Over 50 years ago, I saw a pencil leaning against the front porch of a house near my grandmother's. I was enthralled with the scale of the pencil. It was almost as tall as the porch posts! Wow! What fun that would be. Does it write? Does it erase? What is it made of? Why did they make it? Dad, can I have it? The only question that was answered was the last one and that answer was "no" but I took it home with me in my mind.

Now, as a teacher who spent 30 years in public schools and another 11 years after I "retired," operating a tutoring business, I have gone through a lot of pencils with a lot of students. A few weeks ago, as I was explaining some geometry to a student, I used a standard pencil as an example of a hexagon and we walked through the geometry displayed in it. "How many degrees are each angle?" I've also used a pencil to apply ratios and algebra. "What is the ratio of length to width on this pencil?" What percentage of the length is the ferrule?"

I have several things in my tutoring center that play with the mind by using strange proportions. I look for ways to get students to think with a different part of their brain.

I know a man who has a saw mill. He repurposes old power poles. Around here, that means cedar. I asked him to mill some 1/2" boards that were 12' long and 12" wide. Those boards are all bright yellow now.

Step 1: Building the Body

My first task was to figure out how to build a hexagon with 12" wide sides. Knowing that there are 360 degrees in a circle, I recognized that if I wanted my "circle" to have 6 corners and even sides, I needed to make each angle at 60 degrees. Since 2 boards would meet at each corner, I beveled each edge at 30 degrees. I cut five (5) pieces of 1/2" plywood to the proper size to use as part of the framework for the body, giving me something to fasten the boards to and adding strength to the pencil body.

Next, I ripped 2"x6" boards into strips measuring about 2" on a side with 2 opposing angles being 60 degrees. The resulting parallelograms were cut into 3" blocks to serve as bumpers for the plywood panels. I spaced the first and last panels 2" from the end of the side boards and the middle panels about 4' from each end.

