Hand Tools

Subject:
First successful (sort of) Pencil

david weaver
John(NM) sent me a fantastic piece of incense cedar that I'll be able to make hundreds of pencils from (if I manage to master it, then I'll never make that many, I'm sure).

And I've learned a couple of things:

I think it'll take about ten minutes to make a pencil (without any fancy stuff on the barrel and without a ferrule) and do it neatly once I'm good at it.

1) When you hand resaw and plane incense cedar, you will think that someone is sharpening 100,000 pencils on your bench all at the same time. After 40 years of smelling a faint specific smell when sharpening a pencil, my brain isn't used to smelling that smell - but many times stronger - without seeing a pencil.

2) the slot in the pencil case needs to be slightly undersized and the case compressed around the lead. If there are voids, the case will break around the lead. If the voids are filled with glue, it'll just make the pencil slow to sharpen and hard on pencil sharpeners

3) if you try to plane the facets on the pencil freehand, you will lose track and they will be strange looking - like this one

4) pencils are faceted with 6 sides, so 120 degrees (6-2)*180/6? 12, meaning you have to plane 30 degree facets really easily - that's fiddly. The uncut pair of facets is where the seam is. I tried it freehand - not so great. Then with a board that I set up to hold the pencil, but you'd need two, one to hold an unfinished square pencil, and another to hold the pencil after the opposite side has been faceted. I can't see a reason that the barrel can't be faceted like a stop sign instead, and the next several will be done like that.

5) the grain can't be too straight. you cut the slot on both sides (two separate boards) and glue them together with the lead in the middle. White glue makes the wood a little bit damp and if it's not straight, when it's cut from its mother boards, it bows.

Making the leads, too, will be an interesting challege, but the 2mm drafting leads are a nice size, and the staedtler leads are good quality (I have container of them from the first go-around when derek told us about clutch pencils) and about 40 cents each (not a huge deal). They don't feel like a palomino black wing pearl when writing, but they're good quality, and for the very stingy, chinese leads are available.

I'll take a picture of the slotting tool at some point, but it's just a glorified scratcher much like a tonguing plane in style but with a scratcher only in the slot.

(the color of the wood makes it very hard to see the facets - I put cashew lacquer on this pencil after this picture was taken. Cashew is a shiny lacquer that's very aromatic (probably unhealthy) and it leaves a brilliant thick shiny finish and levels well. I have some left from sealing sharpening stones. It's a good lacquer for pencils but extremely greasy will only come off of your hands with naptha. Way too thick to dip finish a pencil, it's more like oily peanut butter.)

Other than the cost of the wood, I haven't had to spend anything to make the pencils, which is another nice bonus. It seems far more interesting than turning pens (not that I do that regularly, but I've done it a couple of times).

Messages In This Thread

First successful (sort of) Pencil
Or, there are circular pencils
Re: Or, there are circular pencils
Re: First successful (sort of) Pencil
Re: First successful (sort of) Pencil
Re: First successful (sort of) Pencil *PIC*
Re: First successful (sort of) Pencil
Re: First successful (sort of) Pencil *LINK*
Re: First successful (sort of) Pencil
Re: First successful (sort of) Pencil
Re: First successful (sort of) Pencil
Great recommendation on the book..
Re: Great recommendation on the book..
By page 62 in petroski's text..
Re: First successful (sort of) Pencil
Pencil Two - Octagonal
Re: Pencil Two - Octagonal
Re: Pencil Two - Octagonal
Re: Pencil Two - Octagonal
times change - urushi
urushi is related to poison oak and others *LINK*
Re: urushi is related to poison oak and others
Sensitization
Re: Sensitization
Re: times change - urushi
Re: times change - urushi
Re: times change - urushi
Re: one more - shellac french polish
Re: one more - shellac french polish
Re: one more - shellac french polish
knife sharpening, to chisel sharpening
Re: knife sharpening, to chisel sharpening
Re: knife sharpening, to chisel sharpening
Shellac
Water or Alcohol
6 facets on a pencil instead of 8
Re: 6 facets on a pencil instead of 8
Re: 6 facets on a pencil instead of 8
6 facets is better, but harder
if anyone is secretly making pencils...
My Port Orford cedar has arrived
A few more...
Re: A few more...
Re: A few more...
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Re: A few more...
(I can almost guarantee)
Re: Ducking and Running *LINK*
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Re: BCTW and kleptocrats
The thread diverged, there...
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