The pencil manufacturer Caran d’Ache agreed to share their pencil-making process with Drawing readers through the following photographs, so that artists are informed about their materials and can use them when solidifying their mastery of all drawing basics.
|Step 1: Clay and water are mixed to form the mud that will be added in small amounts to the lead to adjust its hardness. The more clay, the harder the lead.|
|Step 2: Next, the clay mud is mixed with graphite powder.|
|Step 6: The leads are then submerged in a warm wax bath to seal them and improve their ability to make flowing marks. The leads must be completely free of humidity before this step to ensure that the wax mixture penetrates to the heart of the lead.|
|Step 7: Both colored-pencil leads and graphite leads are regularly checked by microscope for cracks and homogeneity.|
|Step 8: The leads are also tested for strength.|
|Step 9: Some leads are precisely sharpened to allow for accurate testing.|
|Step 10: This machine allows Caran d’Ache to test how leads wear down. This is crucial in ensuring that hard leads wear down slower than soft leads in a consistent way.|
|Step 11: Glue is then applied to the grooves in the wooden halves, which are cut from California cedars. This wood is preferred because it consists of regular cellular tissue that permits an even sharpening with knife or pencil sharpener.|
|Step 12: The leads are placed in the gluey grooves.|
|Step 13: The leads are then sandwiched between the two wooden halves and pressed for 23 hours to guarantee the quality of the adhesion.|
|Step 14: The finished pencil is painted, stamped, sharpened and prepared for sale. This is the complete line of GRAFWOOD pencils by Caran d’Ache.|
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