VG Paper Blog


Using the Hollander Beater

Here is what I have found in using my homemade (by a Dutch person no less) Hollander Beater

Over the 4 years that I have been using the VG PaPER Hollander Beater I have found that…

  • That the capacity can be 3 lbs and above. The problem with adding more dry weight material to the beater is that it doesn't flow well (you have to push the pulp slurry around the trough) and it takes a minimum of 3 hours to process. The Pros to overloading the beater is that you get a lot of really thick pulp, but the paper fibers are over beaten and clog the moulde easily.

  • Relating to the above statement, 2.5 to 2.7 lbs. of dry material to 6.5 to 7 gals. of water is close to perfect. On the lower amount of dry material, the beater practically runs itself. That is what it is supposed to do.

  • It matters, slightly, that you boil the dry material instead of soaking it overnight. It really depends on the dry material. Boiling it with baking soda adjusts the PH if you need to go in that direction. I don't really think that it makes any difference in how the fiber breaks down. Size of shred (width & length) matters more.

  • Keep a log of each beater run. It helps in the long run. If you are using a journal or notebook for your log, add a swatch of finished paper to the entry. It is a nice, tangible, example of that run.

  • Experiment with fiber lengths and sizes. Don't take someones word for it. If you handmade your beater, it may not work the same as a David Reina beater (best in the world!) operated by your friend at the University. Tighter the weave or fiber the smaller the pieces should be.

  • If you have greasible bearings, grease them. Maybe not every time that you run it but at least once a month.

  • My beater doesn't have a shield on the drive pulley, belt and motor. It should. The drive side is toward a wall-like surface. That is really no excuse. When the severely inebriated come to visit, it makes me nervous. And my dog can't pulp with me, tail danger. Build a shield for the drive.
  • Look out for your tail, Wilson

  • Note that the longer you beat your pulp, the lower the water level will become. Pulp likes to suck up the moisture. Maintain your water level.

  • If you are pulping something very fibrous (Yucca, blue jeans, palm) cut the pieces small enough (1" squares is not small enough) and if knots or clumps form and jam your beater, raise the drum immediately to free the jammed pulp. Return to lowering the drum slowly as before. If raising the drum doesn't free the jammed pulp, TURN OFF THE MOTOR AND UNPLUG THE BEATER. Never get your hand (or anything else that you want to keep) near the intake of the beater drum/bedplate. Raise the drum and using the beater pulley, rotate it in the opposite direction to try and unjam the pulp. Try never to insert your hand into the beater. Rotating the drum the opposite direction, usually clears the jam. If not, you may have to lift the drum assembly completely and use needle nose pliers to clear the fibers that have caused the jam. I cannot stress enough, be more than careful. Unplug the beater when working on it.

  • When you drain the beater, raise the drum up and turn the pulley or turn on the beater briefly to facilitate drainage. You can flush out the last bit of pulp with a stream of water, YET I find that there are some unprocessed fibers that hang out in areas where they get trapped. If that is so, leave them alone. You don't want those lumps in your papermaking vat. They are just trouble so leave them alone.

  • Clean the beater when you are finished for the day. A high pressure stream of water is good to get all those hidden unprocessed clumps washed away, especially around the drum, bedplate and backfall. On the upper shield, the back of the flapper usually has a quantity of unprocessed fibers on it. I actually towel out the excess water (and little paper bits) as well. Mmmmm, sparkling fresh!

What else do you want to know or hear about? Email me.