Hand Papermaking: One Of The Oldest Ways to Make Paper
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Hand Papermaking: One Of The Oldest Ways to Make Paper

The process of making paper by hand begins with placing your raw materials like leaves, bark, rags or other fibrous material in a trough and pounding it with pestle to separate the fibers.

There are two major stages in the process of paper making: the breaking up of raw material in water to form a suspension of individual fibers and the formation of felted sheets by spreading this suspension on a suitable porous surface, through which excess water can drain. This is basically the process of making papers over the years.

The process of making paper by hand begins with placing your raw materials like leaves, bark, rags or other fibrous material in a trough and pounding it with pestle to separate the fibers. During the initial pounding, the material is washed with running water to remove impurities, but after the fibers have been sufficiently broken up, they are kept in suspension, and the water in the trough is not changed. The solution in the trough is called half stuff and this is the main material for papermaking.

The mold – a reinforced sheet of metal mesh having either a square mesh pattern, called a wove pattern, or a pattern of more widely spaced longitudinal wires held together with smaller transverse wires, called a laid pattern. The mold is placed inside the deckle (a removable wooden frame) which forms a low rim around its edge. The deckle and the mold are inserted into the trough containing the pounded material and the solution or half stuff and when the deckle and the mold are removed from the trough, the surface of the mold is coated with a thin film of fiber-water mixture. The deckle and the mold is then shaken forward and backward and from side to side to distribute the mixture evenly on the surface of the mold and to causes the individual fibers to interlock with those adjacent, giving strength to the sheet. Much water is drained from the mold mesh during the shaking process and the device with its formed sheet of wet paper is then kept until the paper is unified so that the deckle can be removed.

After the deckle has been taken from the mold, the mold is turned over and the sheet of paper is laid smoothly on a sheet of woven woolen cloth, called a felt. The mold pattern imprints itself on the finished sheet of paper. Another felt is laid over the sheet of paper and the process is repeated over several sheets of paper. The process of placing felt over and under the papers is known as couching. The sheets of felted papers are then piled up and placed in a hydraulic press with multiple tons to help remove the remaining water. When the sheets are piled up, it is called a post. This process is repeated several times until the water in the paper is fully drained out. Finally, the sheets are hung over ropes in drying rooms until it is fully dried and smooth. The normal paper is ready, but if the paper is to be used for writing or printing, it must be treated by dipping it into a solution of animal glue and drying the paper. The paper is now placed in between two sheets of metal and pressed thoroughly until it is smooth and ready for use.

 

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