Desktop blotter

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monophoto

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Mar 13, 2010
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Saratoga Springs, NY
Fountain pen users understand that some pens are wet and others are dry, and when a pen is unusually wet, it's convenient to have a blotter available to absorb excess ink and accelerate drying.

About 10 years ago, wife and I were on a day-trip to a nearby town and were walking through a gift shop that offered calligraphy supplies. I noted that they had a small desktop blotter, so I did my Norm Abram imitation and made a set of measurements so that I could replicate the blotter when I returned to my shop. I made two of these - one for my son, while the other has resided on the desk in my office for the past ten years.

Dimensions are not critical, but I kinda like the 1 1/2x3 size of the blotter I made as illustrated in the attachments. The radius of the curved bottom is not rocket science - I think I used a paint can as a target, and then refined the shape to have a smooth curve using a disk sander. I used red oak for the body and padauk for the handle, but any timber would work. Finish is WOP. The blotter is held together by a single flat-head wood screw that enters a countersunk hole at the bottom of the base, proceeds through the top plate of the blotter and into the knob. I suppose a stronger design could be done by embedding a nut in the handle and using a flat-head machine screw rather than the wood screw, but mine has held up for ten years.

I later used contact cement to glue a layer of thin (1/16") craft foam around the curved bottom, around the ends and onto the top of the base. Pressure from tightening the knob on the wood screw keeps the blotter paper in place against the craft foam. I've also thought about gluing a small bit of sandpaper on the bottom of the upper plate to provide additional gripping force on the blotter paper, but that hasn't proved necessary.

Finding blotter paper isn't as easy as it was many years ago, but a good quality rag paper will work.

If you make and sell fountain pens, you might want to think about making a few of these to add to your inventory.


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blotter small.jpg
 
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monophoto

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Mar 13, 2010
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Saratoga Springs, NY
I change the blotter paper when it is necessary - no, not a smarta-s answer, but it really depends on how much the blotter gets used, and whether there is enough buildup on the blotter paper to transfer a smudge back to the original document. I don't need to use it all that frequently - I've probably changed the paper three or four times over ten years.

But another approach might be to use ordinary tape to attach the ends of the blotter paper to the top of the base piece. In fact, for a while I did just that - blue painters tape. It worked, but it wasn't pretty because I cut the strip of blotter paper too short, and the painter's tape showed at the ends of the blotter.
 

eharri446

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Mar 17, 2016
Messages
1,016
Location
Marietta, GA
Think of all the scrap pieces that you could use that either go in the trash or the wood stove. More money opportunities keep popping up on our hobby.
 
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