How Pencils Are Made


for the pencils body you need a type of

wood that's soft enough to sharpen get

strong enough not to bend under the

writers hand pressure

this German pencil factory uses cedar

from California the wood is 0.2 inches

thick and arrives pre-cut in slats of

seven by two and a half inches one by

one the slats pass under a giant cutting

wheel it carves grooves that will become

the channel down the middle that holds

the lead the next machine fills the

grooves with blue a special formulation

that's slightly elastic this cushions

the lid so that it's less likely to

break inside the channel every second

slide moves on to another conveyor belt

the ones that stay on this line head

toward the machine that lays in the led

the led is made of a graphite and clay

mixture baked in an oven at almost 1500

degrees Fahrenheit the LED laying

machines wheel loads itself with LEDs

their spacing matching the grooves in

the slats now for the slats that move to

that other conveyor belt an automated

arm flips each one over slides it across

a glue applicator then drops it on to a

leaded slat on the other conveyor belt

all the steps to this point have

culminated in what is effectively a lead

sandwich now a plunger squeezes those

sandwiches together with a full ton of

pressure it compresses them for an hour

while the glue dries after that it's

just a matter of slicing the sandwiches

and a pencil this shaping machine makes

the hexagonal profile in two steps first

it's upper cutter forms three sides on

top then it's lower cutter shapes three

sides on the bottom as soon as the

bottom side is cut the pencils separate

now it's time to dress that Burwood one

at a time the pencil shoot through a

device called a lacquering head it coats

the wood and paint yellow in this case

last stop the rubber tip assembly

machine first it squeezes the top of the

pencil to slide on an aluminum ferrule

then it inserts a rubber eraser into the

Pharos other end and squeezes that tight

the pencils are finally ready to roll

across the grinding drum for sharpening


by the time they roll off they're

pointed perfection