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Understanding products and their origins – Pencils
Understanding products and their origins – Pencils
It would cost $50 in
labour and materials for
a person to make a 10cent pencil. It is very
cheap labour, and
worker are payed per
Old pencils can be
donated to a nature
centre where the wood
and graphite can be
recycled, and the metal
can be recycled to, but
most people will just
garbage it and it will go
to the landfill. The
environmental impact of
making pencils is not
Wood Type: Softwood - Durability: Durable -Treatability:
Difficult - Moisture Movement: Medium - Density (mean, Kg/m³):
580 - Texture: Medium to fine, straight grained - Availability:
Limited availability at specialist timber merchant - Price: low Uses: Joinery Exterior, Joinery - Interior, Furniture - Colour:
Light brown
Pencils are made from a variety of materials. Pencils are made
of graphite commonly known as lead. It is combined with wax
or clay depending on the type of pencil that is being
manufactured. Special wood called the cedar wood is used to
make the outer part of the pencil so that it can easily
withstand the sharpening of the pencil. Cedars are naturally
found at high altitudes native to the Himalayas the
Mediterranean. Compared to a tree within the same family,
such as pine, cedars are generally quite small. The pencils with
rubber on the base need the holder and the rubber as extra
material. Paint is used to coat the pencil so that it looks
that big but it still has an impact on trees because they're getting
cut down – deforestation. The factories to make pencils create
pollution, all the trucks and machines involved in this process and
getting all the materials for the eraser and metal from mining.
The environmental impact of pencil is related to heavy metals and
the use of materials. The release of heavy metals may have toxic
Initially, at the factory, wooden blocks are cut into what is known as “pencil blocks”
according to the length of the pencils. They leave an extra space called the trim
tolerance. Now the pencil blocks are cut into slats using special saws that produce
less waste in the form of sawdust. These saws are thin, so they shape the slats
perfectly. Since the wood can have defects, these slats are sorted and the ones
that are perfect are called full ply. The pencil slats are then coated with wax and
treated with stain so that they can achieve uniform colour. This also improves the
machine matching and sharpening. Then a Grover machine is used to cut the slats so
that it can take in the graphite core which was previously extruded. Now the
graphite cores that are made with a combination of graphite and clay or graphite
and wax are placed in the cut slats. The cosmetic pencils also go through the same
process just that the formation of their cores is different. It contains the
pigments and chemicals, and no graphite is added. Another reason for using wood
for making pencils is that it does not react with the chemicals used in the cores of
the pencils. After dying, these slats are inserted into a machine called the shaper
where they are trimmed so that the sandwiched slats are square. Then, according
to the type of pencil, they are shaped in round, triangular or hexagonal shape.
During the cutting of individual pencils takes place and if any defect is encountered,
it is discarded immediately. After this, each pencil is painted and each of it
receives about 4-8 coats of paint. For the pencils with rubbers, a metal sheet is
heated and shaped and the name of the company along with the hardness of the
pencil is traced to the pencil.
effects on humans and the environment. In the case of wooden pencil,
production of wooden pencil may exploit the use of natural forest. Pencils
are obsolete the lifespan of a wooden pencil is short, while the mechanical
one can be used indefinitely. The graphite in pencils will decompose in 100
to 200 hundred years or more if it is compacted tightly in the landfill, The
eraser can take more then 50 years to decompose!
 Design & Technology
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