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Re: Do it Yourself Standing press

If you are content to make 8 1/2"x11" or smaller papers, a little press is
fine.  You might want to consider having a
larger press --good for bigger sheets of paper as well as books, although
with books, you've really gotta watch the pressure. I was blessed to buy a
David Reina hydraulic press that can handle sheets up to 22'x30" as part of
a used beater/press/drying system deal that was advertised in the
Handpapermaking Magazine newsletter.
If you're going to make your own, I'd suggest that you use aluminum I-beams
rather than steel, costlier at the outset but maybe preferable, as the
weight will be considerably less. They're not particularly complicated
items to make or have made; you might want to visit someone who has such a
press and take measurements. A 20-ton hydraulic jack is what I've most
often seen on paper presses and is what's on mine. As there's no floor
drain in my studio, I had a local welder/fabricator make a drip pan that
attachs permanently under the bottom platen and has drain pipe that allows
the water to go neatly into a bucket. Keeps my downstairs neighbors free of
anxiety about a flood.
Before acquiring the Reina press, I used a homemade standing press that I'd
found at a flea market. The press had a wheel for lowering the top platen,
and in order to 1)not spill water on the floor and 2)have the leverage to
put a good squeeze on the post of paper, I sat the press on 2 cinder blocks
set inside a concrete mixing trough available from builder's supply places
with a drain spout placed in one corner, which was set on a low table made
of cinder blocks with a piece of 3/4" plywood set on top.  The contraption
worked fine as long as I made papers that were no larger than 11"x17" which
was the size of the platten.
 A past issue of Handpapermaking Magazine had a press made from what
appeared to be railroad ties.  The weight was applied to the paper post by
using the Japanese method of adding water to a bucket or heaping up stones,
gradually increasing the pressure as the post dried.
Good luck!

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