How Are Pencils Made?

 

Although the pencil's technical design is quite simple, most people have little idea how pencils are actually made. Look below and see.

 
 

1 - Seedling cultivation and plantation in Faber-Castell nurseries.

 

2 - Four months later, the seedlings are approximately 25 cm high and can be planted in Faber-Castell's forest parks.

 

3 - While they are growing, the trees draw carbon gas from the atmosphere and release oxygen back into it, helping to purify the air.

 

4 - After three years, the trees are 4 m high. The plantation area is thinned and the trees are pruned to facilitate growth and assure the quality of the wood.

 

5 - When the trees reach fourteen years of age, they are mature enough to be felled and used for the production of pencils. Logs wider than 5.5 inches are used to produce pencils. Thinner logs are used to generate power. Leaves, roots and some thin logs are left on the soil to fertilize it.

 

6 - Wood is cut into thin small "slats" and is treated to become dry and soft, which will make the future pencils easy to be sharpened.

 

7 - After resting for sixty days, the slats are used for the production of pencils.

 

8 - A groove is carved into the slat to fit the lead. A special lead glue is injected into the groove. A black (graphite) or coloured lead is placed into the slat.

 

9 - A new slat, without leads is placed over the slat with leads to make a "sandwich". The sandwich is heated and hard-pressed to turn the two slats into one. This process helps to prevent breakage.

 

10 - The sandwich is cut to produce individual pencil.

 

11 - Pencils are painted, varnished, sharpened, stamped with Faber-Castell's

trademark, and then packaged into the products that you buy today.

 

12 - Upon completion of the pencil manufacturing process, all parts of a tree will have been used:

     - Plantation waste: is used to fertilize the soil, generate power and produce sawdust.

     - Industrial waste: sawdust is used on chicken farms as humus and to produce briquettes and sawdust board.

 

Lead Production

Coloured Lead

 

The coloured lead is a combination of colour pigments, minerals, waxes and agglutinants. These materials must be mixed into a soft mass before being pressed and shaped into the final lead form.

 

The leads are then cut to the pencil size and go through a drying process before being bonded into wood slats. All raw materials used are rigorously tested to guarantee the quality and safety

 

Black Lead

 

The fabrication process is similar to the coloured lead, however using different raw materials: 

 - Graphite: To provide blackness

 - Clay: To give shape, strength and improve adhesion to the writing surface

After mixing the lead goes trough a high temperature drying process and is further treated to assist in writing smoothness. 

 

The lead's hardness is determined by the mixing ratio of graphite and clay.

The greater the graphite content, the softer and blacker the lead.

The greater the clay content, the harder and less black the lead.

 

Example: The HB pencils - 2/3 Graphite and 1/3 Clay.