Jump to content

Extracting The Lead Core From A Wooden Pencil



Rate Topic 0

Recommended Posts

milkb0at

It sounds fun indeed. Were you able to compare branded leads to see if they are the same? E.g. a lead extracted from a Staedtler Mars wood pencil vs Staedtler Mars Carbon 2mm leads for their leadholders? I assume they're the same, but perhaps it's a completely different manufacturing line.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 39
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

  • flatline

    15

  • Tas

    6

  • GeneralSynopsis

    3

  • WarrenB

    3

Top Posters In This Topic

Posted Images

Also, not sure if more brands are moving away from wood, but I have a set of sketching pencils (Koh-I-Noor Progresso) and these are from some other material, probably extruded and chopped to length (these have a much thicker core).

Link to post
Share on other sites
flatline
3 hours ago, milkb0at said:

It sounds fun indeed. Were you able to compare branded leads to see if they are the same? E.g. a lead extracted from a Staedtler Mars wood pencil vs Staedtler Mars Carbon 2mm leads for their leadholders? I assume they're the same, but perhaps it's a completely different manufacturing line.

 

The HB Staedtler Mars Lumograph lead looks and feels very similar, if not the same, to the HB Staedtler Mars Carbon lead I have. It would not surprise me if the leads came off the same production line.

 

I don't have any others that I can compare.

 

--flatline

Link to post
Share on other sites
milkb0at

I realise now (duhhh) that you don't need to extract lead cores to find out if leads are the same 😄

 

I have pencils and leads from the same manufacturers (Staedtler and Caran D'Ache), but not the same hardness scale so I can't do direct comparisons. I have some overlap with 0.5mm mechanical pencil leads (Staedtler), but they're completely different construction.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Coincidence, I just removed the lead from an old pencil to replace the one that came with my Kohinoor 5900. (Much happier now)

I looked for its seam and ran a knife along it, on both sides. Levering the wood apart, the lead came away mostly intact.

I do like the sound of the soaking method and will try that next though.

A method that works REALLY well was discovered eons ago by my good friend Vas during a physics lesson at school. He would ask his "Minion" to ask others in the class if he could borrow their pencils. The "Minion" would return with the unsuspecting pencils to Vas who'd connect both ends to a 12V power pack. This would slowly (ish) burn the wood encasing the lead. His "Minion" would then return the pencils to the victims whereby a the owners would soon discover their utter uselessness as the lead just pushed right through when any pressure was applied. Ahh, those were the days.

If you have a spare power pack, give it a go . . . if you dare.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

A car battery is about 12v but I think I'd do some power calculations before I go hooking things up. I once saw a screwdriver partially vaporized because it shorted a car battery. Might not be good for a pencil...

Link to post
Share on other sites
Honeybadgers

Everyone else's "extender" idea is obviously the best,

 

But the chemistry nerd in me can't help but say - soak them in a concentrated lye solution. The wood will dissolve, the graphite should not.

 

But why do you need the cores out? a 2mm lead is super cheap. I highly reccomend avoiding the cheapest leads you can, koh-i-noor feels like sandpaper to me, I am a huge fan of uni and staedler, much smoother.

Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)

Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, flatline said:

A car battery is about 12v but I think I'd do some power calculations before I go hooking things up. I once saw a screwdriver partially vaporized because it shorted a car battery. Might not be good for a pencil...


It's the amps that kill - take care 🥺

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, Honeybadgers said:

But why do you need the cores out? a 2mm lead is super cheap. I highly reccomend avoiding the cheapest leads you can, koh-i-noor feels like sandpaper to me, I am a huge fan of uni and staedler, much smoother.

 

Because I have a bucket full of assorted wooden pencils and prefer lead holders over pencil extenders. And it's kind of fun to extract the leads.

 

--flatline

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Taking a very keen interest in this thread because I absolutely love everything about the Uni Mitsubishi Arterase pencils (color pencils, but erasable!) and the format of the 8-slot Pentel Multi8 pencil. 

 

The Arterase are gorgeous pencils to use (see Well-Appointed Desk review). Not only erasable, but also more vibrant and smooth than many similar-priced, non-erasable pencils out there. They also have 36 distinct shades, whereas the Multi-8 only has about 16, several of them too similar to another and...not dull or rough, exactly, but not as vibrant or buttery-smooth as the Arterase (and of course, not especially erasable). 

 

But of course the Arterase are wooden pencils, so if you want to carry around a lot of shades, they're going to take up the equivalent amount of space. They do come in a short version (like 'golf' pencils), but that's still a lot if you're trying to keep a compact kit but with lots of options. 

 

So, being able to use Arterase cores as Multi8 refill leads would be a doodler/color-coder's dream come true.

 

The other possibility would also be using watercolour pencil cores in a pentel mutli8. Game changer for the plein air sketching crowd! Generally, all kinds of awesomeness awaits if we can just crack this problem 😉 Lots of ideas so far but it looks like none of them are a sure bet, ie they're very likely to work well (so you don't waste a good pencil). Hmmm. 

I'm not affiliated with ANY of the brands/retailers/shops/ebay sellers/whatever I mention or recommend. If that ever changes, I will let you know :)

 

Looking for a cheap Pilot VP/Capless - willing to put up with lots of cosmetic damage.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Honeybadgers
On 1/12/2021 at 12:48 PM, flatline said:

 

Because I have a bucket full of assorted wooden pencils and prefer lead holders over pencil extenders. And it's kind of fun to extract the leads.

 

--flatline

 

 

I mean, if you say so. The mess of dealing with all that dissolved, nasty wood and extremely basic sodium hydroxide solution sounds like an absolute freaking nightmare to me, and is not very good for the environment. One errant spill and you've bleached anything it touched, a drop in your eye = possible blindness...