I used good quality wood glue on all edges and nailed the pencil body together with a pneumatic brad nailer.
<p>many years back as a young man learned a technique to remember things ( any thing) which are in sequence. I could remember and recall those more than hundred item names without missing the sequence. The trick was to link one after one by building up a story. While making up the mental picture, the rule was not to visualize it as normal size shape or as single number. Say if the first object was a screw driver, visualize that as big as a sky scraper, next object say was a book, get a mental picture as hundred of flying books are coming and landing on top roof of the screw driver. Go on adding other items sequentially , making sure mental image is as outrageous possible. This process make neurons activity in our brain more profound, usually these don't erases easily, and we can recall the sequence easily. This huge pencil image and the its making has fired so many neurons, I wander , how long this will remain in my memory hard disc !</p>
I think you would get pulled over by the cops for that.
Nonononononononoonononono NO...Weapon of Math Disruption
lol. couldnt help it
Ok i gotta admit it, your comment is pretty cool :)
Could be!
I just saw that you won! I'm so very excited for you as this is one of the best instructables and out of the box thinking I've ever seen! I can't wait to see what you come up with next!
Thank you poofrabbit. I appreciate your kind comments.<br><br>I checked out some of your instructables. You are quite artistic.<br><br>I am working on my second instructable and hope to be ready to post it in a day or two.<br><br>Keep up the good work.
A giant &quot;Thank you&quot; to everyone who has taken the time and effort to view my first Instructable. I greatly appreciate having been selected as a winner in the &quot;EXTREME! Challenge&quot;. I am considering mounting the GoPro camera on the tip of the pencil. That way, I can show the world from &quot;The Pencil Point&quot; of view!
5 star's and a vote. This is a project that I normally wouldn't have looked at, but after reading the first two paragraphs you got me really curious. Well written and well thought out project. Really took me on your journey to build this. Will follow and hope for future projects from you sir! <br>
Thanks a lot FreeStrange. I hope to add more Instructables. Odd things come out of my shop at times...like the Model A Ford pictured as my icon here.<br>
A first I thought it was just a model with a regular pencit, but wow! I am impressed!<br>
You found me out! It really is a regular pencil. The bigger secret is that I figured out a way to shrink my wife's truck. Now if I can only figure out how to get to back to full size and save my marriage!<br><br>Just kidding. thanks for your kind remark.
Incredible work.<br><br>I have really wanted to imitate.<br><br>It looks like a pencil Land of the Giants!
I like that DrakerDG!
showed this project to a couple of friends, they laughed...tis an interesting project, what brought it back into your mind after all those years?
I'm glad your friends liked it. <br><br>I have many things that play with proportion around my place, like a 24&quot; tall, soft-serve ice-cream cone and another pencil that is 4' long. I have some over-sized coins, some extremely undersized coins and other &quot;odd&quot; stuff.<br><br>Seeking a project which I could tie into my business, that old pencil came to mind. <br><br>Thanks rymndgeekyguy!
most interesting, I certainly hope you give more instructables in the future, live long and post awesome!
Neat instructable, and great pics! <br><br>I originally clicked on it because it shares the title of an interesting book by John Taylor Gatto, also formerly a public schoolteacher for at least 30 years, who has a lot of intriguing points about education.<br><br>Are you going to try to make one that writes now? :)
I was thinking it wouldn't be too hard to mount a briquette into the tip, sharpen it up and scribble away...
Mounting the briquette would be pretty easy but grasping a 20' pencil that weighs 240 pounds might be a bit tough.
Move the paper, not the pencil ;)
&gt;&gt;---&gt;sfreeman1 - <br>Looked up something for you. Not sure it will fit the bill but all you do is Google Graphite Rods<br>http://www.naccarbon.com/<br>or http://www.graphitestore.com/<br><br>Slap one of those into a wood tube cut from a pole and Voila!<br>It would be a giant pencil you can actually write with.
It would be pretty easy for me to add graphite to this pencil but there is still the problem of writing with a 20' pencil that weighs 240 lbs.<br><br>Thanks for your efforts.
hehe...yes...also I tried to google for a super giant eraser and found none that would fit a pencil that huge...alas you'll have to make sure you don't make any mistakes ;)
Well, Mienja, that's easy. I nevr mack miscakes!
5 stars and +1 vote<br><br>It's sad people think they can win by just adding one word to the title.....At least try to be awesome and put as much in as this project took.
Thank you very much for the 5 stars and the vote (in the contest) and the vote of confidence.
you should use this as a sign for your tutoring business. that way the kids would see it every time they came to be tutored.
One of my students suggested today that I should install it in the yard and put benches alongside of it so kids could sit on the benches and use the pencil for a table to do their work with me. I love it when my kids start thinking &quot;outside the (pencil) box&quot;.
Wonderful. I woudl have made it a red editor's pencil - but that says something about my character. Thinking I should make a red editor and a blue proofer pencil in honor of my Father. Thank you so much for posting this.
I'm glad you've gotten some inspiration from this pencil. I'd love to see your red and blue ones when you finish them. Good luck.
That is very cool, well done.<br>
Insanely great.
That's an awesomely oversize pencil!
Thanks depotdevoid!
You can tell it is a brand new pencil; no one has chewed on it yet!
Great work. I love it.<br>Thanks for sharing.
Thanks cammers. I appreciate each of the kind comments the project has received. I'm hoping they are translating into votes for the contest so my students can gain some new tools for our classes.
Excellent project and a very nice wife to let you use her truck.
Thanks dorybob. It was nice of my wife to let me use her truck but she wants it off of there. I took it to &quot;the dump&quot; the other day and it worked just fine with the pencil on the back. I don't understand why she thinks people will be watching her more closely than the usually do when she drives her truck through town.
Although I would never make this pencil project, I love it! And, I love the fact that it resulted from a childhood memory and teaching lesson to a student.
Thank you bstorer. You might enjoy my website. You will get the idea that I don't teach in the traditional way all the time. www.TheFreemanCenter.com.
Astonishingly great.<br>As a writer, I love the pencil.<br>As an admirer of old pickups, I adore your wife.<br>Fabulous project. <br>Brillinant execution.
Thanks Ricardo. I adore my wife too. Even though she told me this morning that she wants the pencil off her truck pretty soon.
This is wonderful. Thank you for sharing this. I have tutored students and this would be a great conversation piece. I have taught woodworking to some high school students who loved that I would take the time and share my knowledge with them. I like that you a good showing each section and explaining your thought processes to the reader. I have shown this to some co workers who loved it also. Have a great day!
Thanks ironman0104. Once a teacher always a teacher. It seems I analyze much of what I do by &quot;how could I teach this to someone?&quot;. Did you give it a vote in the contest? Thanks!
I love it, and the name is a great play on words.
Thanks guido666. I can't take credit for the title though. One of my employees came up with that as soon as he saw it.

About This Instructable




Bio: Same town for 42 years. Same wife for 38 years. Same old truck for 41 years. Some would say that with all that is the ... More »
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