Picture of An Easy Way to Extract Lead from a Pencil
While wandering around the fascinating website that is Instructables I found that, though there are a bunch of projects that require the usage of the graphite core of a pencil, there doesn't seem to be any suggestions on how to extract the "lead" besides whittling the pencil down or splitting the pencil in half.

Sure, these methods are okay and all, but for my first attempt at writing an instructable allow me to propose what I find to be an easier way of getting that sweet, sweet carbon center out of the also-carbon-based-but-significantly-less-sweet wooden exterior. My proposed solution can be summed up as follows: light it on fire!

Tools and Materials

A means to start a fire (I find that a lighter works best here)
A pencil (one without paint works best, but pencils with paint also work)
A ceramic plant pot plate with a diameter around the same size as the pencil
A knife (a small, easy to handle one works best)
A cup of water (for dealing with things that are hot)
Optional: A candle slightly shorter than the plate is deep

Since you'll be lighting things on fire here, you'll also want to follow basic fire safety, such as keeping something around to extinguish any errant flames or working in a ventilated, clutter free space. As you can clearly see in the first picture, however, I am a terrible example of the latter.
Doctor-X174 months ago

Excellent! I thought this would work, now I know! Definitely much nicer than whittling the wood; this probably gives you the most possible graphite.

HassanB15 months ago

Ah I just did it and the pencil feel apart- with the graphite I was trying to extract... Could you help me and tell me what I'm doing wrong. Are led and graphite two different things? Or did I just do it plain wrong?

P.S. I did get some graphite but it was broken into small pieces .

HassanB15 months ago

Well done! I'm in the process of making a microphone using graphite and this will really help! Thank you so much! Great idea as well...

curly6862 years ago
well played, i did not think about doing that
rimar20004 years ago
20StoryLincoln (author)  rimar20004 years ago
Thank you! I was a little worried this was a stupid thing to publish.
knowledge never is stupid...

and he did change to saying 'graphite' instead of 'lead' !!!!!!!!!!! great instructable !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11
if you have trouble lighting it you could always use a knife to scratch the finish off to get started