resume writing the test. This all took a few minutes, time that could have been spent by me trying to remember the difference between mitosis and meiosis. And then the process would be repeated a couple of minutes later when I accidentally dropped the pencil on the floor and broke it yet again. However, with a mechanical pencil, I can now just click and go! Therefore, mechanical pencils are better.

(I hope I followed all the rules, if not, let me know!)
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hơn một năm qua doonis said…
I think wooden pencils are better. One reason is because they write thicker. Mechanical pencils can be too light to read, but wooden pencils rarely are. Also, because the lead in mechanical pencils is so thin, it can break easier. Even if you can just click some more out, you have to buy new lead more often, and a lot is wasted.

Even though you don't even have to get up from your seat to "sharpen" mechanical pencils, you can run out of the lead. When you do, it's nearly impossible to find someone who has the same kind as you. And there's nothing more annoying than someone asking around in the middle of a test to borrow some lead. There are sharpeners for wooden pencils nearly everywhere.

Another (slightly weaker) argument is that even though mechanical pencils can last longer, the erasers get used up very quickly as they are smaller.
hơn một năm qua blisslikethis said…
i prefer wooden pencils for two reasons: first, wooden pencils have a nicer feel to them. they glide smoothly across the page, rather than scratching the way mechanical ones do. also, it's practically impossible to do any shading with a mechanical pencil, and for someone who spends a lot of time doodling in class - this is pretty key.
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hơn một năm qua amazondebs said…
I will be arguing for mechanical pencils

Doonis: the thinness of the lead is often a good thing particularly when doing art (you can also lengthen the lead easily to shade better bliss) or a scaled design drawing for technology where thin sharp lines are essential.
If you are prepared for a test you will bring your own lead with you, or do what i do have a few spares stored with in the pencil itself

blislikethis: you can get mechanical pencils in many different shapes and form, some are just like pens, some are thin, some thick or like mine you can get them with comfy grips on. The fact that they are often made out of plastic or metal (which makes a nice present if you get them engraved) also makes them break less easily where as standing on a wooden pencil can easily snap it in two

I often feel that the mechanical pencils feel better when you write as they do not get blunt because of the thiness of the lead it stays constantly sharp which is again good for design and just look smarter on you page, so you could argue that for those that sharpen their pencil as soon as it is blunt it in fact saves lead, it also saves wood.
another reason why mechanical pencils are great is you can replace the rubber in the top of them, where as wooden pencils once you have used it up (and you always do pretty quickly if your me) you are just left with a ugly looking stump on the end of you pencil that you can do nothing with. Also for those that have the bad habit to chew your pen, if you accidentally put a wooden pencil in your mouth with a rubber on top lets just say it's not so good
The final reason why i love mechanical pencils is not only can you get them in many different forms but you can also get them with clips on that you can easily attach to you shirt pocket so you don't loose them

Basically wooden pencils are a thing of the past

*can i just say i love this harold, did we ever decide what arguement format we were taking on?
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hơn một năm qua blisslikethis said…
i do quite a lot of pencil drawing, formal and informal, and i have never found a mechanical pencil that worked for it. it's really just a matter of the hardness of the lead. you can get wooden pencils with lead just like mechanical pencils, but they're impractical for drawing specifically because they're so hard. a soft lead is imperative when shading and contouring because hard lead doesn't blend as well on the page.

also, the lead in mechanical pencils snaps off much more easily than you can break a wooden pencil in two. you'd have to be trying pretty deliberately to break it in order for that to happen.

there is also the matter of sustainability - is wood better than plastic? should all pencils be made of metal? perhaps bamboo?
hơn một năm qua Cinders said…
Wow, harold, this is really taking off! LOL! I have no argument. (I use pens!)
hơn một năm qua kateliness2 said…
Hmmm. It depends for me really. When I'm writing for school I use mechanical pencils as they give a cleaner line and it is easy to "sharpen" them when I'm taking notes.
However, I too enjoy drawing and would never consider using a mechanical pencil to draw with. There's no way to get dimension out of it.

Well, that's my two cents :)
hơn một năm qua papa said…
All good arguments so far. But the focus has largely been on the writing capabilities of the two items in question. I'd like to discuss a specific "recreational" aspect...

I believe wooden pencils are better than mechanical pencils when used for "pencil fighting" (if you never played pencil fighting as a kid, this video is an ok depiction of the game: link).

The reason is that wooden pencils provide a satisfying snap and "thwock" that you cannot achieve with a mechanical pencil. The flexibility of a wooden pencil allows the combatants to create a significant amount of tension before releasing their pencil on their opponent. Wooden pencils also make it possible to achieve the coveted "single hit kill" (where you break your opponent's pencil with one well placed blow).

