What's new here?
As of this morning, all that was left to do to get the Hollander beater up and
running was wire the motor. It has an eight wire industrial motor, something
Iím not willing to tackle. Ever tried to locate an electrician on a Saturday?
Easier to locate a six-legged dog. Thank goodness for friends with sons who are
electricians. The motor is wired and tomorrow is set aside to learn just how
this doggone thing works.
Iím more than pleased with the beater. Set it up on the deck this morning,
filled it with water and strips of cotton and linen from two shirts plus half a
t-shirt, turned it on and watched it beat the stuff into lovely, soft cotton rag
pulp. Amazing! I did learn two valuable lessons today. Do NOT set a beater up
on a wooden deck. The deck becomes a sounding board for every thump-bump of the
beater. Second, be sure to rinse fabric in vinegar before putting into the
beater. Otherwise, the critter becomes a frothing mad dog in less time than it
takes to turn around twice. Pulled a couple of test sheets of the cotton rag
pulp. Feels weird in the vat, much like the feeling when a stray hair gets into
the pulp, only multiplied many times.
Made envelopes and
from the cotton rag with just a touch of wheat straw added for color and
contrast. Lovely. Washed some denim in vinegar and cut it up to beat tomorrow.
Set the Hollander up on a pad on concrete this time. (Iím a quick study.) Beat
the denim for a couple of hours, but probably should have beat it another half
hour or so. It looked okay, but when I put the pulp in the vat to pull a couple
of test sheets, it seemed that the denim almost needed a formation aid; there
arenít quiet enough fine fibers. Denim paper is also going to be too soft.
Need to add something to give it some body. Iíll rebeat the denim at some
point, but I had other plans for the Hollander this afternoon. I had three
batches of fibers ó white oak sapwood, catalpa bast and tomato plant stems ó
that I had cooked some time ago and processed in the blender but couldnít break
down enough for paper. Combined those three in the
beat them for an hour and a half. Made lovely pulp, golden tan with flecks of
reddish brown fibers. Paper is sturdy and crisp.
Made cards and envelopes from the
three fiber pulp
from yesterday. I used those experimenting with drying techniques. Made stacks
of twelve each of the cards and envelopes with nothing between the paper sheets
and pressed the heck out of them. Took those stacks out of the press and laid
them in the sun. My plan was to let one stack dry completely as it was, but to
separate the individual paper sheets in the other stack, place between dividers
and dry as usual in the press. I left the cards as they were, but divided the
envelopes. The surface of each appeared rougher than when pressed as I normally
do between dividers, but when I repressed them (with dividers between), they
smoothed out beautifully. Left them to dry in the press overnight. The stack
of cards was not dry by evening, so I brought it inside and laid it on a Z made
from cardboard on edge. I havenít the foggiest idea if theyíll even separate in
the morning, but weíll see. If they donít...what the hey, theyíll just go back
in the vat.
The stack was dry this morning without any cockles or curls, and the individual
sheets did separate easily enough, but pulling them apart softened the paper and
made it flexible. Not good. And Iím not really happy with the
either surface of the cards. Theyíre rough where the fibers of one card
imprinted on the next. Scratch the idea of letting them dry in a stack.
Initial pressing in an undivided stack does work well, though. Iím able to
remove far more water than is possible with dividers. Cleaned some black willow
bark and cooked it to try tomorrow.
Set up the Hollander and processed the willow bark. The inner bark broke down
into heavy fibers that will make a deep reddish brown paper, but will require a
formation aid in the vat. (I understand that the Japanese term for flecks of
kozo bark mixed in with pulp is ďchiri,Ē or something to that effect. Looks
like Iím going to be doing a lot of chiri picking with the willow bark. I
thought I had almost all of the outside bark cleaned off before I cut and
cooked, but I most definitely didnít. Lots of chunky black outer bark mixed
with the processed inner bark.) Pulled most of the willow out of the Hollander,
then added abaca to what was left and processed. Pulled a
The abaca lightened the color more than I want, but it still makes a nice
paper. Set that aside for another day. ** Carole Pierce, a local weaver, came
over and played in the pulp with me. I showed her how to pull cards and
envelopes from the three fiber mixture, then after she mastered that, we
switched to a vat of the cotton/wheat mixture. It was a little more difficult
for her to pull, but she mastered it and went home with three cards and
envelopes from each vat.
