Pencils and Early April Camping.

Not pictured: my mandolin and a nice fire.
Not pictured: my mandolin and a nice fire.

I mentioned that a couple of us at Pencil Revolution HQ went camping early last month. I learned a few things about pencils and about camping.

First, if you are prone to cracking fingers (and if you have no idea what I’m talking about, count yourself lucky!), take a fat pencil with you. My pocket-knife sharpened My First Ticonderoga came in handy when I was bandaged one night.

US Army issue messkit with said roughly-sharpened pencil.
US Army issue messkit with said roughly-sharpened pencil.

Also: pencil shavings are way way way more flammable than I thought. Comrade Dan shaved magnesium from a block designed for the purpose of making fire. There was too much wind Friday night (and we were hungry) to get it to light. We resorted to matches. Saturday, just for fun, he shaved a nice pile of magnesium shards into a box of a few months’ worth of pencil shavings from my house. Despite fierce sparking, none of the magnesium lit. But the pencil shavings did, and we lit a fine fire that way — which burned for about 20 hours until we thoroughly extinguished it.

Pencil shaving Tinderbox.
Pencil shaving Tinderbox.

Finally, (and I think I knew this), naturally finished pencils are perfect for camping. They grip well, get nice and dirty, and when you get home, they smell like fire forever.