KW Maker Expo 2016, Saturday September 10th

Coming up soon is the 2016 K-W Maker Expo, which will be at Kitchener City Hall on Saturday, September 10th, from 10am to 6pm.

This event, which is free to the public, will feature over 50 exhibitors and over a dozen installations and activities, located on both floors of the City Hall lobby and outdoors in Carl Zehr Square, in front of City Hall.

We will be demonstrating hand papermaking at an indoor table, against the wall to the left of the Rotunda (booth 62).

Come out Saturday to see us and all the other exciting exhibitors and displays!

Posted in K-W Maker Expo, Past Events, Sheet forming, Us

Introductory Papermaking Workshop, Saturday August 27th

We have scheduled one of our Introductory Papermaking workshops on Saturday, August 27th (a little under 4 weeks from now), running from 9am to 4pm with a one-hour lunch break.

Cost is $65 per person plus HST. For more details on the workshop, see our course description and other blog posts about it.

If you are interested in attending, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Posted in Our own courses and workshops, Past Events, Pulp preparation, Sheet forming, Us

Making Cement Board

One choice for exterior siding on a building is cement board, which is made from a mix mostly of cement, sand, and fibre. The fibre toughens the board to give it tensile strength and resist cracking. Originally, the fibre used would have been asbestos, but this is no longer used because of its health hazards. Modern cement board uses the fibres from wood pulp instead.

It turns out that the process for making this product is closely related to the process for making (non-corrugated) cardboard. The sand and cement are mixed with the pulp just as one would add fillers when making paper, but in substantially greater amounts. The pulp is spread on a screen belt for draining and several such layers are laminated to make up the required board thickness. The boards are embossed with a wood-grain pattern, cut to size, and steam-heated to cure the cement.

The process can be seen on the How It’s Made channel on YouTube.

Posted in Useful gadgets and ideas

Raw Fibres for Papermaking

Rather than starting from the pulp half-stuff we sell in sheet form, many papermakers want to work from the raw fibres used to make the pulp.

In addition to being made into pulp, these can also be cut up as inclusions for texture and visual appeal.

For making pulp, the abaca can be cooked in soda ash and beaten with mallets, but most of the other fibres must be processed in a Hollander beater (whether cooked or not). Cooking softens the bond between the fibres and dissolves some of the brown (mostly lignin) so it can be rinsed off. Even when not cooked, the fibres should be rinsed before beating until the rinse water appears clean. This reduces foaming in the beater for some fibres such as hemp.

When beating these fibres, they tend to twist into long ropy knots, or pile up near the outfall and clog the beater. Both these problems can be reduced by starting with fibres cut shorter, and also by using less fibre in the beater batch. Until the pulp circulates freely, you have to keep an eye on the beater to break up clogs as they start.

I’ve added a page showing photos of the fibres we currently sell so you can get some idea of their colour and texture.

Posted in Things we sell

A Useful Online Glossary of Papermaking Chemistry

I have stumbled across this web site a few times, and I’m finally getting around to posting about it.

The site is a glossary of terms relating to what is referred to in the industry as “wet-end chemistry” and covers pretty much all the additives and processes that are involved in papermaking up to the point where the paper is dried.

This includes a discussion of many of the retention agents that exist and what makes them work.

It is written in the form of a glossary rather than a tutorial, so you might have to read several pages and piece the information together in your mind to get a proper explanation of some topics.

One thing to note if you are trying to use Wikipedia as well: “Polyamine” does not mean the same thing in papermaking as it does in general chemistry. For chemists, this term is similar to things like “polyalcohol” which indicate a hydrocarbon with multiple functional groups of the same type (so a polyamine has multiple amine groups). For papermakers, the term refers to a polymer of a (single) amine, in the same way that “Polystyrene” refers to a polymer of styrene.

It is (in my opinion) a flaw in the naming system used for polymers that the name refers to the material that was used to make the polymer, rather than the name of the resulting repeating unit. It ignores the fact that the reaction that linked the polymer may have modified that character of the original material. Thus the (papermaker’s) polyamine is a polymer of dimethylamine, but the nitrogen in the amine group forms the link in the polymer chain so the polymer no longer contains any amine groups; they have been transformed into quaternary ammonia groups whose net positive charge is critical to the polymer’s use. (end of rant)

I’m not sure this web site is still maintained because I have found several broken links once I stray from the glossary proper.


Posted in Pulp preparation, Sheet forming, Useful gadgets and ideas

A Little Printing Job

Last October I was printing some “Save the Date” cards for a customer, and decided to take a video of the work.

It only too me 8 months to edit the clips into a single video, but, after much delay, here is the result.

I’m using our 7×11 Chandler & Price Old Style press, fitted with composition ink rollers, to print cocoa brown oil-based ink onto 5×7 handmade sheets. The paper is mostly abaca pulp with a bit of cotton, and some chive flowers for decoration.

The deckle edges of the paper make for slow placement of the sheet against the gauge pins; you can’t just drop it against the two bottom pins and slide it until it hits the side pin because the deckle edge will not slide against the pins well. As a result I’m running the press very slow, maybe 600 impressions per hour. I hadn’t run the press for a while and it took me some time to get my rhythm on the treadle to avoid stalling with the treadle down while loading the sheet. When this happens I have to give the flywheel a push to get things moving again.


