#27 Mould Brass Sheathing

Many moulds made for use in commercial mills are fitted with metal sheathing. Since most of the moulds I make aren’t used this way I rarely use sheathing.

The mould used as an example here is a small wove mould made entirely of western larch, both ribs and frame. This choice of wood is an experiment. The purpose of making it a wove mould was to add that structure and the necessary processes to this series of posts. Sheathing was added to this mould so that that topic could also be included.

The sheathing is .017″ cartridge brass. I have a roll that is soft (annealed). Brass shim stock is easier to find but often too stiff for this purpose. It can be annealed with a propane torch, though.

Typically the sheathing covers the entire front of the mould, wrapping around the corners. The other two corners have separate shorter pieces. Sometimes the sheathing is not symmetrical which puzzles me. Was this done for a particular purpose?

After the brass is nailed in place with 1/4″ brass escutcheon pins the metal is burnished down and the nail heads filed flat.

I ‘polish’ them with a sanding sponge to round off any sharp edges and make it look better.

The front has been finished.

The bottom side of the partially sheathed mould.

The remaining two corners each have a separate piece of sheathing.

The purpose of the sheathing was probably partly to protect the wood from wear and partly to help hold the mould frame together in times before waterproof glue was available. It may have been partly to protect the vat person’s hands; I had a conversation with the man who used the moulds shown below in which he described the substantial calluses that he developed. The wood suffered too, being worn to a fuzz in the areas gripped during sheet forming.

Perhaps this mould would have benefitted from metal sheathing.

The wood is worn away from use.

The mould in these last photos is one of the few I’ve made that have been used in heavy production. These were used in pairs more or less continuously to produce about 500 to 750 sheets per day.

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