In JLC's sister publication, Tools of the Trade, Tim Uhler minces no words: " During the last few years my crew has become frustrated with the standard carpenter pencils found in most lumberyards. In many cases the lead breaks so frequently that a new carpenter pencil doesn’t last a single day. We ordered some pencils online that were supposed to be higher quality and they weren’t any better."
His solution? He started a thread on the subject of pencils on the Contractor Talk forum, and after receiving some recommendations ordered a few. Here's a review of two he likes: Read more.