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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » We double dare you! » » A strange object I'm trying to duplicate (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Inner circle
Kalamazoo, Mi.
2537 Posts

Profile of Jaxon
I found this unusual object and for the life of me I can't figure out how to make another one. Let me describe what it is.

It's just a short pencil that's sharpened on both ends. It's the kind you'd in gas stations to fill out lottery slips.

Anyway, somehow the lead in this pencil has separated itself from the wood. So the lead can slide out leaving an empty pencil (just wood with a hole running through it). The lead is still the full length so when it's centered in the pencil it'll look like both ends are sharpened.

Push one end of the lead in then it'll stick out the other end. This causes the pencil to look like it's sharpened on one end but "needs to be sharpened" on the other as if the lead broke on that end. The effect this allows me to do is to show that the pencil needs to be sharpened. Pretend to stick the end in my ear while make a grinding noise. Then show that the pencil is now sharpened. This is simply done by pushing the lead out with my thumb as I hold it to my ear.

Another effect it allows me to do is a kind of variation to my Outsmokin cigarette trick. AS I'm about to write with the pencil they see that the end I'm trying to write with has a broken lead but the other end is soon to be sharp. So I flip the pencil end for end and start to write again. But the sharp end (lead) jumps to the wrong end again.

The effect is neat but it can only be seen by one or two people in good lighting because it's not visible from a distance. I've tried to make another one but can't figure it out. I may have just stumbled upon a one of a kind object.

Ron Jaxon

After regaining my ability to hear after 20 years of deafness. I learned that there is magic all around you. The simplest sounds that amazed me you probably ignore. Look and listen around you right now. You'll find something you didn't notice before.
Chris Stolz
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Inner circle
Mississauga, Ontario
1957 Posts

Profile of Chris Stolz

I too have stumbled upon the occational pencil with this ability. I do have one idea as to how to recreate this. If you soak the pencil in boiling water for a while, perhaps the wood will soften enough to allow you to pull, or push the lead out of the pencil.

I haven't yet tried this, perhaps I'll give it a shot later this afternoon. If I do, I'll add my results to the thread.

- Chris.
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Inner circle
NJ, U.S.
6112 Posts

Profile of Jaz
My guess would be to use a razor or Exacto knife and neatly split a wood pencil (maybe tape one side and crack it open in hope of keeping one side intact),
remove the lead and use wood glue to glue the pencil back together.
The glue should make the hollow slightly larger so you can slide the lead back in.

If you want to get intricate you could sand off the paint, do the process and repaint it.
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New user
46 Posts

Profile of Maky
Thoughts: Put pencil in water for couple of hours. Then to the oven to try (not too hot). I hope that swelling and shrinking of wood make the "hole" bigger and releases the lead.
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Loyal user
214 Posts

Profile of themagicofjoseph
You may need a drillpress, some fixtures to hold it straight and very long drill bits (Electrician type). I did something like this as a kid, took eraser and cap off pencil, drilled out the lead, used the area to store notes and recaped it. You can maybe cut down a regular size pencil and practice a few times drilling out the lead, to get speed and feed correct. Pencil lead refills come in different sizes, or small black plastic dowels shaped to look sharp as a insert, balsa wood dowels..sanded and painted. In short, hollow out the pencil and use what ever you can dream up that will "look" like lead.
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Loyal user
214 Posts

Profile of themagicofjoseph
Jaz has a very good idea. If I may add my two cents to this, after the glue is dried, use touch up paint from a craft store and hand paint small designs on the pencil this keeps the eyes moving. Or, Now.....pencils come in wild colors, patterns and sparkes. These should hide any "splits" by their patterns.
Parson Smith
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Inner circle
1939 Posts

Profile of Parson Smith
Jaz is correct.
Slitting works well.(It may take you oa time or two)
Once split, the lead is easy to "wiggle" it out.

Also, I have found that in boxes of short pencils, the are often one or two that you can move with the rift sized bit.
Here kitty, kitty,kitty. Smile
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New user
Los Angeles
64 Posts

Profile of Joggins
Just go buy a bunch of the cheapest pencils you can buy. I noticed this a few years ago. The cheaper the pencil the lead will move around quite freely. I mean really cheap. make sure not to bend the pencil at all. The lead will break inside. Just tap the sharpened end of the pencil on a table. The lead should loosen and you'll be able to pull it out easily.
Good luck
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