 

I have the equipment to do that kind of job safely and even I don't want to take that job on.

 

Plus, you'd need enough lye that you could pay for quite a few boxes of much, MUCH nicer lead for your lead holder.

 

I'm a fan of lead holders too, I never use pencils. But if I had to get rid of a bunch, and wanted to enjoy the process, the travelers company brass pencil holder is pretty freaking sexy.

 

Personally, I use the Venvstas design 8 2mm lead holder, a custom koh-i-noor mini that I converted from a knock to a clutch advance, and in the shop my old rotring 600 was replaced by this crazy 2mm lead holder knock advance pencil made by Festool that has a sheathe and sharpener built in, and uses these frankly unbelievable leads that will write on - I kid you not - BASICALLY ANYTHING. Slick clear ABS plastic? no problem. marble? Easy. It's witchcraft

 

But for my lead holders, I use steadler 2b and uni 2h and 4h 2mm leads.

 

I did just have a brainwave idea - you'd probably have to scrape off the paint if the pencils are painted, but boiling them for a few hours might soften the wood up enough to peel away easily. Honestly, I'm curious enough to try it. I don't have a pressure cooker, but If I did, I might try that, too.

 

I'm gonna take an old mirado black warrior, scrape the paint off, and boil it this evening. I'll report back.

Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry for the confusion. I soak the pencil in a cup of water until the wood gets soft, then I remove the wood with my pocket knife. The nastiest chemical I mess with is the local tap water (that's a joke, we actually have really good tap water here in Memphis).

 

--flatline

Link to post
Share on other sites

still WAY into this. 

I'm not affiliated with ANY of the brands/retailers/shops/ebay sellers/whatever I mention or recommend. If that ever changes, I will let you know :)

 

Looking for a cheap Pilot VP/Capless - willing to put up with lots of cosmetic damage.

Link to post
Share on other sites

This thread is now over 2 months old. Has anyone besides me had any luck extracting and using the cores from their wooden pencils?

 

--flatline

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, flatline said:

This thread is now over 2 months old. Has anyone besides me had any luck extracting and using the cores from their wooden pencils?

 

--flatline

 

Yep. The problem seems to be that the better quality the leads, the more difficult they are to remove.

Cheap Tiger pencils, whoosh, straight out however Staedtler seem to glue their leads in pretty well. They need some love, care and a solvent of some kind.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Dixon and Dixon Ticonderoga pencils seem to use glue that dissolves in water. Once the wood gets soaked all the way to the lead, I can usually take it off in large chunks or even just slide the lead out. Too bad their lead is "meh".

 

The USA Gold pencils are a little more difficult, but once wet, the glue peels off and the leads come out clean. The USA Gold lead actually feels really nice to use in my holders, although it's a bit light (low contrast) compared to Uni or Staedtler.

 

Most of the other stubs I've extracted cores from were unidentifiable. Most leads have been good enough to use, but nothing special.

 

I do not yet have any nicer pencils that are less than 4 inches, but when I do, I'll report on how it goes.

 

--flatline

Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, flatline said:

Dixon and Dixon Ticonderoga pencils seem to use glue that dissolves in water. Once the wood gets soaked all the way to the lead, I can usually take it off in large chunks or even just slide the lead out. Too bad their lead is "meh".

 

The USA Gold pencils are a little more difficult, but once wet, the glue peels off and the leads come out clean. The USA Gold lead actually feels really nice to use in my holders, although it's a bit light (low contrast) compared to Uni or Staedtler.

 

Most of the other stubs I've extracted cores from were unidentifiable. Most leads have been good enough to use, but nothing special.

 

I do not yet have any nicer pencils that are less than 4 inches, but when I do, I'll report on how it goes.

 

--flatline


I’m REALLY new to this pencil ✏️ game so may be going out on a limb here but, as with a decent ink, once you find a decent lead (🥰 Staedtler 2mm ones) then you’ll not really want to use any inferior ones. 
 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/18/2021 at 11:34 AM, Tas said:


I’m REALLY new to this pencil ✏️ game so may be going out on a limb here but, as with a decent ink, once you find a decent lead (🥰 Staedtler 2mm ones) then you’ll not really want to use any inferior ones. 
 

 

 

Much of my enjoyment of pencils comes from the amount of variety in the combinations of lead, holder, paper, and writing surface. I can give identical pencils different kinds of point (long, short, chisel, triangle, etc). Or compare different pencils on the same paper. I may crave the feel of a hard sharp lead on glossy paper or the thick bold lines of soft round lead on index cards. My whims change from day to day and from one purpose to another.

 

The Staedtler Lumograph HB are my favorite wooden pencils (or maybe the Hi-Uni, depending on my mood), but I would enjoy them a lot less if I didn't have other pencils to constantly compare them to.

 

Heck, even cheap office supply store pencils have decent leads in them compared to the pencils I used as a kid. They'll never compete with my premier leads on quality paper, but they're fine for writing on notebook paper or card stock where the rough surface negates the consistency of my better leads.

 

Do what makes you happy.  I hope you find something you like!

 

--flatline

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, flatline said:

 

but I would enjoy them a lot less if I didn't have other pencils to constantly compare them to.

 

 

🙂 I believe you've summed up what goes on in many of our minds with pens, inks, leads and pencils here.

I was playing around yesterday and thinking exactly the same thing. The different experiences, sensations and results produced are all part of the joy of this hobby. I know if I had to choose an ink for a desert island it'd be Sailor Sou Boku. I know if i had to pick a 0.5mm lead it'd be Pilot Neox HB etc. But what a dull island it'd be if we couldn't contrast and compare.

Thank you.
Keep scribbling 🥰

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Announcements


×
×
  • Create New...