SORTING & DUSTING:
raw material, waste cotton rags, is sorted by hand to remove foreign materials
like plastics, iron and dust etc. that would contaminate the pulp.
sorted cotton rags are put through a mechanized rag chopper that cuts
the rags into small uniform sized pieces. In the past this process was
done manually using a curved knife mounted on a wooden board.
is the most important step in the handmade paper making process. The chopped
rags are converted into a fine pulp in a `Hollander Beater' by mixing
water. Inert chemicals, like rosin soap and alum are added to give the
paper the desired consistency and blot free characteristic. When making
colored and or textured papers, the color dyes and or textured materials
like straw, hemp, grass, silk and jute fibers etc., are added during this
process. The resulting pulp is ready for sheet formation.
is the traditional method. In this method the pulp is transferred from
the beater into a masonry trough or vat. Depending on the thickness of
the paper required, the pulp is diluted by mixing it with water. The mould,
made of a wooden frame with a wire mesh or a bamboo stick mat, is dipped
by hand into the pulp. The frame is then shaken side to side horizontally
(this gives the fiber cross linking pattern and strength a unique characteristic
of handmade paper) and lifted out of the vat. A sheet of pulp is formed
over the mould. This method requires a skilled operator and is physically
wet paper sheet is then transferred onto a cloth or a felt piece of fabric,
a couch, which acts as an interleaf separating the wet sheets.
hydraulic press then squeezes out the excess water from the sheets. This
compresses the pulp adding strength to the fiber and facilitating the
sheet is dried in the open air. For colored papers drying in the shade,
though slower, is preferred in order to obtain uniform color on both sides
of the sheet.
CLEANING & SIZING:
sheets are then inspected for unwanted foreign matter. Small particles
and dirt are removed manually with a sharp instrument.
sheet is placed between metallic plates and passed through spring loaded
rollers in a calendering machine. This smoothens the paper and also enhances
this point the sheet still has a deckle edge. The sheet may remain uncut
if required by the customer. However, typically, the sheets are machine
cut to a standard 22"x30" or 56x76 cm. size and then packed for shipment.