Making Things

In my last two posts I let you all know I’ve decided to hand make paper. I like making things. I’ve made jewelry, small wood boxes, stories, poetry, etc. Now I’ve made paper. Hand crafting things you want or need has been happening since humans were on the earth. Early humans had to make everything they needed themselves. Tools, utensils, weapons, everything. It’s only since the modern manufacturing age and mass population expansion that we have come to rely on others making things for us. Now, making things by hand has become a craft because you don’t need to make your own things anymore. But I like to make things. When I decided to make paper I bought a paper making kit to get started. So I used the kit and it’s been fun but I decided I want to make my own paper making tools. The kit I bought contained a mold and deckle (see my previous posts for an explanation) that made stationary size (5 1/2 X 8 1/2 inch) paper. You can buy larger ones for bigger sheets but I decided to make one. Here’s a photo of the framework:

I used Maple for the wood because it’d heavy and dense and won’t warp very easily. The corner pieces and screws are brass so they won’t rust. When my father died I inherited his woodworking shop so I have a table saw, band saw, and drill press among other tools. I’ve been doing woodworking for years so making this frame wasn’t hard to do. Now I’ve made some wood slats out of plywood to fasten the screen onto the mold.

The whole thing is getting a couple coats of polyurethane to protect it from the water. When the poly dries on the slats I’ll attach the screen and it will be ready to go. This one is 8 1/2 X 11 inches, the same as typing paper. There are other tools I can make for use in paper making which I’ll get to eventually. But hey, I’m retired so I don’t have to do it all today!

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I’ve been feeling like I want something artsy to do lately. Over the years I’ve done painting, woodworking, jewelry making etc. I keep trying different things, and they’re all fun to do but I’ve never found anything that I want to keep doing regularly. Writing is the only thing I’ve done with consistency. Well, it seems I’ve got the bug again. So I’m going to learn to make handcrafted paper. I’ve seen handcrafted papers before and I’ve always been impressed by different kinds. You can make paper out of just about any plant material that’s fibrous, and you can add things like leaves, flowers, feathers and other things to make artsy paper. I’m going to give it a try. One nice thing about paper is that it’s recyclable so you can make handcrafted paper out of shopping bags, envelopes, tissue paper, toilet paper or almost any type paper you want. I’m going to start by recycling paper first and if I like that I’ll look at using plant material.

I think making paper is an extension of writing. Of course I do all my writing on the computer but before computers, you had to have paper. Besides, I just think paper making would be a good skill to have if we every go back to living in caves again. Which, well, I won’t go there. I’m going to document everything and keep track of the costs so I can pass that info on to you. Should be fun, don’t you think?