Adventures With The Cherub
Receiving The Beta Model
Page 1

Little Critter1a.jpg (7736 bytes)For the serious papermaker, there is this marvelous tool called a Hollander. This is a beater for reducing plant fiber into pulp to be pulled into hand made sheets of paper. The Hollander reduces plant fibers into fine hair-like threads which increases the strength of the paper and can handle the tough fibers that would burn out the hobbyist/small studio papermaker's blender. Up to now, Hollanders have only been available in commercial sizes.

Enter Mark Lander in New Zealand, an artisan who teaches papermaking from scratch and needed Little Critter2a.jpg (9007 bytes)a portable Hollander. Being a creative and industrious (and adventurous) man, he spent a couple years developing three sizes of smaller Hollanders: The Critters and The Cherub. He developed the first one as a two pound "Hollander-In-A-Suitcase" weighing about 30 kilograms so he could have a portable Little Critter when he traveled to give classes. The pictures you see surrounding this text are of the Little Critter. He builds each Little Critter himself, by hand, when an order is placed, taking approximately three to four weeks to finish and mail off.

"3/4lb capacity
1 1/4lb
2lb +

To quote Mark:

"The most popular one is the 1 1/4 lb makes 5 buckets of pulp in one batch. All the machines are designed to handle cotton rag easily and of course are great for botanicals, linters etc. (Note from Sunni: To view his critter, check out Akua Lezli Hope's Critter page!) In the tests I cut the cotton sheet into roughly one inch squares, with seams and all. After stirring for the first ten minutes, the rags disintegrated well and want to circulate strongly. After half an hour, there were no more recognizable pieces of rag and, after two and a half hours, there was good, smooth pulp. I raised the roll for the last five minutes of the beat to disperse any small beating knots.

In the photos, you can see the motor goes on top. The motor is NOT included in the price, you get your own to suit your country's voltage etc. - plus they are uneconomic to ship. You can get one from an electrical supply or off the internet for about 79.95USD - a common 1/2 horse power, thermal overload with a 1.5 inch pulley for a 1725 rpm motor, clockwise rotating, foot mount, etc.

The tub is made from tough pvc material which folds down when not in use. An aluminum frame is assembled and the tub domes onto this. The whole machine can fit in a good sized suitcase for storage and travel.

The heart of the machine is the roll and bedplate. The roll is made from aluminum and is cast in one piece onto the one inch stainless steel shaft, is machined true on the lathe, and the bars are screwed into the shallow grooves milled around the surface.  The bedplate is 1/2 inch hard aluminum plate milled with diagonal grooves and bent to fit the circumference of the roll. I have ground the two parts into each other with Carborundum powder in the first batch of pulp.

The roll cover can be lifted of for cleaning, and two hinges at the rear of the roll frame allow adjustment between the working surfaces. There is a main height adjustment screw to raise and lower the roll, and two height stop bolts on either side of this to prevvent the surfaces of the roll and bedplate ever touching. The drive is with a v-belt, the bottom 8 inch pulley is included, the guard is hinged along the centerline and can easily be taken on and off with the removal of two screws.

The two main bearings are sealed and will never need greasing. They are designed to work in wet conditions and the whole machine can be hosed down (not the motor of course!). They are similar in size to the ones found in the front wheels of a car and are a common type readily available should they ever need renewing.

If you would like one, you need to give me a confirmed order by email at and then allow about three to four weeks for me to make one for you - depending on the waiting list, of course. They are designed to come to you through UPS International Parcel Service. We put a track and trace option on the parcels so we know where they are at all times and delivery takes up to five working days for major U.S. cities. No deposit is required. We arrange a bank transfer when your machine is completed, tested and ready to send.

You are going to have fun getting it up and going. I have given it a good grinding in with Carborundum powder in the test pulp. This trues up the roll and bedplate. We can do that again if the test run proves unsatisfactory. It has happened. The postal handlers have dropped the parcels or run them over with a steam roller!!!

Putting it together is quite straight forward. Put the pins in the hinges and then you are ready to fit the motor etc. The tub domes around the curved pipes etc. Easy.

The roll has to turn at about 260 rpm max - you should almost be able to see the axle turning. If it is going too fast, there will be circulation troubles.

