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Paper making vat, top and side views

Paper Making Vat

This handmade paper making vat is a speciality piece of equipment for dipping a paper pulp and water mixture onto the paper mold. More details of the handmade paper making process can be found in my description of a //woodwaredesigns.com/freebie/Paperplaht.html">paper plant.

This vat features a wooden frame that holds it at the best height for the worker and a small drain. The exact dimensions of the stand will have to be adjusted for your specific plastic tub.

This paper vat design is currently under development. If you are interesting in building one, please email.

This is simple woodworking project, but is only one small part of a larger handmade paper plant. The materials cost around $130.00.

  1. Rockler order link to first page
  2. Ordering the Sketches

    This design includes two detailed sketches that are critical to your successfully building this device. To get these drawings use this ordering form. Or you can e-mail me at:

    Woodware Designs, Woodware@woodwaredesigns.com

    The plans for our major projects are brought to you on the Honor Plan. You may look at as many plans as you like, but when you start to build please pay for the plans you use. These small payments are critical to keeping this Web Site open.

  3. Construction Steps

    You can make a paper making vat set by:

    1. Printing out this text
    2. Ordering the sketches
    3. Purchasing the materials locally
    4. Building the frame
    5. Install the drain
    6. Sanding and finishing the frame
  4. Discussion of Sketches

    After you request and receive the two sketches, these notes will help you understand them.

    1. Handmade Paper Vat

      This sketch shows the side, end, and top views. The paper vat is basically a small heavily frame holding a plastic tub for the water and paper pulp. There is a wooden rim around the top that give you a place to set the deckle while transferring the new paper off the mold.

    2. Handmade Paper Vat, Pieces Sketch #3

      This sketch shows the wooden parts of the vat. Most are made from good 2"x4" pine. If are making only a small vat, you could use 2"x3" stock.

    Rockler order link to first page
  5. Materials

    The paper making vat is made from pine and scrap plywood. The parts are assembled with glue, screws, and nails.

    1. Wood:
      • Pine, Good quality, 2"x4", 30 lft @ 1.70 lft --- $50.00
      • Pine, Good quality, 1"x4", 7 lft --------------- $ 8.00

      ---------- Subtotal: $58.00

    2. Hardware:
      • Plastic Tub, large ------------------------------ $15.00
      • Sink drain assembly ------------------------------ $12.00
      • Screws, 1 box - flathead 1.25" #8 ---------------- $ 4.00
      • Hanger, 6 - sheet metal, 2"x4" -------------------- $ 8.00
      • Glue, water resistant ---------------------------- $ 4.00

      ------- Subtotal: $42.00

    3. Finish:
      • Polyurethane ------------- 1 quart -------- $12.00
      • Paint -------------------- 1 quart -------- $ 8.00

      Finish Subtotal: $20.00

    4. Omissions and Contingencies (~8%)( Tax, sandpaper, etc.) $12.00 >
    5. Estimate Total Cost $130.00

    This is only an estimate (made in Winter 2007). The price may vary in your area. Using as much scrap wood as possible will help keep the price down.

  6. Tools

    This device was designed so that it could be built by one person with a modest home shop. Access to a table or radial arm saw is helpful. Little skill in woodworking is required.

    You will need the following tools:

    Rockler order link to first page
  7. Fabrication Notes

    This is not intended to be a detailed step-by-step construction guide, but rather a number of points to consider. It is your project and you can build it to suit your likes.

    1. Options

      There are only a few choices to be made before you start construction. Look over the drawing and decide exactly what you are going to do:

      1. Choosing the size of tub -- A large vat is best for large runs of paper. You do not have to add pulp so often and the thickness of the paper is much easer to control. It does take a large amount of pulp to charge a large vat. A small vat is best for small paper runs as you do not have to have such a large amount of pulp just to charge the vat. The small vat is also easer to store. It is also good to use a common size of plastic tub as they last only a couple years and it is good to able to put a new tub in the old frame.
      2. Adjusting the frame to your tub -- The tub show was exactly 14"x36"x12". You will need to add or subtract the difference between your actual tub deminsions from the correct wooden pieces. The top rim of the tub should be exactly even with the wooden frame top so that together they make a convenient place to place the mold and deckle as you work. For small tubs the frame can be made from 2"x3" stock.
      3. Height -- The vat needs to be at a convenient height for the specific worker. This design one cannot be adjusted. If it is too low then you have to repeatedly bend your back with a heavy load. If it is too high then you have to make a difficult reach.
    2. Making the Paper Making Vat

      This is very basic woodworking.

      1. Buy the tub

        Buy the plastic tub first. Get one of rectangular shape of a size to suit your needs. Adjust the measurement of the wooden frame parts to suit your specific tub.

      2. Making the frame assembly

        Build the vat sides by letting the cross pieces into the legs. Glue and screw them together.

        Check the width on your tub and cut the cross pieces to length. These are much stronger if installed with sheet metal hangers.

        Install the end pieces. The top one at the back is left out to make the tub easer to work with. You can add one there too if you like.

        Round off all sharp corners and edges. Sand the top and sides well. This will make the vat much easier to work with.

      3. Installing the tub drain

        Cut a round hole about 8 inches from one end and install the small sink drain. Be sure that the drain misses the wooden supports under the tub.

      Rockler order link to first page
    3. Finish

      Paint your vat any way you want. It is best if the very top surfaces are vanished only so that paint color does not transfer to your molds.

      1. Paint the Base

        You can paint the base of the vat any color you like. Oil based paint helps resist water better.

      2. Varnish

        The top edge should be varnished so that paint color does not rub off on the bottom of your molds.

  8. Conclusion

    Thanks again for using Woodware Designs Plans. We very much want to know how you are getting along with your project and will be happy to answer any questions by email.

    If you send us a picture of your finished project, we can put it on our Web page. We need pictures of projects with real people using them.

    Don't forget to order the sketches.

    Rockler order link to first page
    Woodware Designs, Woodware@woodwaredesigns.com

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