Day 3 Sunday:

Beating the Cooked Fibres

The strength and beauty of this paper is based on the length of the kozo fibres. Instead of putting them in a Hollander beater or blender which would cut them, they are separated by being hand beaten with wooden sticks and mallets on a wooden or granite block.

beating stickThe corners of this squared beating stick are used to beat the fibres and separate them.
A clump of fibre about a pint in volume was beaten at a time. Using this stick we beat back and forth across it until it was flattened out. beating stick working across the fibres
heavy oak mallets with incised faces The mallets have cross cut patterns cut into them to force the fibres apart. Traditional Japanese mallets have a starburst pattern to achieve the same goal.
We used a circular pattern of beating with the mallets to further separate the fibres. Using both the stick and mallets, each pint sized clump of fibre was beaten for about 30 to 45 minutes until it began to resemble bread dough. pounding the fibre with mallets
the fibre pulp begins to look like whole wheat bread dough

To test the fibre a small tuft is dropped into a jar of water. In the first picture you can see the fibres feathering out. The jar is shaken slightly to disperse the fibres and if they spread evenly in the water, they are ready for paper making.

like the soft ball stage in candy making, the readiness of the fiber is tested by droping a small amount in a jar of clean water If the fiber distributes easily through the water with a little shake of the jar - it is ready

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