Okay, I, ahem, forgot to remove the Ikea pencil from my shirt pocket last month when I was picking up a few items. Sure, I had a “better” pencil in my pocket also and didn’t need that Ikea pencil. But my daughter was fascinated by it, and it was good to grip with a squirmy toddler and holiday crowds. I came across a Flickr group today featuring “stolen” Ikea pencils, including one fitted with a ferrule — and is that a Faber-Castell “perfect pencil” cap on there?
(Don’t forget to check out the Pencil Revolution group that’s been active since 2005 and counting.)
Evidently, our favorite writing/marking tool has a use that might be a little…unsettling to read about. Pencils are very good for marking bone during surgery.
“The use of a pencil to mark osteotomy cuts in craniofacial and maxillofacial surgery is well established, proving superior to methylene, Bonney’s blue, and felt tipped skin markers that struggle to transfer an ink mark to bone, or are washed away by irrigation or tissue fluids.4 5 Sterilisation, originally achieved with 18 hours of dry heat,6 is now performed by autoclaving, making a pocketful of IKEA pencils from one shopping visit last for many months—important in the current financial climate. The only problem is that on repeated sterilisation even the hardiest of pencil splits. Ours proceeded to extrude its graphite core before it was even removed from the protective wrapper. We have solved this problem by wrapping silicon cuffs around the pencil—maybe we could suggest this to the designers at IKEA?
Despite this, pencils remain a safe and reliable method of marking bone, making the Argos pen safe for now, at least.”