On Papermaking Moulds & Deckles for Beginners

I wanted to try every type of mold I could afford when I began.

I own a Twinrocker dishpan mould and haven't used it for years, in part because of the small size of the finished sheet and because the more skill I gained (or familiarity anyway), the clunkier the dishpan process felt. But it was useful, a way into understanding.

If you get a "good" mould and deckle-- and I recommend the ones using the heat shrink screening (thereby you can keep the screen taut). Lee Scott McDonald (carried by other paper suppliers) or PaperTrail (wonderful, low-maintenance HDPE (thick plastic/polymer) frames) are among my favorites.

I tried the embroidery hoop approach for 5 seconds and ordered a LSM. And bought more as they came on sale or were found on eBay. Then I had larger one made by Gold's. Along the way bought several of Arnold Grummer's, TwinRockers, some from Papertrail and three custom made from Paperwright, a plastic sugeta from Magnolia and something from Carriage House, as well as Papyrus 21 small plastic pour moulds.

If you get a mould and deckle, you could at another point make or buy a deeper deckle/deckle box and try the pouring method.

I've had a set of deckle boxes made for me out of HDPE to use with existing moulds and they work wonderfully. And I don't have to worry about wood maintenance.

So: visit those suppliers' web sites or stores, if you are lucky enough to live in a large metro, and read what they have to say about their products and uses.
I learned so much from TwinRocker's and Lee Scott McDonald's catalogs and information sheets and feel ever beholding to them.

I would buy a fitted deckle/mould. That's what I had made for my students. I've retrofitted some wood deckles with aluminum elbows (couldn't find any elbows locally, but found the perfect thing online.) I found some kid kit's on ebay that I bought for nieces and nephews and they were all fitted deckles!

Some approached the fitting by having the deckle routed...

I am new to woodwork and construction so this is excitement and learning for me though it may be readily apparent to you.

Now if money is tight and you aren't a woodworker, a wonderful cost saving alternative can be found in screen printing screens. I love them for larger (10 by 13, for example) sheet making where prices for moulds and deckles go ballistic. For less than the cost of the regular "good" mould and deckle you can get a screen printing frame with screening and one of the same size without screening and there you have a mould and deckle!

Akua Lezli Hope
Updated October, 2009

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