How to make pencils
While the technical progress with a rabid speed changes the world, expanding its borders and our ideas about him, we sometimes stop noticing the usual things that surround us everyday.
Despite the simplicity of its design, which almost does not change for several centuries for several centuries, the pencil is not completely easy to manufacture. One of the last pencil factories in America General Pencil has been creating from graphite, wood, wax and paint items that can be found in all art and stationery stores of the country: simple and watercolor pencils, carbon for drawing, pastel chalk and others.
Rods of pencils make a mixture of graphite powder and clay mixed with water that stirred for several hours. The finished mass is passed through the hydraulic press and cut on the blanks of the same length. All this is a bit like cooking noodles. Different thickness of the griffel is achieved by using various diameters of stamps.
Billets are still soft and flexible because they remained water. They are heated in the furnace in order to harden. The more heating time, the higher the hardness of the future pencil.
By the way, in Russia there are three types of hardness (soft, solid and firm-soft), in Europe – four (an intermediate version between solid and firm-soft) appears, and in the USA – already five (another super-harden pencil option is added).
Firing of griffel depending on the desired gradation is carried out at a temperature of from 800 to 1200 ° C. Graphite sands use to evenly distribute heat when heated by griffel in the furnace. After the sand, poured for subsequent processing.
After heating, the rods are placed here in such perforated banks and dip 12 hours in a container with hot wax. Wax particles fill in all pores in the rod and contribute to a softer griffel slide on paper. By the way, the means used for the so-called gifting bath also affects the hardness of the pencil. For the rightened styling, wax is used, for seven-step – stearin, and for soft – confectionery fat.
Cooled rods. A little later they will be put on wooden blanks, glued and form a pencil. As it looks, will be visible on the example of pastels below.
The basement, where workers handle graphite, is the universe of gray: people in gray shirts with gray hands feed gray machines gray ingredients. The man depicted in the picture below works at the factory for 47 years. Machine behind it handles graphite and charcoal.
Other factory premises are pleased with brighter paints. Colored (pastel) rods are made in the same way as graphite, with white clay (kaolin), and pigments are added instead of graphite.
The machine that turns pastel into soft tubes resembling spaghetti, usually handles one color for a whole week. Then it is carefully cleaned to prepare for another color. White chalks, one of the company’s branded products, are made in a special car separately from the rest of the colors.
In the photo, fragile colored rods made by hand are carefully embedded in cedar strips.
Graphite rods are stronger pastel, so they are placed in the workpiece special machine.
The second layer of wood completely closes the pencil stylist. The resulting "sandwich" is fastened with glue, clamping in the press and dried.
Next, the woodworking machine cuts and grinds individual pencils until the necessary form is obtained, for example, round or hexagonal. Next Stage – Pencil Coloring.
After applying paints, pencils are returned by the conveyor for coating the following layer (they are usually four usually).
Pencils for editors are usually sharpened on both sides: one leaves red marks, the other is blue. Hephele inside – two different colors, and the paint is also two. Stands with pencils that you see will soon be turned over and dip in blue paint.
Conventional pencils, sharpened on the one hand, can be equipped with erases or simply plug tips.
Metal rings, with the help of which erases are attached to pencils, are called ferrums.
On this conveyor, ferrules and eraser are connected to pencils.
Smooth metal caps are installed on some pencils – without ferrula and elasty.
Sharpening of finished pencils occurs with high-speed grinding tape.
Finally, pencils are cleaned, pack and pack. Finished products go to the store to become useful and reliable assistants of their owners.