The right wood species, manufacturing knowledge and sustainable access to raw material are key factors of successful pencil slat manufacturing
Pencil slats are the wooden component used by pencil manufacturers to produce wood-cased pencils. The image below illustrates the primary process steps in moving from a block of Incense-cedar wood through to a finished pencil (excluding the specific processes to produce other key pencil components such as graphite cores, erasers and ferrules, etc.). Historically, in the 19th and and early 20th centuries, most pencil manufacturers were vertically integrated from acquistion of timber through to finished pencils as well as in other key components of pencil production. Overtime there has been increasing specialization in various aspects of production. So although there is still quite a range of vertical integration across the industry, generally most pencil manufacturers today purchase pencil slats (stage #3 below) from specialist suppliers such as California Cedar Products Company.