Life Hack: Dishwasher Water Traps

We have a collections of plastic drinking cups, some from the dollar store, and other more stylish ones from Ikea. These are great for giving drinks to children because they aren’t too big, and more importantly they are unbreakable. But they have one irritating problem: their bases have a raised ring around the complete perimeter, and this holds a small puddle of water in the dishwasher.


The result is, depending on how long you left things to dry, either a bunch of hard water scale left by the puddle, or water all over your clean and hitherto dry dishes if you grab the cup without noticing the puddle.

After putting up with this for a few years, I finally got around to doing something about it. Using a coarse burr in my Dremel, I cut four notches in the rings on the bottom of the cups, giving a path for most of this water to drain.


The remaining water is much more likely to be dried up by the time you unload the clean dishes, and the small amount of water leaves a proportionally small amount of scale.

A single-cut burr should be used rather than a rasp to give the cleanest cut and reduce fuzziness. The cuts should go completely through the ring, and although I put four notches per cup, more (perhaps 6 or 8) would be better since it would mean there would always be a notch near the lowest part of the ring. I guess if you don’t have a Dremel, you could cut the notches with a round file.


The cups are injection moulded, so I have to wonder why they aren’t made with notches already in the ring.

Posted in Personal, Us

Blog fixed (and a cute kitten)

It has been a while since I posted to this blog, so now that our server is all updated and I have WordPress working again I have a bit of catching up to do.

For now, I offer cute kitten pictures. What blog (or YouTube channel) is complete without some?

One of my co-workers (at my day job) rescued three kittens from a feral colony near our office in August. All three of them had orange striped coats and I couldn’t tell them apart. They were still on milk and I have a YouTube video of one of them being fed while making the most darling mewing noises. Since then all three have been adopted into proper homes.


Posted in About this blog, Fauna, Kevin, Other people

Blog broken

Our blog is currently broken. You can see the summary of recent posts but individual posts and pages return server errors.

We are switching to a new server, replacing Apache with OpenBSD’s httpd which is far less versatile in terms of configuration options. Hopefully we can get things working again soon, although we might have to change the url format for individual pages (thus breaking any saved links you might have to individual articles).

Posted in About this blog

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