For those of you who don’t reread stories to see comments from fellow readers, here is a selection of comments from February 2015.

Premium Carpenter Pencils
A few readers commented on Tim Uhler’s story about alternatives to lumberyard carpenter pencils. One suggested checking out the Pica Workshop Pencils sold by Lee Valley. I followed his advice and checked them out--and yes, they are something like the FatBoy pencil in Uhler's review.

Another reader emailed to point out that the FatBoy is not actually a mechanical pencil; it’s a lead holder on steroids. For those who remember the days before the widespread use of CAD in construction, a lead holder is what architects used to draw plans. A holder merely grasps the lead and doesn’t advance it the way a mechanical pencil does. That would explain why lead holders last forever; they have few moving parts.

My favorite comment on the carpenter pencil story came from a reader who thinks $8 is too much to pay for a pencil, even if it is CH Hanson’s SuperPencil. He wrote “Not at $8.00 each, I'll admit, this is cheaper than the $450 government pencil a few years ago, I'll stay with the lumberyard pencil, I don't have to worry about breaking them squeezing thru studs, cause my big a$$ won't fit between stud spaces, including 24" oc.

Will Repairing the Body of the New F-150 Break the Bank?
Several people commented on our story about the potentially high cost to repair the aluminum body of the 2015 Ford F-150. One said “Ouch, I did not realize that most body shops will not be able to work correctly on these trucks! That’s a bigger deal than a small gas mileage improvement.” Another fellow, who appears to treat his truck the way I tread mine said “Why? I can dent it up just working out of it. It is called a work truck.”

Is the Aluminum Body Pickup Really New or Unique?
A follow-up piece to the F-150 story includes Ford’s rebuttal to the charge that it costs more to do body work on aluminum vehicles, GM’s lukewarm assessment of the new F-150, and GM’s plans to introduce aluminum body trucks of its own. One reader said “I am not a fan of Ford and potentially GM using aluminum for truck body parts. They will feel flimsy and make our company magnets useless.”

I hear what he’s saying about the magnets, but he’s off base when he says the body will feel flimsy. The fellow from Edmunds who hit the new F-150 with a sledge hammer said it caused less damage than they would have expected. And I’ve seen the new F-150; you can’t tell by touching it that the body isn’t steel.

Paslode F325R Compact Framer
A Facebook friend posed the question: Why isn't Paslode offering this gun with an optional long magazine that can be quickly swapped for the short one that comes with the tool? The standard, one-strip magazine, could be used in tight quarters and a longer, two-strip magazine for regular framing. The long magazine would make the tool heavier, but it would likely still be the lightest framing gun around.

Hacking a Festool MFT
In regard to a story about a bench designed and built by a Belgian woodworker named Timothy Wilmots, one reader said, “Festool would be crazy not to sponsor this guy. I'm not even into Festool and I want this bench. I was most impressed with the thoughtfulness of having spots to quickly and easily stash the rails. Versatility wise, I really envy the way the bench may be reassembled. Many "off the shelf" job site bench solutions lack such versatility. Timothy's design isn't just a cut table, or just a saw stand, or just a bench like many others; It really appears to be a full service work table adaptable to just about any aspect of carpentry. Kudos.”

Uber High-End Workbench
A reader who was NOT blown away by our story about a massive and incredible German-built bench said “Yeah sweet, so for the modest price of $10,000 and about as many hours you can have a workbench.”

I couldn’t agree more. The “uber” bench is as much about show as it is about work. At least that’s what I tell myself when I compare it to the not-so-uber bench in my shop.