Crit Role Stats does Science: Pencil Edition

Last night, the CRS team watched the new Loot Crate video. After commenting on how much forearm strength would be required to hang on to a mechanical gryphon, the discussion eventually led to one Travis Willingham and how much strength one would need to apply to bend a mechanical pencil.

After failing to bend our own pencils in this manner, the conversation eventually led to the following setup:

To test, we got a bucket, a bunch of weights, a gap between tables, and a handful of various wooden and mechanical pencils of various brands. Viewers of the Periscope witnessed as I then balanced the bucket over each of these pencils with various weights (starting WAY too high at first) until we found that approximately 18 lbs adequately bent (not snapped) a BIC mechanical pencil (the same brand we believe Travis used).

After the conclusion of the test, we realized that we had calculated torque (18 pound-inches) instead force. With each pencil 6 inches long, the gap between tables at 3.25 inches, and the weights placed at exactly halfway (1.625 inches), we calculate that the bucket of weights exerted approximately 11 lbs of force, or about 49 Newtons. It’s likely that he generated a little bit more than that, too, in order to do so with one hand so quickly. (Personal experience says that that is still really hard to do, even driven from the anger of beard checks.)