Oh boy. That was some Epic Papermaking, right there.
We started with six pounds of dry fiber (rag & sheet pulp). This was, as it turns out, overkill. I had no idea how much pulp it would take to charge the vat, though, and it’s better to have too much than too little, or so they say.
I am not convinced that they are correct.
It took about four gallons of pulp to get the vat going. Yeah. That’s a little bit of pulp.
Oh: and let me tell you something about the vat. We threaten, often, to take naps in it. It’s big. Very big. Ok, it’s probably smaller than the Lost Arch vat, but only because it’s shallower.
And, in shocking news, it turns out that 22″ x 31″ is plenty of room for some serious surface tension. And surface tension, you’ll be surprised to discover, makes the mould extremely heavy.
There are some pictures. Not as many as I wanted, but I think that’s ok. I resisted the temptation to get video of … certain people nearly falling into the vat. (One of the people who participated in this activity is … very not tall. She gave it a good go, but just lacked the leverage. I am just a bit taller than her, but enough so that I can get leverage on the vat. Also, I have some residual upper-body strength from doing returns for two years, so there’s that.)
Despite our height … disadvantages, we managed to do a little team-paper. One person on each end of the mould, and as long as you’re paying some attention (and you’re not me, apparently) it works pretty well. We managed to get fifteen sheets before everyone declared themselves exhausted. Which is pretty good, but you know what it isn’t? Six pounds of dry pulp. So I have some pulp balls (a pound and a half), and some pulp that may need to be cooked before I use it. Oh, and five sheets of pretty hysterical paper. (One of the people involved didn’t want any. I don’t understand! But I accept that she’s a little odd, and am happy to use my part of her share for … something.)
Worth it, though. Totally worth it. Especially the part where I asked Lee if he could pull a sheet. Lee is … taller than the rest of us. By a fair bit. And has known how to make paper for, quite possibly, thirty years longer than I have. It turns out that there’s apparently a way to negate some of the surface tension issue; at least, that’s what he said when he was pulling sheets as if it was easy.
So. MORE PRACTICE. Obviously. If I’m around for Bastille Day, I’m thinking papermaking and grilling. And storming something, obviously.