Basic Papermaking Equipment.





Introduction: Basic Papermaking Equipment.

About: The answer is lasers, now, what was the question? If you need help, feel free to contact me. Find me on Reddit, Tumblr and Twitter as @KitemanX

People have been making paper for thousands of years, by hand or machine.

Turning growing plants into useful paper is somewhere between precise science and a black art, and frequently involves strange smells and odd stains, making it the original "mad science" (in fact, getting the secret of papermaking out of China was one of the earliest cases of industrial espionage...).

"Proper" papermaking equipment costs hundreds of pounds, but you can get perfectly acceptable results for under a fiver.

I have also posted an Instructable on actually making your own paper from scratch. Click here to read it.

Step 1: Materials and Tools.

To make the deckle and mold, I used:
  • 15x15mm timber (a 2400mm length from B&Q cost £1.98)
  • Aluminium body-repair mesh (a sheet from my local independent car-spares shop cost £1.85)
  • Staples & staple gun
  • General wood-working tools - pencil, ruler, saw*, sander
  • Glue (I used Gorilla Glue)
  • Bungees and scrap timber for clamping.

*I have used a mitre kit to make more accurate corners.

Step 2: Measure Twice...

I made this equipment to match the size of the mesh I had available.

Notice that the wooden frame is larger than the mesh, so that the edge of the mesh lies along the middle of the timber section.

Using the mitre kit, I lopped of the end of the timber at 45°, and then measured and marked along the centre of the timber.

Don't forget to turn the timber over for every other cut, so that the angles match the corners.

You don't have to make your corners like this, just go with whatever joint matches your skill and equipment. If you can do dove-tail joints, go for it.

I cut two identically-sized frames. One will take the mesh, and become the mold, the other will rest on top of the mesh, and become the deckle.

Step 3: Construction.

I normally use screws and/or ordinary wood-glue on wooden projects, but this equipment is going to get dunked underwater on a regular basis.

So, I'm taking the claims of the packet at face-value, and using Gorilla Glue to fix the timber together. At each joint, I wet one face with a wet sponge, and smeared a thin layer of Gorilla Glue on the other with a scrap of wood.

To clamp the joints, I adapted the Spanish Windlass slightly, and wrapped the frames in bungee cords, with extra scrap timber wedged in place to increase the tension.

(Two hours pass slowly)

Once the glue was cured, I used an ordinary stapler to fix the mesh to one frame, with a few taps from a hammer to make sure the staple was flush with the mesh.

Step 4: Finishing

To make the frame more pleasant to hold, I rounded the edges slightly with sandpaper.

You could give your frame a coat of marine varnish, but I just gave mine a coat of sanding sealer - the best way to stop water damage to the frame is to dry it properly between uses.

Put your deckle and mold together with a vat (I'm using a plastic storage box) and some non-woven cloths, and you are ready to start producing hand-made paper as soon as your pulp is ready.

For that, you'll have to check my next large-scale project.



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    15 Discussions

    thank you so much. btw, what range of mesh sizes work?

    2 replies

    Most will work to a degree - fine meshes will take longer to drain, but leave less of a mark on the paper, large meshes drain quickly, but add their pattern to the surface.

    You could try a metal mesh like this with a fine mesh fabric (like stockings) stapled over it.

    I am a paper maker. I think this papermaking process is good for packaging, art and some printing purpose.

    I am a paper maker. I think this papermaking process is good for packaging, art and some printing purpose.

    Pretty good job, I wish I had this to make my mold and deckle! All the instructions were in book format, no useful pictures, but mine came out very similar to yours! I made mine to produce 10 inch squares, but it has one element that you may want to add, foam strips to keep the pulp in the mold and deckle without leaks.

    I dont know if making paper was known for thousands of years. But I recall that the technicque got out of China when the Arabs, in their storm expansion after the rise of Islam, got two Chinese as prisoners of war. This happened after a battle at North-East India, in a place where India comes close to China. It so happened that these two Chinese knew how to make paper.

    So, paper started to be used for recording things. But many people weren't pleased with the new invention. The famous khalif Haroun Al-Rashid said "I do not want someone to bring me a piece of paper and tell me, 'here's how things they are'. I want him to come to me, put his hand on his heart, and tell me, 'I swear to God, things are like that' ".

    The pious khalif's rejection of recording things on paper reminds me of Sokratis, the ancient Greek philosopher, who had a similar dislike for books. Sokratis was afraid that books will destroy real education, since people wont learn anything, but rather refreshing their memory from books.

    Making paper, hmm!! After I put my garage into order, one of my next big plans is to expand into metalworking. But its nice to see what other possibilities there are in life.

    Sympathise my long message!

    So Far, So Good. I'll be watching cause I want to make some paper Christmas packs for gifts.

    I can't remember what country you're in, but I got it from UK DIY chain B&Q.

    This is the first project I've used it on, but I'm already glad I got the saw, it made it so much easier to make the corners accurately.

    It's not so much the speed as the accuracy - I made this right first time, but the previous deckle-and-mold I made took three attempts to get the corners tidy.

    Yes, the accuracy is what I am referring to. You need a lot of time to do this the "old" way (marking at an angle, sawing slowly and accurately). With this machine, you just put the wood strip where you need it, and go strait down to cut.

    Oh, and I forgot: Nice i'ble. :)