Mechanical pencils are typically encased in a hard plastic shell sometimes reinforced with metal. They are virtually unbreakable (as far as standard pencil fighting is concerned) and have no flexibility. Mechanical pencils also have sharp, pointed tips so you need to choke up slightly on the pencil (with a wooden pencil you needn't sharpen it so you can hold it all the way at the tip without hurting yourself). I'm not sure you can even resolve a pencil fight with two mechanical pencils fighting each other!

So in conclusion, it seems pretty clear to me that wooden pencil is superior -- in the context of schoolyard pencil fighting.

(I'd also like to discuss the superiority of wooden pencils for the classic paper-n-pencil space wars games where you push the pencil to 'shoot' at the enemy's drawn objects, but that's for another day!)
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hơn một năm qua amazondebs said…
you clearly have never played 'extreme pencil fighting'
hơn một năm qua papa said…
^ Hahahaha. No doubt. Michael informed me that one *can*, in fact, play pencil fighting with mechanical pencils but that the plastic typically shatters in an unsatisfying (and possibly painful) fashion. So I'll stand firm in asserting that wooden pencils remain superior for this specific use :-)
hơn một năm qua harold said…
Just a note: I've added links to the argument summaries, above.
hơn một năm qua harold said…
Is it the case that no one else can think of any arguments, or you marshaling your efforts? This was intended as an opportunity to debate a topic on which you don't particularly have a strong opinion, allowing you to adopt a position and argue it in order to practice your debate skills without a lot of emotional baggage. I thought that would appeal to debate fans. Am I wrong, or just impatient?
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hơn một năm qua hooch-is-crazy said…
i also thinbk wooden are better but my arguement would basically be a mix of all the others
hơn một năm qua papa said…
I'd be curious to know which type pencil chewers prefer? Seems like wooden pencils would really allow you to get your teeth marks into the wood, whereas a mechanical pencil might afford you a little more al-dente biting ;-)

But I'm no pencil biter, we really need an expert on this.

I will throw out this nice bit which is that in a scenario where you have 2 individuals and one pencil, the wooden pencil is superior because you can break it into two equal sized, smaller pencils. Thus saving the trouble of having to "hot-seat" the single pencil (which is what you'd have to do with the mechanical pencil -- unless you had the lead cannister and just gave the 2nd friend a piece of lead to try to write with). Of course, this says nothing of having a pencil sharpener handy (and you still have to share the eraser...oh boy).

Am I grasping at straws here?
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hơn một năm qua papa said…
Also, regarding this argument:
Argument: Mechanical pencil erasers are smaller than wooden pencil erasers, and so get used up more quickly.
Counter-argument: Mechanical pencil erasers can be easily replaced, which you cannot do with a wooden pencil.

You can also replace wooden pencil erasers. Don't forget about these little babies!
hơn một năm qua mac said…
go pens!!!!!
hơn một năm qua greekthegeek said…
When it comes to everyday writing, I go with mechanical. The wooden ones lead inside breaks easy so when you try to sharpen it, it always ends up not sharpening and then you go through the pain of trying to find a new one. Also, the lead can easily be replaces and with wooden pencils, when you sharpen they get shorter. How annoying!

1)Lead inside wooden pencil breaks easier.
2)Wooden pencils always get shorter, while mechanical ones do not.
3)Mechanical pencils are great for the every day, fast working woman.
hơn một năm qua amazondebs said…
sorry harold, your right, havn't been to the debate spot in a while, my bad but yes come on debate fans brilliant oportunity to rant with out offending anyone (unless their a pencil)

right now to get my teeth in to them very useful soapboxes (thanksfor the sumary harold)

firstly looking at the lead arguement here

"Argument: Wooden pencils break more easily than mechanical ones (particularly metal ones).
Counter-argument: The lead in mechanical pencils breaks much more easily than breaking a wooden pencil, for which deliberate effort is required."

