Sunday, December 6, 2009

Vatman

Vatman, coucher, layer at work in papermaking
Papermaking: The vatman (on left in image) determined the proper consistency of the diluted stock (fragmented linen rag) in the vat. Into the pulp suspension, he dipped the mould—a rectangular wooden frame covered with a woven brass-wire surface and fitted with an open wooden frame called a deckle. 

After dipping, the vatman lifted the pulp-filled assembly to the surface, and shook it gently (promener) to distribute the pulp evenly and bind the fibers (serrer) as water drained through the mesh.

When the layer of pulp had coalesced on the surface of the mould, the vatman removed the deckle and passed the mould to the coucher (back turned in image). Next, he fit the deckle into an empty mould and repeated the dip, lift, shake action.

Comprehensive online article on European papermaking techniques from 1300 to 1800.

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