Thursday, October 17, 2019

Pulp and Paper Merit Badge accomplished, with a little help from me

A Boy Scout asked for help completing the Pulp and Paper merit badge. All requirements were straightforward enough, as the badge is sometimes done at summer camp, but one was trickier.

"Make a sheet of paper by hand."

I looked up a few sources, finding:

The safety recommendation was to get a used blender for the purpose, and never use it for food purposes later, due to risks from unknown ink constituents.

After mixing "used" paper and water, the pulp is put on a screen for shaping and drying.

The instruction tell how to press the paper, with manual rolling or weights. The results here:

The above shot has personal information removed; the paper produced was fine enough for normal ink/writing.

Further reading:

"Paper: Paging Through History", author Mark Kurlansky

  • ISBN: 9780393239614 (hardcover); 0393239616 (hardcover)
  • LCCN:   2016007084
  • Call Number: 676.09 K (Dewey Decimal...)
An excellent reference story, with a lot of information "you didn't learn in school", such as the coded "knot" language of the Incas, and the written languages of the Aztecs and Mayans. The Spanish destroyed nearly all examples of the latter, one found only recently (1971) in Europe.

The position that technology follows societal needs rather than the former dictating the latter's development is a refreshing viewpoint by Kurlansky. 

Thanks for the opportunity, Nick!