The Best Markers and Pencils for Marking Steel – Kevin Caron

The Best Markers and Pencils for Marking Steel – Kevin Caron

(Text on screen): The Best Markers and Pencils for Marking Steel, Kevin Caron, The Voice: Hey, Kevin. Playing pick-up sticks? Kevin Caron: No, not playing pick-up sticks. Sometimes, when it comes to marking on a piece of steel, and you want to make a mark so you can, like, follow it with a plasma cutter, come in with your oxygen-acetylene torch, whatever. Soapstone. That’s been a favorite for years and years and years. I mean, everybody uses that when they’re working with steel. But the point always gets dull quickly. And once you make your mark, if you happen to wipe across it with your glove or hit it with your arm, whatever, that mark’s gone. You can lose that mark really, really easy. Well, there are other options out there that we can look at. The good old Sharpie. I mean, who doesn’t love the smell of a Sharpie in the morning. But the problem with a Sharpie (and of course they come in many different colors, so that might help some), is that the tip gets all full of the grit and the dirt and the grease and what-have-you and then it doesn’t work anymore. OK? These are markers for steel. They have; it’s kind of like a paint inside, I guess, with a little rattle ball in there you’ve got to shake them up kind of like a spray can. And if you pump it just a little bit, you can kind of pump the paint right up into the marker itself. And that’s OK. You know, it will help for really broad marks; you know, for really crude marks. It doesn’t give you that fine line that you want when you’re going to make a cut, where you need to know: I need to be on this side right up against that line. This is going to give me the piece exactly the size that I need it to, rather than cutting right up the middle of a broad mark and, OK, I’ll hope for the best. That doesn’t work. This is actually a wax pencil. They use it to make vinyl signs with. They use these to mark on the signs when they’re going to lay things out or cut or do whatever. Now, maybe in cooler climates this will work a little better. But I know here in Arizona, they’ll work fine now. Because it’s only about 55 degrees in here. And it makes a nice; it makes a nice line. Nice, sharp line. Not quite as easy to wipe off as soapstone is. But look down here. As long as you use this straight up-and-down, you’re fine. But the minute you get sideways with it, the tip will break right off. It’s too soft. It’s too soft for here. During the summer, I don’t even get them out because they’re so soft you can just squish them. I mean, they’re terrible. And don’t even use it on a piece of hot steel, because they melt. Bleh! Ugly. OK, those don’t work. This is something I just found. I mean, some of you guys probably know all about these. These are Red-Riter welders’ pencils, and Silver Streak welders’ pencils. So, yeah. They’re red and silver. But they’re more like a regular pencil. They’re hard like graphite. They don’t wear down as fast as the wax does. You can sharpen them in just a regular pencil sharpener. Carry them in your pocket. Whatever you need. So, the red one. . . Real sharp line. Real crisp line. This is better for aluminum or stainless, because the red will show up better over there. Silver. . . Hey, now, that’s a pretty good line right there. And the great thing about these? They don’t wipe off. Now we’re getting somewhere. And when you look at these with the; when you come in with the plasma cutter, and you light the plasma cutter, this line will just about glow. I mean, it’s not quite that bright, but it sure shows up nice in the light from the plasma cutter, or from the oxygen acetylene. So, it gives you a line to follow. I found these over at You can find them anywhere online, really. Just look for Markal, Silver Streak, or Red-Riter. Keep that in mind. Or, just go to and look for them there. That was the best price on the Internet that I could find. Just something else to keep in your mind; keep in your tool box, you know. Give you some good lines to work with, less waste, make your life a little bit easier. We’re all for that. See you next time. (Text on screen): Filmed at Kevin Caron Studios in Phoenix, Arizona with artist Kevin Caron Wardrobe by Stu D. O’Gere Subscribe to See More Videos! See and hear more at


  • Charles Struble says:

    Thanks guys! When I am using my plasma cutter, I usually go with the Sharpie and I also turn on a work light angled at my target from the side. Seems like that kinda helps these old eyes…

  • 2007markb says:

    Forwarding the video to our steel shop foreman. All he ever buys is soapstone and he complains about having to always purchase it. Maybe this will dry up his tears. Thanks, mark

  • 2LateIWon/Organized Chaos says:

    very cool

  • Sign in Here says:

    Hi, Kevin. I asked you about these things a short while back, remember? Thanks for the video!

  • chuckccfd9 says:

    thanks for the good video i mostly use a red sharpie seems to work well on steel

  • turbotrana says:

    great tip

  • Kevin Caron, Artist says:

    @stillbashingmetal Told you it was on the list..

    It may take a while but I try to keep you guys informed…

  • golf-n-guns says:

    I'm surprised you didn't mention the retractable carbide-tipped "pens". They are used to scratch a very thin and visible line into the material. Very handy!

    Love your vids, by the way! Keep it up!

