To load damp paper into drying box:
1. Remove all blotters and corrugated board from box
2. Begin with a corrugated board. Place 2 blotters on top of board. Next, place damp sheets of paper on top blotter. When blotter is covered with the damp paper, place 2 blotters on top, followed by 1 corrugated board. Thus a ’sandwich’ is created, of a corrugated board, 2 blotters, wet paper, 2 blotters, and a corrugated board.
3. Place this ’sandwich’ into bottom of box, being sure to slide stack back as far as it goes.
4. Pull out another corrugated board to start the next sandwich of 1 board, 2 blotters, damp paper, 2 blotters, corrugated board, and place into box. Continue until you either run out of damp paper or of corrugated board.
5. Place top wooden board (with built-in handles) on top of stack, being sure to slide it all the way to the back. At this point, the fan in the back of the box should be covered. If it is not fully covered, simply slide more corrugated boards into box, even though they may not contain any damp sheets of paper.
6. Turn screw to apply pressure to stack, being sure that the platen is evenly on stack. Apply as much pressure as possible.
7. Turn on fan
8. After approx. 4-6 hours, as paper is starting to lose moisture, the screw must be tightened a little more. Paper is usually dry within 24 hours, though this will depend on thickness and amount of paper in box.
9. Always make sure screw is tightened onto stack
-Never put soaking wet paper in drying box. The drying box is not a substitute for a paper press; paper should always be pressed first either in a traditional paper press or on a strong vacuum table. Very wet paper may cause boards to become too wet, mis-shapen, and take forever to dry.
-Never leave damp boards or blotters outside drying box. They will warp and become unuseable. If anything is still damp, place it back into box, apply pressure and turn fan on until dry.
-Never leave damp paper in box for long periods of time with the fan off. Paper and blotters may become moldy.
-Be aware that intensely colored pulp, and inclusions such as flowers, may stain the blotters. If this is a problem, cover blotters with a light or medium weight polyester felt.
- A sheet of damp paper containing relief; high and low areas, or inclusions with relief such as rope, may be placed in box successfully provided a thick piece of foam rubber is placed on top (and sometimes underneath as well). Otherwise, the cardboard will impart that texture. The paper may take a long time to dry; placing a felt on both sides of the foam will help absorb moisture and speed up the drying.
-It is possible to create different paper surfaces while using the drying box. If a rough texture is desired, then the damp sheets should be placed between 2 dry felts. If the damp sheets are placed between canvas, then a distinct woven pattern will appear on the dry paper. Blotters are still used with this method.
We have found it helpful to always use the same blotter against the corrugated board, and the other blotter always used to carry the damp paper. Otherwise, if they are interchanged, slight courrugations may appear on the blotters, and thus on the finished dry paper.
If there is a lot of paper to be dried at once, it is possible to use only 1 corrugated board between layers. In this method, the ’sandwich’ would consist of 1 corrugated board, 2 blotters, damp paper, and 2 blotters.