How to Make Pencils

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    A pencil can be any writing instrument that uses solid pigment as opposed to a pen which uses a liquid medium for marking. The word pencil comes from the Latin term pencillus meaning "little tail" which was originally used to describe any fine, pointed brush. The modern pencil was first made in 1795 and the manufacturing process remains basically the same today. The following steps will assist you making your own pencils.

    Use a fairly soft wood so the pencil can be easily sharpened. The most popular pencil wood comes from the cedar trees in northern California, especially trees that are 150 to 200 years old.

    Cut a solid block of wood into slats that are half the thickness of the pencils to be made. Stain the slats and cut grooves to hold the leads on 1 side.

    Prepare the "leads." Fine graphite and clay is mixed together and shaped into long thin sticks, which are then fired in a kiln. Elemental lead has not actually been used in pencils since 1564 when pure graphite deposits were discovered in England.

    Place the prepared leads into the grooves, place a second identical slat on top of the first and bond the 2 halves together. Mill the resulting "pencil sandwich" into the desired shape and separate the individual pencils.

    Paint the pencil with a non-poisonous lacquer. Crimp a ferrule to hold the eraser on 1 end and crimp the eraser into the ferrule.