Mechanical pencil for scoring?

Discussion in 'Tools of the Trade' started by TXVanguard, Apr 7, 2009.

  1. TXVanguard

    TXVanguard New Member

  2. Stev0

    Stev0 Active Member

    The idea would be to compress the paper fibres in a row or line so as to cause a weak point where the paper/cardstock can be folded. Anything that damages the surface or even breaks these fibres will cause another type of weak point were the paper/cardstock will not fold but break.

    The mechanical pencil may do both if your not careful.
  3. TXVanguard

    TXVanguard New Member

    Isn't compressing/bending/breaking some of the fibers the whole point of scoring?
  4. Stev0

    Stev0 Active Member

    I would say it depends.

    Compressing would be better than breaking because in a sense, breaking would be cutting the parts apart from each other.

    The scoring process you speak of would seem to be more of a point where you want the card stock to bend.
  5. TXVanguard

    TXVanguard New Member

    Do other scoring techniques do less damage to the surface of the card stock?
  6. bulldogowner

    bulldogowner Destroyer of Spam Moderator

    I personally have found that using a mechanical pencil sometimes breaks through the surface, or even rips the paper slightly. Somewhere here on the forum quite some time ago someone suggested using a sewing tool called a "ripper". I have used one quite hard you press it while scoring, depends on how thick the paper is. Hope this helps!!

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  7. Art Decko

    Art Decko Member

    Modelers use many different tools for scoring. I love using an awl. The tip is very fine, yet rounded. That's a perfect combination for scoring that is accurate, but doesn't break the paper surface (which weakens the paper, increasing the chance of a tear). I think you can easily find one for under a dollar at places like hardware stores or art supply shops.

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  8. papastumpy

    papastumpy Member

    As stated above any object moving cross grain and with a sharp metal tip, will result in the fibers of the paper being cut and or torn, not what we want for a clean sharp fold. There is several different tools I have found that worked the best, both used in book making. 1st is a item made from bamboo that is cut to a point, then flattened and the tip rounded to a fine profile. the bamboo shaft is about the size of a pencil, easy to make your own. 2nd you can order from this site,, a item refered to as a bone page folder. One of the best tools I have ever bought. Hope this has been of some help.:wave:

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  9. KCStephens

    KCStephens Member

    Generally I just use a dull #11 blade with a very lite touch for scoring. Just cut the surface of the paper ever so slightly.
  10. Stev0

    Stev0 Active Member

    I used to use a dead ballpoint pen but for some strange reason it came back to life.

    Zombie Pens!!!
  11. Bigtiime

    Bigtiime Member

    I too have found that the #11 blade works well. However, I've modified mine a bit using the grinding wheel on my Dremel then filing it further until I get the score I'm looking for. Please be aware that I generally work with 110lb. paper and cutting it with this tool is next to impossible. With the thinner papers this may NOT be the best tool but I've used it now for many years and it's always performed "as intended". :mrgreen:
  12. cdavenport

    cdavenport Member

    Hold on there pardner; I did a search and can't find any threads on that topic. That is one of my favorite TV series/movie. How's about some words of amplification in a separate thread?

    I would love to see that. Where did you come up with that lovely beastie?
  13. Bigtiime

    Bigtiime Member

    There ya go! Great model! Having a ball building it. One word of caution however. There are NO instructions for this kit. Lots of build pictures and parts are numbered. Other than that, you have to think "out of the box" a bit.

    The fellow that supplies the link also built and detailed it. Looks great! Good Luck to you! I have a few pics of my progress in my gallery.
  14. cdavenport

    cdavenport Member

    Many thanks for that link! I just introduced Serenity to my 12 year old and he loved it. I wonder if the series episodes are available. I think I'll check on that.
  15. Bigtiime

    Bigtiime Member

    They are in fact available on DvD as is the Serenity movie! Have a good time building her.I'd love to see some pics! :mrgreen:
  16. siddisoza

    siddisoza Guest

    I agree with all of you on the finish of the pencil and the difficulty in tracking it down, but I found the lead to be quite smooth and considerably darker than the Musgrave HB’s. Maybe I should do another side-by-side comparison, though…
  17. goodduck

    goodduck Active Member

    Try this, take a old x-acto blade. Sand the edge down with wet and dry sandpaper till the cutting edge and tip are nicely rounded and can't cut anymore. Sanding it wet do sand easier.

    Don't over do it and sand it down too much. Cause you want to keep the edge and mostly the tip thin and round as you can, so you get a thin score line. But not so thin that can still cut or break the surface. So, continue test scoring while sanding till you happy with the result.

    In time, the rounded tip will wear down and could break surface. So after some used. Just lightly wet send the edge and tip a little to keep it smooth with fine sandpaper.

    Do get a different color handle for the scoring blade. You don't want to pick up a sharp blade and score with it.

    I know some people use mechanical pencil for scoring. I draw with it a lot in my field. But I personally would not use it for scoring. The point is shape and can break surface easily.
  18. For scoring one of my favourite elements is an old empty ballpoint pen (or biro, as they are called in some countries). It makes handling quite natural, the precision is wonderful, and there is no risk of tearing the paper or breaking the fibers.

    It's a cheap and very practical option. And since there are several varieties in the market, you can find always a proper pen for your needs. All you need to have is a bit of patience until it runs empty, or empty it yourself.

    However, this is useful only until certain scale. The empty ballpoint pen is not as fine as other tools, and for very small scales/pieces it is probably not an option. Here it is very useful to get specific tools for scoring.


    they can be found in handicraft stores, and usually have a plastic or wooden grip that makes their holding much easier.

    Other tools I've used for scoring where the pen is no longer an option are wool neddles.


    They have fine point while not being so sharp. However they must be handled carefully because they are still designed for piercing through materials.

    And I have also used very fine (2.0 or less) metal crochet hooks.


    The great advantage with this is that they are already rounded and soft, while being strong. They are a wonderful tool for scoring very fine lines where the ballpen tip is too big.
  19. fdisk42

    fdisk42 New Member

    I use a bone folder made for leather working. I have several different sizes and they all seem to work wonderfully for me. I think they are closely related to book folders mentioned previously.
  20. cdirto

    cdirto New Member

    I use a lowly little paper clip....

    I discovered that a small paper clip works great on up to around 74lb card stock. I haven't tried anything heavier yet, as I just started building paper models about 6 weeks ago. Unfold it at the middle so it looks like an "S". Wrap most of the clip with masking tape, leaving just about a 1/4" of the end curve untaped. This will give you a good handle and you can get into some smaller areas before the tape gets near your project.

    I also have a Swiss army knife that has a nail file in it that has gently rounded edges that work pretty dang good, too!

    Considering the cost of most "real" mechanical pencils, and the length of the sleeve, using one to score a fold on paper brings up the very real threat of bending said sleeve and destroying a precision instrument. I wouldn't buy a "generic" mechy either as it would probably break and destroy the model. Both bad scenes!

    Just my 2 cents.....


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