Never Lose Your Pencil Again – Pencil Drawer Project

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What is the one enemy of my shop time? Wrestling band saw blades? Sharpening dull plane irons? Re-grinding chipped chisel bevels? While those are all time consuming, they can’t compare to the true enemy of shop productivity – Spending 5 minutes out of every hour looking for my stupid shop pencil!

I’ve got the wood workpiece on the bench, tape measure in hand and I look around for a simple marking tool. None are to be found. How is that possible? I know I’ve got bunch in here…somewhere…but I can’t find a single one.

I’ve yet to actually buy a pencil for the shop. All mine come from my wife’s desk or, if I’m extremely desperate, my kid’s pencil box. Which means that buried in my shop are possibly a dozen pink Disney princess pencils or overly cheerful Christmas pencils doing hard time lost behind the drill press or in a pile of cutoffs below the radial arm saw. They could be anywhere now.

In order to save myself further rebukes from my family for my pencil stealing ways, I entered a 12 step program (technically, this is a 8 step program). First off, we need to come up with a plan! How about a special pencil drawer!?

Here’s how I did it:

1 – Drill a 35mm hole in the workbench

The most painful task for this project - butchering your work bench

The most painful task for this project – butchering your work bench

This size isn’t set in stone depending on what dowel diameter you go with (step 2). I know, it’s hard to drill up the bench, but we make sacrifices for the good of our shop time. Or, at least I did.

2 – I took a 1″ dowel and trimmed it down to the depth of my hole

A miter saw works great here too

A miter saw works great here too

Next, I trimmed off an end piece. Save this, it will be re-glued back on later to keep your lead from getting loose in the hole.

3 – Rip cut a section off the dowel to give it a flat surface

One way to slice off a flat section of the dowel

One way to slice off a flat section of the dowel

This will be the drawer top. Use your band saw with a clamp to hold the dowel, or just put the dowel in a vise and take a few passes with your bench plane.

4 – Hog out that center material

Get in the groove - use a router table to carefully cut a groove for the pencil

Get in the groove – use a router table to carefully cut a groove for the pencil

There are many methods, but I just used a 3/4 straight bit in my router table to form the drawer channel. Take it in small passes so you don’t strain the bit. I took about 4 passes or so.

5 – Next I turned a drawer pull from some scrap pear wood I had

Some might call this overkill - you can also buy a cabinet pull

Some might call this overkill – you can also buy a cabinet pull

You could just as easily buy some wooden pulls from the hardware store.

6 – Then glued it all together

Gluing it up

Gluing it up

This is end grain to end grain, but there is zero stress on the joint. I think I waited about an hour or so.

7 – Add to hole, insert pencil

8 – Put the pencil back when I’m done
Or at the very least put a few in the drawer before I begin each project…

A place for everything and everything in its place

A place for everything and everything in its place

For a video overview of the entire project, check out this video:

The pencil drawer project was so easy, I plan on making a few more of them. Heck, I think I’ll put one in each corner of the shop! If you have any enhancements or comments, please share them in the comments section below.

New Author Bio

peter-headshotPeter Brown is a professional computer geek and a hobbyist woodworker in Northern California. He spends his weekends renovating his 1960’s house and escaping to the shop whenever his family declares that he’s “helped enough for one day.”

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Comments

  1. No weed, while your whittling the wood. You don’t want to loose a finger, mate.

  2. nice idea, you could also use PVC to make the drawer. They could also come in handy for storing other stuff.

  3. Nice! A doobie drawer.

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