  • golf-n-guns says:

    @mjmerie They're called scribes. 🙂

  • Kevin Caron, Artist says:

    @mjmerie Didn't even think of them!!

    Thanks for the tip..

  • Kevin Caron, Artist says:

    @robotmotor Good for you my friend!!

    More Practice!!!

  • C Crosby says:

    Nice. I can now put away my China markers. 🙂

  • coltanmor says:

    Never knew these pencils existed. Always just used a marker. Thank you for the video. I will get some as soon as possible.

  • MerlinxPV says:

    Well done, I've been welding for 35 years and the closest thing I have used to the welder pencil is a "china marker", unfortunately the china markers are a bit fragile and can be frustrating to use some days.

  • nirvanadrainyou101 says:

    were defiantly not in Kansas anymore

  • Kevin Caron, Artist says:

    Nope, skies the wrong color and everyone talks funny…..

  • unclefrankonap1953 says:


  • unclefrankonap1953 says:


  • Kevin Caron, Artist says:

    Thank you.

  • grantham418 says:

    For layout marks, we use Prismacolor PC949 silver pencils from Michaels craft store. They are the same thing as the pencils from a welding supply. For writing on metal, Sharpie fine point silver, #39108 from Walmart works great.

  • Kevin Caron, Artist says:

    Great tips, thanks for posting…

  • Tito Alvarado says:

    why didnt you zoom into the lines?

  • aussiezombie says:

    Was excited to see this, got my silver and gold colouring pencils out, yes! a grown man can have colouring pencils, marked a piece of black steel. Perfect. Don't know why this never occurred to me before. Thank you very much.

  • UV Metalworking & Fabrication says:

     With all do respect Kevin please don't dismiss soapstone. It has it's place, they're great for non permeant cut marks as well as drawing out ideas/concepts to employees on the welding table or work. I would like it if you checked out my video Pimp My Soapstone Holder and tell me what you think. It addresses the issue of dulling in it, and how to make precise marks every single time. Thanks

  • dropn loads says:

    try the Milwaukee inkzall

  • Tony Nameless says:

    which one will remain visible after 700f burn? I know industrial Sharpie will but it suffers getting dirty like you said

  • Sr Genius says:

    try Laco markel there shop is in elk grove village il used to work there great markers try them out

  • gle tube says:

    Soapstone powder is Talc as in baby Powder and cancer (soapstone is
    asbestos) and that is why welders use it as it does not burn from a
    cutting torch. That powder you just made can cause mesothelioma.

  • Candace Murray says:

    Thank Kevin!!! I really needed to find a product for the machinist here in the shop where i work.
    Happy Holidays!!

  • Rohann77 says:

    im only here for graffiti related reasons.

  • Beach N Buggys says:

    Hey Kevin, do you know of any tool that allows you to draw a circle around a pipe? I bend a lot of pipe and I need to mark all the way around. I do have some of the half circle cuff things you can clamp on a pipe and then mark, but you have to turn it around the pipe to make a continuous line, and then pull them back off the pipe and move to next location. Lately I've started using a pipe cutter and just lightly scoring the pipe so I can see my measurements all the way around. I was wondering if you've ever seen a tool that might look like a pipe cutter, but have a marking pen where the cutting wheel goes. Would make drawing your lines much easier and faster.

  • Saira Bano says:

    Hy friend i am hydrollic engeneer and i made one machine so now am write name this machine so what can i write plz u solve my problem

  • T R says:

    Thanks … I struggle to follow black sharpie on dark steel … was looking for something better.

  • Dr Lock says:

    Love the video, that jacket would get hot in summer

  • oh yeah says:

    That pencil screeching makes my teeth hurt.

  • Dennis Pittman says:

    Thank you

  • WeberSarge says:

    Try the Presto brand correction pens.They are a paint type, mark on almost anything and do not wipe off. I have them in the tool box n all over the shop…

  • WeberSarge says:

    Btw, the Presto makes a very fine line – about 2mm wide. Not sure how fluid is in them , but they last a long time. Markal Pro is also excellent and has different colors of refills, not cheap but it is a welding specific marking tool.

  • Thamizh Valavan says:


  • jtbmetaldesigns says:

    Yes, I discovered silver streak at my local Menards home improvement. I will look for the red write ones for bright metals like aluminum and stainless. That would be great for jigsaw cutting 16 gauge aluminum.

  • SLAPSNHATS says:

    1:05 dude be sniffin

  • SLAPSNHATS says:

    Get a markal paint stick

  • Andrew says:

    Thank you Kevin.

  • Glenn Edward says:

    Been using fastcap long reach markers at work although the past year we would order 20 markers and one would work and the rest were all dried up.

  • Glenn Edward says:

    I went and purchased a box of 12 welders pencils and these things stink for aluminum. Red riter they are called and won’t leave a line on any aluminum. Terrible. Going back to scribes and fastcap markers.

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