Pencil Holders Update

I’ve had several people this new school year ask me about making them pencil holders so I thought I’d post an update about some different designs I’ve been working on. 

The main design I’ve used is a full rectangle of wood. Most of the pencil holders I’ve made are from reclaimed oak pallet wood, which has a really nice look after a couple coats of spray finish. 

The first thing I usually do is to use a template I’ve found to be very nice. It’s a piece of leftover pegboard I had from the entertainment center project. I use a small nail to punch a hole in the exact center of each hole of the template. This is where my drill bit will sit when I start to drill out the pencil holes. This step is very important because without it the drill bit tends to wander across the surface of the wood. 

Next I drill all of the holes as evenly as I can. I also use a piece of blue tape wrapped around my drill bit at a certain spot so I know exactly how deep to drill each hole, making them all the same. It is worth it to take your time on the holes or else they could be rough on the inside and the pencils won’t fit. 

Once I get all of the holes drilled I use the table saw to shave off a little of the outside wood from the bottom first and then the top. Shaving off the bottom first lets me get a flat surface to rest against the fence to shave the top off. It’s not necessary to shave off a layer from the top but I’ve learned that it’s a good way to get rid of ragged edges and tool marks around the pencil holes. 

After the top and bottom are squared on the table saw, I use a belt sander to smooth the four sides of the pencil holders. I then use a random orbit sander to round over the edges. You could instead use a router with a roundover bit but for me the sander works fine. 

I add my (new) stamp logo to the bottom and a few coats of spray lacquer with a light sanding between coats finishes it off. The whole project takes just a half hour to make, so it’s easy to crank out several of these in an afternoon. 

These rectangle holders are popular, but here are some different designs I’ve made especially for some clients this year. 

These are super easy to make and very easy to sell, especially around school time. Plus the designs are only limited by your imagination!

If you got value from this post, please subscribe and share.  If you have ideas for projects or questions about anything I’ve done, let me know! As always, thanks for reading!


Author: Sam Adams

I am a musician, educator, and composer based out of Kentucky. I also dabble in wood working.

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