How to Make Wood Pencils

This is one of those projects I’ve been thinking about for a long time and really glad I followed through on. I couldn’t be happier with how they came out. These were made by routing a very small groove into two pieces of wood to hold the graphite and glued together. I tried to have continuous grain to hide the seam and it worked pretty well. I sanded a hexagon shape into each pencil but it’s not really noticeable because as I was doing some final sanding they rounded out. The shape is still there and the pencils don’t roll off the table but the shape is not as noticeable as I was expecting. I did want them to be super smooth and have a “fine woodworking” feel so I thought the final sanding was necessary. Adding polyurethane and dipping the end in paint was the icing on the cake.

All of these pencils were made in a day. After doing one batch I feel like I could make them even quicker the next time around. These would make a great craft show seller since a handful could be made all at once keeping the final price down and I think I could make them even more eye catching by choosing different color paints for the ends.

If you make any yourself be sure to Tweet some photos to me so I can share them with my audience. Be safe! Be Passionate and Make Something!

Tools and Supplies

hand made wood pencil

cutting on tablesaw

Step 1: Cutting Pencil Blanks

Cut two thin strips of your favorite wood. Size doesn’t matter yet as we’ll be cutting down to size in a later step.

routing on router table

Step 2: Route Groove

Using a v-groove bit route a very small channel in each piece. This will be used to hold the pencil lead.

pencil leads

Step 3: Drawing Leads

For the graphite I’m using drawing leads I picked up from Amazon.

gluing up pencil blanks

Step 4: Gluing Up

Add plenty of wood glue to each half and insert the drawing lead in the groove.

clamping up wood

Step 5: Clamp it Up

Now clamp tightly and let dry for at least one hour.

cuting small pieces on tablesaw

Step 6: Cutting Down to Size

Now you can cut your pencil down to size. I found an existing pencil and used that as my size guide.

cutting to length on  tablesaw with sled

Step 7: Cutting to Length

Then cut the pencil to length. Here in the photo I’m cutting all my pencils at once.

sanding pencils

Step 8: Sanding

Using a jig with adhesive backed sandpaper and two pieces of wood angled at 120deg, I sand some angles to create a hexagon shape.

finishing with polyurethane

Step 9: Finishing

Optional: add a coat of polyurethane to bring out the beauty of the wood and add a bit of protection.

dip in paint

Step 10: Dip in Paint

Optional: Dip the end in white paint for a decorative look. I angled my dip for an added effect.

sharpen pencil

Step 11: Sharpen Your Pencil

And finally sharpen away! I did find that some exotic woods are very hard and takes a bit of force to sharpen.

home made pencil handmade wooden pencils


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