The Annual Miniature show that I enter each year was coming up and I decided to enter something different, something special, something other than my normal clay sculpted miniature. I’ve been seeing carved pencils and pencil leads online for the past few years and REALLY wanted to try my hand at it.

I found a pencil in the shop and experimented with different tools. Most weren’t small enough to get the detail that I wanted. I found that the best tools for me were an Exacto blade for removing the bulk and a the smallest needle that I could find for the detail. I was able to get closer to my work with the use of a 5x diopter magnifying lamp, though it still wasn’t close enough for me. I would carve then take a micro photo and make changes then compare the two.

For the train carving, which was my first project, I spent a few hours carving a train that I wasn’t happy with… It was too long and misshapen. So I printed my train reference out to size, which was really too small to see any detail but allowed me to find size and placement of key details. The second train took me about 6 hours to carve and the trestle took another 3 or so hours. Which was actually more difficult than the train itself because the wood of the pencil kept splintering. I have since found that the older pencils have harder wood and are easier to carve. Graphite isn’t created equal either, some are softer than others and hold less details.

There are a lot of talented graphite carvers out there who have inspired me, I only hope that people find inspiration and appreciation in my work as well!

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I’ve been seeing carved pencils online for the past few years and REALLY wanted to try my hand at it

It took me about 9 hours to carve this little train

It was actually more difficult to carve the trestle than the train itself because the wood of the pencil kept splintering

These are standard dimensions of the graphite found in a carpenter pencil


The train is 3/16ths of an inch tall by about 1/8th inch at its thickest point

This pencil was mounted in a hinged shadow box with a polished brass plate behind it so that you could see the other side


I have also carved other tiny things, like this maple leaf


A commissioned cement truck made for a contractor

The truck is pouring the cement foundation for an addition to this brick building

The magnifying glass is mounted in front of the truck for handsfree inspection or is removable for close inspection

Pretty small graphite hammer

The “CH” stands for “Carpenter hammer”


The tiniest Converse All-Star in the world! I don’t know that for sure but it’s pretty small

It’s actually THIS small… 3/16ths of an inch or 4.7625 mm

Carved into a used carpenter pencil

Looking through the 5X diopter magnifying glass. This is what I see when I carve