Posted in C&P Old Style 7×11, Kevin, Printing

CBBAG Ottawa Book Arts Fair, Saturday May 14th

I should have posted this a lot sooner, but if you miss us this year at the Grimsby Wayzgoose, we will also be at the Book Arts Show & Sale on May 14th, 2016, organized by the Ottawa Valley chapter of CBBAG. The show is at the Glebe Community Centre, 175 Third Avenue, Ottawa, and runs from 10am to 4pm. Best of all, admission is free!

Posted in CBBAG, CBBAG Book Arts Fair, Past Events, Us

Now I know…

…why the Monotype manuals say not to raise or lower the pot unless it is molten. They never explained why this could cause any problems, and the pump piston linkage is jointed enough to follow the pot up and down with no trouble, so I never gave this much heed.

It turns out not to be the pump piston linkage that is the problem, but the pump lowering lever. If the metal hardens when the pot is not fully up in its operating position, the pump will be frozen in the metal in a raised position. If you then crank the pot up to operating position without fusing the metal first, the lever that lowers the pump away from the mould will break.

The pump body lowering lever. The far end is pressed down by the shiny rod, lifting the nut in the foreground, thus lowering the pot. When the rod lifts, a spring pulls the pump up. Normally this happens as the machine is about to fill the mould, but this also happens if you lower the pot.

The pump body lowering lever. The far end is pressed down by the shiny rod, lifting the nut in the foreground, thus lowering the pot. When the rod lifts, a spring pulls the pump up. Normally this happens as the machine is about to fill the mould, but this also happens if you lower the pot.

If you raise a solid pot, the rod will push down, but the pump can't move so the nut can't move up, and this lever breaks instead

If you raise a solid pot, the rod will push down, but the pump can’t move so the nut can’t move up, and this lever breaks instead

Fortunately I have some spares of this lever. Also fortunately, this lever breaks rather than the ones that actually support the pump body; there are two of these and they are much more trouble to replace.

Because the pot is so heavy, the crank to raise it has a large mechanical advantage, so the force required to break this lever isn’t even noticeable.

Although this happened to me with a pot that solidified in a lowered position, it is also possible for this to happen if you raise a pot the had hardened in the raised position and has since been lowered. This might occur if, for instance, you have adjusted or replaced parts of the pump body lowering linkage.

I’ve learned my lesson, and now that I know why raising a cold pot is a problem, I should remember never to do it. It still seems, though, that lowering a cold pot is OK.

Posted in Composition Caster, Equipment Acquisition, Repair, and Maintenance, Kevin, Monotype Composition Caster

Making my mill more rigid

In my shop, I have a Sherline mill. Normally I have it set up like a model 5000 series, with a solid column, for rigidity and to reduce the number of adjustments that can go out of whack.

Recently I have been working on a project that needed a deeper throat on the mill so it could reach across a larger workpiece. To do this I changed the mill column to the model 2000 style (which is how I originally purchased the mill). Although this setup gives more reach to the mill, it has four additional setup adjustments which have to be set properly. Under even moderate milling loads I have found that these settings drift as the work proceeds, which is why I generally use the rigid single-piece column.

This job would have light milling loads so this drift would not be of concern.

Mill Saddle Travel Extension

from the Sherline instructions for the P/N 5650 Mill Column Upgrade

However, this job would also be using a very small endmill held in a collet in the mill spindle, requiring that the mill head be able to drop very low to reach the work. The lower limit of the mill head occurs when the Z saddle nut contacts the mill column. Sherline has a modification (the Saddle Travel Extension, P/N 40176) for the Z motion nut to permit the head to move lower by raising the nut relative to the milling head. The extension is a bar that mounts on the original saddle nut mounting holes, and provides new higher holes for attaching the saddle nut.

I have in the past found that this modification has too much flexibility to provide reliable Z depth control, and this time I actually measured the effect. As I manually turned the Z handwheel I could see the extension arm flexing. The step in the extension arm does not rest on the top of the saddle, so there is a short portion of the arm that is only about ½×¼″ in cross section where the flexing occurs. Between this flexing and the clearance between the saddle nut and the threads on the lead screw the total Z backlash was about 0.035″—almost a millimetre. Furthermore, the springiness of this arm made the Z motion chattery, jumping about 2 thousandths of an inch at a time.

I resolved to cure this finally, since the current job required better Z depth control than this could provide.

IMG_9263 AnnotatedI found a piece of ½×1″ aluminum bar from my scrap stock, cut it to the same length as the existing extension arm, and drilled five holes in it to line up with the holes in the extension arm. The hole for the screw that attaches to the saddle nut was counterbored ⅛″ to allow sufficient thread engagement with the saddle nut. I removed the three existing screws in the extension, placed my new part against it, and used some new 1½″ screws to attach it.

With this modification installed, the Z backlash has been reduced to 0.011″ and the Z motion is smooth. This is still a lot of backlash, but this saddle nut (unlike the X and Y motions) does not include a provision for reducing the clearance between the nut and screw. Because there is no chatter in the motion, I can modify the CNC code to account for the remaining backlash.

Posted in Basement Workshop, Kevin

Updated Information on New Type

We have updated our page describing the new type we offer to include some details on characteristics and typical pricing.

Posted in Things we sell, Type Casting, Us