How to make pencils out of Siberian cedar

Back in 1912 under the decree of the king's government in Tomsk was established factory, where sawed cedar plank for pencils produced throughout the country.

Much time has passed since then. Have been in the history of its ups and downs. In 1999, the factory was declared bankrupt, and in 2004 the famous Czech company «KOH-I-NOOR Hardtmuth as» became part of its owners. Today the "Siberian pencil factory" is the only in the former Soviet Union, the manufacturer of pencils and pencil boards of Siberian cedar wood is used for the production of pencils highest price category.In autumn 2012 production of "Siberian pencil factory", passed the examination committee, was the winner of the contest "Best Goods and Services Tomsk region", and then the student of the All-Russian contest "100 best goods of Russia".

How could produce pencils, consumers have received such recognition? 


The production begins with a pencil timber yard, where stored harvested cedar. Now here is more than three thousand cubic meters of wood. In the past year the government of Tomsk region greatly helped the factory to ensure the material. This year, there are planning to produce about 85 million pencils.

— The wood we buy comes to us as a result of illegal logging, — says Anatoly Lunin, director of the factory. — The vast majority — it stagnate sanitary felling of cedar, which no longer gives a nut. Cedar grows to 500 years, but there are bumps on it until about 250, after which it begins to die and be amazed by various insects. If it is cut down during this period, will grow faster than new cedar.

Each log is a timber yard passes first mandatory training. Before its sawing, wood is placed and kept in a special pool of warm water. This is done in order to wor pieces of earth or clay with stones do not accidentally damage the saw. In summer, it is kept long, up to twenty minutes, but during the winter timber held in the pool until until it thawed. It takes up to three hours.

In the upper right side of the photo just seen a tree trunk, prepared to dive into the pool. After 369 hours, or 16.5 days, having 26 different process steps thereof are obtained ready pencils.

A sawmill logs of doing this here board.

Production of wooden pencil is extremely demanding on the quality of the material. In the case comes just pure straight wood, and if joinery presence of defects such as, for example, swirls not catastrophic, the pencil of such a tree is not done, so to say in advance how many pencils are from a single timber is very difficult.

To reduce the amount of waste in the company are looking for different ways to increase the depth of processing of wood. One of those ways — expanding the product range. Thus, of the boards, which is not suitable for the production of a pencil, by the summer plans to start manufacturing of wooden puzzles, coloring books for children and moth proofing. Something goes to the production of short pencils for shops «IKEA», and the part that's on the production of wooden skewers.

Derived from logs sawn timber into short pieces, each of which is then spread by ten plates. That all boards are the same they need to be calibrated. To do this, they run through a special machine. At the outlet of the plates are the same size and strictly perpendicular to the edge.

Then calibrated plates placed in an autoclave.

In appearance it resembles a barrel that applies a plurality of tubes of different diameters. From these pipes can create a vacuum chamber, to pressurize and feed into various solutions. As a result of these processes remove plank resin contained therein, and wood is impregnated (soaked) with paraffin.

Today it is not the easiest, but one of the most effective ways to improve the critical properties of the material and protect the wood from the harmful effects of the environment.

So look "ennobled" pencil boards after autoclaving.

Their remains as a must be dried out and send to the pencil production. This completes the process of manufacturing tablets can be considered complete.


Ready tablet comes in white pencil shop, where to start it on the machine cut grooves, which are then stacked bars. The word "white" in this case means that the pencil is not yet painted.

A board supplied to the far end on the right of the photograph. On the way, the surface is polished to bond, and a special cutter in it are cut grooves. At the proximal edge of the plank machine automatically stacked in a pile.

It looks like polished plate with the sliced grooves.

Now its thickness of 5 mm, which is half the thickness of a pencil future. In the next step boards are glued together in pairs to get one pencil block. Here's how it looks.

The machine continuously delivers the first tablet, and puts the rods in its groove.

Following this, from another device "leaves" the second plank, already oiled water-soluble glue, and gently falls on the first.

The resulting pencil blocks clamped in the pneumatic press and tightening the clamps.

If the tablet is manufactured in th
e factory itself, the rod is mainly bought in China. There he began to produce for dry process that does not require baking in the oven at a high temperature. As a result, the cost of the rod was so low that the lion's share of the producers switched to a pencil rod.

