Sunday, March 8, 2009

More papermaking

I have gradually been discovering the problems of papermaking. The most significant step forward was the purchase of some synthetic felt material, which seems to be just right for the process. Before finding those, I used various strengths of cotton sheets, but the paper tends to stick to those, and they retain the water much more.

I have two "product lines" going: on the one hand, a sheet of around A4-size, and on the other, a small card, about the size of a business card. Here are the frames I use for those. The larger is put together from a 1x1" piece of wood and a wire mesh, the other from the same wire mesh, and a wire hanger (sewn together with some dental floss).

(The bucket underneath holds some newsprint paper being soaked, before pulping.)

I scoop some paper pulp out of the bucket, with the mesh frame, trying to make it distribute evenly on the mesh before I lift it out of the water. Let it drip dry, and flop it onto a sheet of felt. I sponge off most of the water, from the back of the mesh, before lifting it off the felt. This makes it easier to lift the mesh off, without the paper pulp sticking to it. The felt sheets can be stacked, each with their sheet of paper to be, and put under pressure, to squeeze some more water out of them.

After a while, I hang the sheets on a line, to dry. I don't know how to make sure the sheets dry properly without becoming uneven and twisted. In the background, you can see my family coat of arms, complete with penguin and hamster.

If I catch the sheets to early, and put them under pressure, they won't dry properly; if I wait till they dry, it is not easy to get them flat. Here I apply the old dictionary method.

A close-up of the "Coat of Arms":

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