To reply to that, does the lead break easier? when you drop a mechanical pencil have you ever gone to click away and find it all in little bits? no because it compactly stored in it's little casing, however if you drop a wooden pencil the lead inside it easily breaks so when when you sharpen it, it seems never ending as the lead falls away in little bits as you sharpen and i'm pretty certain that has happened to all of us

secondly to adress the pencil fighting arguement like i said you can play pencil fighting with mechnical pencils but it is probably better & safer with wooden pancil but what about other non writing uses and ways of fighting with pencils

for example pinging a pencil a someone using a rubber band as a catapult, a extremely usful device to get someones attention in a classroom without talking. The mechnical pencil is not only safer as you can retract the lead so there is less chance of hurting someone with it (or if you're trying to injjure them, click away to make it more deadly, your choice) but they are also more areodynamic and you can get better aim with them

what about a clicking war? i'm not sure if any of you have ever played this with pens where you see who can click the most but now with mechnical pencils you can actually use this as a competition by two or more aponents putting in the same amount of lead in the pencils and clicking away who ever runs out of lead first wins and you can reuse the lead time and time again and also it doesn't break any of the pencils and so is more economical than pencil fighting.A clicking war is something you can definitly not play with wooden pencils

thirdly to adress the point of rebuying lead and pencils

"Argument: You must buy new lead for mechanical pencils more often than you'd buy wooden pencils"

normally when you buy a mechanical pencil you recieve a little tub of lead which can last months, maybe a year. You also don't have to buy the actual pencil again, also with wooden pecils you probably have to buy more because when it has been sharpened so many times it reaches a certain short length and can not be used any more without discomfort and then that is often thrown away which again is more waste

another point that was made about the lead was it's hardness

"Argument: It's practically impossible to do any shading with a mechanical pencil.
Counter-argument: The lead can be easily lengthened for shading.
Response: The hardness of the lead is the problem, not the length."

well i may be repeating myself a bit here but all you artist out there try this, click your pencil a few times until the lead is about half an inch long, tilt your pencil on the side and shade lightly, it is just as good as shading with a wooden pencil and you don't have to rely on juding it with the pressure of your own hand, you just tilt it at different angels, also because the lead is lengthened when tipping it fully on it's side to shade lightly it covers a much bigger surface area

finally to adress papa's point above about replacing wooden pencil's erasers with them rubbers, i'm sorry but i hate them things always fall off and again you are wasting rubber with the part that 'holds' on to the penicl because you have to throw it away because you can not use that part.

sorry, i mean finally this time to look at chewing the pencil, although i don't chew pencils anymore i used to do when i was younger and with wooden pencils the paint and wood splinters in your mounth and it's not very pleasent, or if you bite the end where the rubber is... well rubber doesnt taste very nice, where as mechanical pencils don't really have a taste
also chewing on wooden pencils and their rubbers exposes lead sometimes which has the possible risk of lead poisoning. Also you do get teeth marks in wood which doesn't look very nice and none of your friend will ever want to borrow a penicl off you which means they don't automatically owe you when you need to copy work :)

*phew! *wipes forehead* never knew there was so much to say about pencils lol just want to say kudos again to harold for this nifty idea, i hope there are more :) and sorry for even more spelling mistake than ususual but i'm at the library and it does not have firefox so i don't have a spell check
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hơn một năm qua amazondebs said…
no woodeners care to respond? or are you scared of the almighty mechanical? mwa ha ha ha

no seriously no one wants to tear apart my argument?
hơn một năm qua harold said…
I'm moderating, so I can't participate. I'm surprised at how narrow the arguments on both sides have been, but then again, I've been thinking about this as a debate topic longer than anyone else, so it's easy for me to say that...
hơn một năm qua amazondebs said…
hơn một năm qua ineedcoffee said…
Ok no one has yet mentioned the cost I can get 10pack of hb pencils fo 99cents that last for ever where as the mechanical pencils cost wise are more I owned one once but the lead you keep going through and refills cost about 1.50 to 2.00 dollars and that isn't including the cost of the original mechanical pencial so why spend that money when I don't have to.

Not to mention they are better for those pencil fights that papa mentioned.

sorry that was that was the best I could come up with since know one else had responded in awhile.
hơn một năm qua emilee24 said…
Here is my argument...
I really do not like mechanical pencils for one single reason!! I hate the sound they make when I am writing. Call me crazy but in my opinion they make this crazy scratchy high pitched noise. It drives me insane. I have yet to hear it when someone else is writing with one, but I do in fact hear it everytime I try to use one. I tried to use them in high school, for different reasons...1. they seemed "cooler" and 2. no more trips to the pencil sharpener. I couldn't do it. I like my good old wooden #2 pencils.
hơn một năm qua amazondebs said…
-ineedcoffee i base that cost on quality over quantity since i believe that mechnical pencils are far superior i would rather pay a little bit extra, like i would rather pay extra for a quality coat i know will last than buy a cheap one that will probably fall apart
same goes in this instance that the wooden pencils break easily and the lead snaps more and as stated above there is more waste therefore in the long run they could work out cheaper

emilee24-erm......i really can't argue against that lol as i don't really hear a bad noise when i write with either

come on folks i love debate lets bring it back to life, cinders, bliss where are you?