On nice days, I pull paper on the back deck, but it was way too windy to pull
paper today. I would have been collecting felts and sheets from all over the
neighborhood. I did cook up some
this morning just to see what it would do and pulled four
Itís an interesting paper and can be pulled
am molting and have been for two months. (Molting is the only term I know with
a close enough definition. The wonder is that I have a hair left on my head.)
Itís bad enough when I find them in food; itís a major issue when I find them
embedded in paper, particularly after the sheet is dry, but I absolutely refuse
to wear a hairnet!
Back to the top
Mixed day. Ran three batches of under processed denim through the Hollander
adding abaca to give the paper some body. Took a walk down by the creek and cut
a couple of mulberry branches just to see if theyíd still strip. Strangely
enough, they would, though not quite as easily as in the spring or early
summer. Bittersweet vines growing on the Silver Creek bridge caught my eye.
Iíve been wanting to try it, but thought Iíd wait till next spring. Probably
should have, but I had a feeling someone was going to cut them off the bridge
before spring. Cut about fifteen 4-5í vines, probably 2-3 year old growth,
brought them home, coiled and put in the canner to steam. They stripped easily
enough, but getting the outside bark off was the devil, and after stripping all
the vines and cooking the fibers, I only had a handful of pulp. Mind you, itís
lovely, but thatís a heck of a lot of work for such a little return. May try
some larger vines in the spring when theyíll likely strip without steaming.
Iíll pull what little pulp I have tomorrow and see what the paper looks like.
The World Trade Centers were destroyed today by terrorists
I cannot sit in front of the television any longer.
Sun dried pulp today. Dried denim,
white cotton rag, black willow and a mixture of white oak, catalpa and tomato
stems. Chunks and crumbles seem to dry better than compacted sheets and give me
more flexibility when it comes time to rehydrate. Pulled sheets from the
Fibers clumped so badly that I had to stop and take time to wet cut the pulp.
(Now have one very scissor sore thumb.) After I shortened the fibers, the
sheets pulled beautifully. Bittersweet makes a lovely creamy white paper with
very subdued tan flecks of something, along with more prominent dark brown
flecks of bark. Reminds me a great deal of white mulberry, both in texture of
the pulp and in color of the paper. Now, if it just werenít so hard to process
and if it only yielded more. Why do the best things come hard? Just before
dark, I slipped out for a walk and cut two 8í lengths of older bittersweet, one
the size of my little finger in diameter, the other about thumb size. Steamed,
then sat in front of the TV and removed the bark, then cleaned the outer bark
from the inner. I want to know what effect the age of the vine will have on
Cooked the bittersweet bast for two hours with washing soda. Processed nicely
in the blender, but the pulp is nothing like that from the 2-3 year old vines.
And the larger, older bittersweet makes a totally different
from yesterdayís, which was made from the young vines. It appears that as the
vines grow older, the soft, subdued tan flecks have become hard and reddish
brown, and they give the paper a rough texture. The pulp yield on the older
vines isnít any better than the young ones. Also gathered common violet stems,
cooked, processed and pulled a couple of
Interesting paper. The violet has a central fiber that runs the length of the
stem. You can often see a part of this when you pull the stem from the base of
the plant. This is the white fiber visible in the picture. Cut some purpletop,
cooked it for 2 1/2 hours in washing soda and ran through the blender. Too late
to test it today.
The paper from
is rather bland and uninteresting, a washed out brownish green with fibers and
seeds visible, but no real redeeming feature. Cut up a colored knit cotton
shirt to see what the Hollander with do with it. (Somewhere earlier I bragged
that I was a quick study. Apparently, Iím not. I forgot to wash the shirt in
yet again.) Knit seems to take longer to disintegrate than does plain weave.
