Chris from Canada wrote:
Before you toss that old pencil stub:
1) Pry out the rest of the eraser. When chopped up it makes passable raw meat or dog kibble.
2) Using pliers, pull off the metal ring that held the eraser. The tube you have in your hands will become a custom-made clay cutter on whatever shape you desire. Start by gently rounding out the tube with small pliers and then identifying the end with the neatest edge. This will be your cutter. On the other end, wrap a 1.4" wide strip of masking tape around the outside of the tube a few times to reinforce it and provide a safe place to hold on to. As the metal is quite sharp and I am a klutz, I also folded about 1/32" of one layer of tape over the raw edge to the inside of the tube for added safety. Don't tape over the end of the tube as you need some way to get inside to push out your clay shape if it gets stuck inside the cutter. Finally, use your pliers to shape the other end of the tube into whatever shape cutter you need.
NOTE: Make sure to do the above 2 steps in the order specified, or you risk tearing the ring. The pencil holds the ring in shape while you gouge out the eraser bit.
3) Consider the potential of the stub as a post for a bird bath or a garden statue, the base form for a paper-clay Yule log, bakeable body core for a Fimo critter or any place you can use a RL 3-4" diameter cylinder.
4) If there is anything left of the pencil by now, gently deposit the remains in the nearest trash can, offering a few words of thanks for such long and loyal service. (sob!)