To lead pencil did not break down inside the body, the technology used in the factory of additional sizing rod special adhesive system.

After this operation glued blocks kept in a special oven for several hours.

The camera is quite hot. Hot air is blown by the fan, maintaining the temperature around 35-40 degrees. Wood to dry thoroughly, so that later pencil in one pass was smooth and got the desired geometry. Pencil with "simple" pencil dries here for at least two hours, and the color — not less than four. Because color contains more fat substances, it requires more time to dry.

After this time, units dismantled, put into trucks showing all parameters further and sent to the next machine, which will divide them into separate pens.

Its shape machine similar to the one that made the groove at the plate, but he has its own features. The blanks are placed in the hopper. They pass on transport nodes are trimmed, sawn, and the output is the usual wooden pencil, but not yet painted.

Dual cutter that separates blocks, sets and shape the future of the pencil, and it's all done in one pass.

That is the type of profile milling cutter depends on what will be a pencil — hexagonal or round.

More recently, the factory started production triangular pencil. It was found that the demand is increasing form. Buyers are attracted ergonomics and natural arrangement of the fingers on the sides, which certainly makes a child teaching writing.

Stands next to the machine desktop sorter.

Its mission is to sort out in pencil, select the "fit" and to separate defective. By the defects are chipped at the end of the rod, roughness, burning wood, etc. Above the table hangs a memo with the rules on marriage.

In each tray on a table, put 1440 pencils.

Sorted pencils on a special lift to the next floor, where they will be painted.


Buy paint to dry and diluted to the desired thickness in the laboratory of colors.

Painting is fast enough. The device continuously pushes the colored pencils on the conveyor.

Length and speed of the conveyor belt are designed in such a way that the pencil dries as it moves.

Before reaching the opposite end of the conveyor, pencils fall into one of three receivers.

From there they are sent back to the next floor.

On average, each pen is covered by three layers of paint and two coats of varnish. It all depends on the willingness of the customer. You can also paint the pencil in almost any color. The factory produces sets of six, twelve, eighteen and twenty-four colors. Some pencils only cover varnish.

After painting, pencils sent to the finishing department. At this point, they acquire one final appearance, which reach the consumer. On pencils applied to the stamp, put eraser and sharpened.

This machine does a stamp.

Ways of applying it quite a lot, but the company is doing to help foil in different colors. This method is called incubation. The working part of the machine is heated and stamped through the foil is transferred to a pencil. So it will not climb round and dirty their hands.

Stamp itself can be anything, it specifically in order engraver. Depending on the complexity for its manufacture takes about five days.

In part pencils, if necessary, put an eraser.

The last operation — is sharpening.

Sharpened pencils on Abrasive placed over the drum and moving with great speed.

This happens very quickly, in just a few seconds.

In addition to sharpening machine can be set to perform rolling — processing back end of the pen at a slight angle.

Now pencils ready for packaging, and to do this, they are sent to the next room.

There they are collected into a set, put in a box and sent to the consumer.

Packaging under the right amount of pencils printed in Novosibirsk. It comes in planar form, and it is given first volume.

Then a complex-machines required number of pencils laid out in the specified colors.

This machine allows you to collect a set of twelve colors.

At the end of pencils laid out on the box.

Here on the stand presented samples of the production factory produces.

During the tour, we asked about upgrading the equipment. "Now in the world there are twelve factories, — said Anatoly Lunin. — And for all similar equipment. In Tomsk, make a pencil with 30s. Since then, the basic principle and technology of production does not change. All processes are well established. Modernization of the equipment is expressed in replacing certain components, or switching to more fuel-efficient engines, the use of new mills. Come some new material, we change something in the delivery and evaluation, but the technology remains the same. "

At issue is not whether the plan factory, following the example of Chinese enterprises, the switch to the production of a pencil cheaper wood or plastic Anatoly Lunin admitted: "I was thinking to try to make economical pencil from low-grade aspen, but it's a different technology, and really let the Chinese are engaged . I'm more interested in the topic of increasing the useful output by improving the quality of wood processing. And from the point of view of ecology, to make something better out of renewable raw materials. Plastic pencil never rot, and wood for several years had disintegrated. "

One can only wish that in the world of global computerization, there was a place just a wooden pencil.

Text, photo Eugene Mytsyk

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