Ran the beater for 3 hours, but the pulp wasnít quite ready. Stopped the
beater, since I need to tighten up the motor mount bolts. Iíll finish beating
the pulp tomorrow
Repositioned the Hollander motor, tightened the bolts a bit better and finished
processing the cotton knit. As the cloth has been beating, Iíve pulled
out to see the progress. Before all the cotton or linen that Iíve done has been
a single color. This was a three color double knitówhite, blue and greenóand I
had no idea what would happen. The final pulp is
a nice soft bluish gray with
bits of black threads from the seams still visible. (The pulp in the picture is
still wet; it dried lighter.) I had added about 4 oz of bleached abaca about an
hour before the pulp was finished to give some body to the pulp. That may have
lightened the color somewhat.
Stripped four or five small elm limbs, about the size of my little finger.
Dropped peeled bark in boiling water, turned it off and let it steep for an
hour. Cleaned the outer bark off, cut the bast in 1Ē sections and cooked in
washing soda for an hour and a half, then processed in the blender. Pulp was a
dirty looking tannish brown, so I bleached it. Needs a formation aid in the vat
unless you shorten the fibers. Paper doesnít rattle, but elm makes a nice,
cream colored paper.
Yield is good and would be better on larger limbs or even a tree, but after the
bittersweet debacle of the 12th and 13th, I know better than to think older
stuff will make the same paper as the young limbs. But...with elm bark, if it
wonít make paper, it will make a
envelopes and cards
from the cotton double knit that I beat on the 15th. Husband says the dark seam
threads look like worms. This worries me. He is a wise man. (Last week looked
at the turnip greens cooking on the stove and asked in all honesty, ďIs this
supper or potential paper?Ē Gotta love him!) Took time this evening to pull
and cook strawberry stems...for paper. Makes a very interesting
but pulp return for gathering time makes this one iffy. (Do not include leaves,
if you try this. Little fiber, much mess.)
Back to the top
Took a few days away from paper for various reasons. (May end up taking a
few more. Weíre having the bathrooms remodeled. <sigh>) I had saved
the cooking water from the strawberry leaf stems and used it to dye some cotton
rag. The water was a lovely rich burgundy; used as a dye with alum, it
resulted in a rather washed out tan. I didnít want to bleach the cotton
back out, so I pulled a few envelopes and they donít look half bad, sort of on
the tan end of off white. I added just a little daylily pulp and pulled
cards to go with the envelopes and they look good together.
Went rambling looking for possible paper sources. Brought home some Joe-Pye weed
(had read somewhere that it makes paper), milkweed, elderberry and goldenrod. Of
the four, milkweed and elderberry seem to be the best bet. The bast stripped
from them after steaming was hefty and fiber filled. Didnít bring home enough to
process into paper, just enough to see if it would be worthwhile pursuing. The Joe-Pye weed has me buffaloed (temporarily, I assure you). Whoever made paper
from it must have used the whole stem rather than the bast, which is negligible.
I broke up a couple of six inch sections, and theyíre high in fiber, so that may
be what was used. Iíll break up the rest of it to cook tomorrow to see what it
will do. Discovered a bag of daylily pulp in the crisper that needed attention
before it expired. Just before dark I pulled sixteen sheets from it. Hate
pulling paper that late in the day because drying becomes more of a hassle, but
I have plans for tomorrow.
I sometimes wonder if other papermakers have made arrangements with true and
trusted friends to empty their crisper and freezer when they die. Rain and much
cooler today. Cooked the Joe-Pye weed for a couple of hours in washing soda.
Sure didnít look like it would make paper, but I pulped it through the blender
just to see. Surprised me a bit. Though the paper is coarse and heavy, the
pulp does make paper. Doesnít clump in the vat, but the fibers are coarse
enough really to need a formation aid. Pulled one sheet of
added a little gampi to the vat to see what difference it would make. Easier to
pull and could pull a much thinner sheet with the additional fiber.