To put the motor on is quite easy. First put on the v-belt guard. This is cunningly hinged and is put on with two screws. You can then see to position the motor so the shaft lines up with the hole in the cover - hopefully it does - then you can mark and drill the holes in the plate on the top of the machine the motor sits on. The slots are to tighten up the fan belt sometime in the future if it needs it. Use bolts, washers and nuts to put the motor on.

Now remove the guard, put the whole machine in the car boot and go shopping for the fan belt. This saves numerous trips back and forward when you get the wrong size (a piece of string with a knot in it doesn't get it right!!!!). You can try the sizes 'til one fits snugly. Yes, you are all ready now to get going having fun testing your little critter!!!! This is really exciting stuff.

It is good to have a go with it to find out what it can do. It is good to put a batch of old pulp through to see what the water level should be and how fast it is circulating. I have set the two little stop bolts on either side of the main screwthing to be at the lowest level before the roll and bedplate actually touch. This is the height where 95% of the work is done. Give these a check and tighten them down with the lock nuts. If your pulp has aluminum filings in it, these are set too low. If they are set too high, there will be no work done and the batches take hours!

Have a go with rag. The main method is to cut up aoubt 1.25 pounds of cotton sheet to one inch squares, fill the machine with water 'til you hear it swishing through, then throw in the rag all at once and turn the main screw down to the lowest level. Then use a curved stick or piece of plastic pipe to stir the rag, giving the occasional poke behind the beater roll. This is done for the first few minutes 'til they want to circulate on their own. You will notice the rags beghin to cut up and disintegrate in this time. There is a bumping sound and the roll jumps over the lumps. A bit scary at first. Don't worry - the machine is designed to do this! You can adjust the water level up or down to suit: too full and the water will gush out the seams of the cover, too little and it won't circulate.

For plants, they need a good cokup in caustic soda or however you prepare them and a good wash. If the plant material is nice and soft, you won't have any problems. The main glitch here is sticks and other uncooked bits jamming up behind the roll. Use the stirrer stick to poke the backlog through. Linters and recycling is easy rip up and soak. Throw them in after soaking and stir 'til they want to circulate etc. If you need any help at all, just email me at !

Hollanders are wonderful machines for papermaking but it takes time to learn all that they can do getting to know a new friend. I love to hear feedback."

Little Critter3a.jpg (3825 bytes)Mark has caused a revolution in the small studio/hobby papermaking world. Now Hollander beaters are available to just about everyone. The large Hollanders range anywhere from 5700.00USD on up! Small studio/hobby papermakers were limited to what they could beat by hand, whirl in their blender or produce by wheedling Hollander time from a group or company that had one. With Mark's Hollanders in a Suitcase, papermaking has taken on a whole new forward momentum. And small studio/hobby papermakers have begged him for a smaller model! Of course, Mark cannot ignore or resist the challenge. Thus, he has come up with The Baby Critter now called The Cherub.

On September 4, 2002 Mark mailed off the first three prototype Baby Critters to his beta testers - of which I happen to be one! It arrived in record time and is a glorious piece of machinery. However, at this typing (February 2003) I still have to get a motor for it and a few other necessary parts to make it fully operable. Watch this page for the beginnings of my adventures as I journal the warts and beauty marks of Mark's latest endeavor!! I have asked his permission to post my discoveries as I go along and he replied with his consent saying something about "...enjoys a good public flogging."

June 07, 2003: After many months of saving and scraping, I was finally able to get the motor for the Cherub and handed it over to a dear friend who is a mechanical genius. Robert France took Mark's specifications and made modifications to the Cherub in order to get the proper revolutions per minute on the drum. Click on one of the links below to continue in this adventure with us!!

To learn more about Mark Lander, check out the following links.

Chasing Paper
Mark Lander

PAGE 1     All about Critters and receiving the beta model.
PAGE 2     Mark's specifications for The Cherub
PAGE 3     Sunni's Learning Curve

Klamath Falls Flowers
Whidbey & Fidalgo Island Flowers
Email Me: webmistress AT sunnisan DOT com

Copyright 1998-2008 Colleen D. Bergeron.
Last revised: November 14 2008