Here's another gem from How It's Made -- an exploration of a German pencil factory, using Californian cedar. I've always found it curious how we still refer to pencil "lead" although it's primarily graphite these days; the video explains that for these pencils, the "lead" is graphite and clay. It's impressive to see how the process is heavily automated, except for spot-testing by workers who hand-sharpen pencils and test them. I wonder what that job is like?

Best part: around 4:30, when the pencils are sharpened on a "grinding drum." Whoa.

And here's how color pencils are made:

What's Your Favorite Pencil?

I'm in the market for some new pencils, for writing. Got any recommendations? An integrated eraser would be nice but isn't a requirement.

After the jump: artisanal pencil sharpening by David Rees. I have one of his pencils. Yes, it's really a thing.

(Via Core77.)