Took a minute this morning to reblend the Joe-Pye pulp, thinking that it would
break down more and I was right. Pulled another couple of test sheets and they
were much finer and better in quality. Took a walk this evening and cut six or
eight mulberry branches. Iíve promised myself never to do that again this late
in the year! They would not strip. Had to cut each branch into sections and
steam to remove the bark, then the outer bark was a bear to remove. Never
again! George (next door neighbor) brought his tomato plants over at dark.
Looks like tomorrow is spelled out for me.
Bathroom renovation began. Spent the day alternately steaming/stripping the
tomato plant bast and retreating to the far end of the backyard to escape the
beating and pounding coming from the bathroom. Cooked the mulberry just before
dark. Probably pull paper tomorrow from that, the tomato bast and some river
cane pulp Iíve been putting off.
Best laid plans of mice and menÖ When I stopped at the Guild office to sign
checks this morning, I found that someone had cut the bulrush and cattails
growing across the street. Really hadnít intended to try cattails until next
year, butÖ Gathered up an armload and brought them home. Cut up only the upper
2/3 of the leaf and cooked it in A&H washing soda. Blended into a green, gooey
mass of very fine fibers.
When Gary, the plumber, showed up this morning, I had two pans of paper pulp on
the kitchen counter - one lumpy whitish one of mulberry pulp and the other the
greenish, gooey mess of cattails. I saw him look at them rather doubtfully, but
it wasn't the time to explain. He went on about the bathroom renovations and I
went outside to pull tomato bast paper. Later, when I was pressing the paper,
he stopped at the workroom door to ask a question about the bath fixtures. I
ended up explaining about papermaking, how I made pulp out of odds and ends
things from nature. He looked puzzled a minute, then it was as if a light went
on. "Oh! That stuff in the kitchen...it's for paper! Huh! I thought it was
mashed potatoes and some weird creamed green vegetable..." I showed him the
stack of paper made from natural materials, and he got a real kick out of the
Thoroughbred horse poop paper. A bit later he came back to the door and said
that he had something I could make paper out of. He led me back to the bathroom
and showed me the metal drainpipe he had just pulled from behind the washing
machine, completely clogged with a dark, gooey, fibrous mass. "See," he
grinned, "and it can't be any worse than the horse manure paper." Great sense
of humor. **Pulled a few sheets from the
before I rinsed it just to see what
the difference would be, then rinsed the rest of the pulp and pulled a few more
from the rinsed pulp. The unrinsed
pulp drains very
slowly through the mold and makes an
extremely thin olive green sheet of paper. Pulp that is rinsed drains almost
too quickly and produces a sturdier, light tan sheet. I suspect that partial
rinsing would produce a more interesting and serviceable sheet that could be
pulled more easily. May try that with the lower 1/3 of the leaf later. Had a
dab of common violet stem pulp left from a previous batch. Mixed a little white
mulberry pulp with it, and the two together made
Went to the Frankfort Folklife Festive. I had hoped that there would be a
molasses making demo so I could get some crushed cane. Not there this year.
However, I did come home with a dozen or so tobacco stalks to play with.
Cooked the remainder of the cattails. The lower 1/3 of the leaf seems to yield
a bit more fiber than the rest. Only logical, I suppose. Thoroughly washed
about 2/3 of it after blending and reserved the rest, unwashed, to mix back with
that just to see what that mixture will do. Tomorrow is the first of October.
Hard to believe. Itís also hard to believe that Iím looking forward to the
first hard frost. That will be ďharvest timeĒ for several things I want to try,
but donít dare cut the plants until after frost, like the hydrangea. The
purple bean plant
growing at the end of the deck is another candidate. The stem skin pulls away
in long strips easily without any cooking, and the larger stems seem to yield
enough to make it worthwhile. Weíll see.
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