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  • Writer's pictureSteve White

Episode 2: From Dixon to Ticonderoga

Over the decades I have used dozens and dozens of pencils in my woodworking. I kept all the stubs, thinking I’d upcycle them into a furniture project some day. That day finally arrived a few years ago, when I designed this occasional table. The idea was to use pencils in a way that made them unrecognizable as pencils, and indeed, many viewers of this table have not identified them as such until having it pointed out.

Construction challenges started with making a circular ring as the skirt under the round top. I did this by building a circular form, then wrapping, gluing, and clamping thin layers of plywood to the form. I didn't care too much how it looked, because it was all going to be covered with pencils.

Next, I realized that 4 legs were not right for this table, because they would form a square where they touched the floor, detracting from the roundness of the top. Three legs were no better, so I settled on five legs, making this the the only 5- legged piece of furniture I have ever built! The legs are hexagonal like pencils, and I partially “sharpened” them at the bottom, painting them as a feature.

The turquoise circles are the heads of standard carriage bolts, which connect the legs to the skirt. By painting them they take on a decorative role as well as a structural one.


When it finally came time to glue lengths of used pencils vertically against the skirt, I discovered to my dismay that virtually all of my pencil stubs were too short. And the whole purpose of this table was to recycle these pencils! Maybe that was meant to be, because in a stroke of serendipity I found a local store that sold plain short pencils of different colors, meant for keeping score in golf. Choosing several hues, I was able to create the skirt sections in different colors, adding to the interest of the table.

I named this table “From Dixon to Ticonderoga”. Any dedicated pencil user will recognize in this title the brand names of two popular pencil companies.

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