"Paper is designed in the beater." Claudia has emphasized that the beating of pulp is the largest part of designing paper. In order understand how to use the beater to help create a specific paper, it is common practice to do beater testing. This way, one can see how a pulp is affected by the length of time a pulp is beaten and by other variables like the level/number at which the beater is set and how hard it is beating.
[Claudia and Cheryl look at Tallu Schuyler's beater and fiber testing at the Appalachian center for craft. Her BFA research on handmade paper is a wonderful resource for seeing how many different fibers -including plants from the Craft Center- are made into paper.]
Claudia and I started the beater and waited for the pulp to be broken up a bit.
To do our beater test, we used a mould and deckle box and poured the same amount of pulp from the beater into the box and made a sheet of paper at 20, 40, 60, 80 and 100 min as the beater continued to beat the pulp.
Papers were pressed and then restraint-dried on windows, or air-dried on plastic grids. This shows us how the paper behaves in the process -how it shrinks and cockles.
We beat abaca and bamboo separately, making a set of tests for each fiber. The amount of pulp created a thick paper, and I noticed that abaca shrank quite a lot- where the bamboo remained nearly the same in size. Bamboo, which I had not experimented with before, kept an oatmeal texture even after 100 min.