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How wooden pencils are made

David Paccia has posted a video on how wooden pencils are manufactured over on his David Wasting Paper blog. Almost from the beginning I’ve used mechanical pencils because they keep a sharper line (or consistently tighter line), but when you read through David’s blog, there is still a great many artists that use the good ol’ #2.

Anyway, here’s the one he posted. I’m more impressed with the engineering that went into the manufacturing process.

He’s also posted videos on how coloring pencils, pencil sharpeners and retractable pens are made.

Community Comments

#1 David Jones
June/8/2011
@ 9:37 am

I have tried using the mechanical pencils throughout my cartooning ventures…. but I just love the Old Number 2’s. I think it is the smell as you sharpen your point. I use an X-Acto blade to shave the lead until I have the pencil perfect. In my opinion, they outdraw the mechanicals when they are prepared properly.

#2 Pete McDonnell
June/8/2011
@ 11:19 am

I’m just amazed by the precise engineering of these machines, the way the creation of a perfect pencil is automated down to the dipping of the back end of the pencil into their trademark red lacquer paint. Can you imagine having the job of sharpening pencils all day to test the wood? Reminds me of Chaplin’s “Modern Times”.

#3 Mike Lester
June/8/2011
@ 12:46 pm

“lead sandwich”. I am soooo using that. But I’m glad somebody else is as geek’d about the making of something as primitive and irreplaceable as a lead pencil. This is why I’m a Luddite.

I believe this is the Staedtler factory. Wish they wouldn’t put a factory point on them which is one of the reasons I’m a Derwent geek.

#4 Mark Stokes
June/8/2011
@ 1:11 pm

Fascinating to watch! Makes me appreciate the simple, time-honored pencil even more. I use a mechanical pencil for final, tighter sketches, but nothing beats a No. 2 for those rough first sketches. Thanks for posting!

#5 Vince
June/9/2011
@ 8:04 am

That was fun to watch and informative. Despite using a blue mechanical pencil for my strip, everything else i draw is done by a wooden Dixon Ticonderoga #4 pencil.

#6 dave nelson
June/10/2011
@ 1:11 pm

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at a pencil and wondered about how they are made. Thanks SO much for the post!

Oh, and pencils having the “write stuff”? These MUST be cartoonist’s pencils.

#7 Dan Bielinski
June/10/2011
@ 2:41 pm

That was cool.

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