## Wet Folding - cutting to square?

General discussion about Origami, Papers, Diagramming, ...

## When wet folding, when do you usually cut the paper to size/shape?

before getting it wet
4
17%
after getting it wet
2
9%
it strongly depends on the model/humidity/paper/other factor(s)
5
22%
I don't think about it, I just grab a square, wet the paper, and go.
1
4%
none of the above (please explain)
0
Sorry, I don't wet fold.
11
48%

### Wet Folding - cutting to square?

Disclaimer: I know that there is an older topic entitled "Wet folding?" so I am at risk for being smacked down for starting a similar, but different, thread. However, I wanted to create a poll and I did not see an option to add a poll when replying to an existing thread.

Now that I have a local source for Wyndstone Marble paper, I have started doing more wet folding than I have in the past. I have also done a fair bit of reading on the subject.

I am curious how other you deal with the expansion of the paper when it is wet.

I know that Michael G. LaFosse, in his book <u>Advanced Origami: An Artist's Guide to Performances in Paper</u>, recommends cutting the dry paper to square and then carefully locating the creases instead of just using the landmarks. His logic is that the paper will return to its original shape once it is dry. This makes some sense given his organic approach to design and his focus on presentation.

I also know that Robert J. Lang advocates cutting the paper to square after it is wet and has expanded. His logic is that this makes the reference points more accurate because the paper is closer to square while it is being folded. This makes sense given his mathmatical approach to design which often depends on strange and carefully calculated reference points.
http://langorigami.com/info/paper/wetfolding_papers.php4

I can see some of the advantages to both. I usually cut to square after the paper is wet because that generally makes things easier for me. The biggest problem I have is when I fold something that is oriented along the diagonal of the square, because that means that any shifting or warping the paper will do as it dries out will not be symmetrical across the body of the model, which can produce some odd results.

So, I was just curious what methods are popular here. It would also be nice if you could comment on why you prefer the method(s) you prefer.

malachi
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I don't agree with LaFosse's argument - in general, the paper will not return to its original shape after drying. Any kind of folding will produce tension along certain directions of the paper, and this uneven tension will cause the paper to shrink to different degrees when drying. Also, unless you know exactly how the wet paper has expanded, it will be hard to figure out where exactly the crease must be placed, to match a similar model folded dry.

One main consideration is the complexity of the model and how long it takes for you to fold it. If the model consists of few precision creases and can be finished before the paper dries out too much, then either way would be fine. For complex models involving precision, I use a dry-wet technique: first, fold everything dry until you've gotten the basic structure in place. Then, selectively wet parts of the model to do details and shaping. Naturally, this means that often you'll not be able to follow the diagrams sequentially, but you will need to sort out which are the base folds and which are the shaping folds. The model will also often take a while longer to fold, as you will have to wait for one part to dry off completely before starting on the next. This is where a microwave oven comes in handy (this dries off the water evenly, unlike a hair dryer).

wolf
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Is it really safe to microwave paper coated in methyl-cellulose?

origamimasterjared
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Yep. Note that I didn't say I'm using the one in the kitchen...

wolf
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wolf wrote:Yep. Note that I didn't say I'm using the one in the kitchen...

Do you have a microwave oven just for origami ?
esato
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All right. I'd rather not be responsible for the death of a microwave or other people in my dorm who use it...

origamimasterjared
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I wish I were that rich. No, it's one that's used for general lab work.

The amount of MC used in wetfolding is fairly small so there's no danger of poisoning yourself (check the MSDS). The bigger hazard is overdrying the paper - it will burn and smoulder at particular spots, so the best way is to heat it for short periods of time (15s) at low/medium power until it's just dry.

wolf
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Also, modern microwaves have good no-load protection, so it's pretty hard to damage it. You can always throw a small carrot inside with your model if you want to be on the safe side.

Rubber bands can be used to hold the model in place while it's drying this way (clothespegs have metal springs, so it shouldn't be put in microwave ovens).

wolf
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wolf wrote:I wish I were that rich. No, it's one that's used for general lab work.

Are you a chemist ?
esato
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Last night I wet folded two identical sections of a t-rex skeleton. One I cut after it was wet, one before. I'm not really happy with either of them, they both have warping.

The one that was cut when it was dry ended up being kind of skewed in the final product, due to the reference point issues. I'm not sure I folded it in the best possible way for that reason. But, it did stay in shape a little bit better.

The one that I cut to square after it was wet developed a noticable twist (the model is arranged arround the diagonal), but think I can compensate for that, although it does mean I have to pay more attention to how I deal with the paper.

For now, I think I'm going to stick with the cut-after-wet plan.

malachi
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esato wrote:Are you a chemist ?

No, just a physicist, but these days there's really no more distinction between the different branches of science and engineering; you'll need to be able to do everything from machining to wet bench work to electronics prototyping, often all in one day too.

malachi wrote:I'm not really happy with either of them, they both have warping.

I had the same experience with Yoshino Issei's T-rex , which I wetfolded from heavy Strathmore sketch paper. The long tail bones twisted significantly after drying, so I had this T-rex with a tail that looked like a corkscrew spiral.

Are you securing the model in place while it dries? Unconstrained models tend to warp as they are drying. I use a third-hand tool but with the alligator clips replaced with soft wood clothespegs (obviously, this isn't microwave safe. )

wolf
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wolf wrote:... The long tail bones twisted significantly after drying, so I had this T-rex with a tail that looked like a corkscrew spiral.

Are you securing the model in place while it dries? Unconstrained models tend to warp as they are drying. I use a third-hand tool but with the alligator clips replaced with soft wood clothespegs (obviously, this isn't microwave safe. :D)

The two tailbones that I folded aren't horribly twisted. I didn't use any implements to hold them in shape, but I did do a little "correcting" before they were totally dry on the inside to counteract some of the warping.

I'm using 9 inch Wyndstone Marble paper.

I sometimes use tools to hold wet folded models while they dry. I don't use the microwave method, so my favorite tools are usually twist ties and floral wire. That seems to work fairly well. The biggest danger is leaving a mark on the final product.

malachi
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Velcro is a good alternative to wires. These come in strips, it's easy to get them in whatever position you want, and they're quite broad so they don't leave marks on the model.

wolf
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### Microwaves and MC

seriously, you guys. methyl cellulose is in a zillion things you use, put on you, and eat every day. it's not like microwaving it is going to make some horrific thing happen, unless you have the same fears about microwaving bread, or potatoes, or any sort of plant material...

almost all vitamin pills (and lots of medications) use MC as the binder/filler to them, so you have most likely eaten a whole lot of it without knowing.

It's not some sort of magic material, it's just a long chain polymer made up from modified cellulose.

the real trick is finding MC with the right molecular length, so it's short enough to go into the paper and mesh well- if it's too long, it just piles up on top of the paper like spaghetti and will flake off when it dries.

-Eric
EricGjerde
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### Re: Microwaves and MC

EricGjerde wrote:it's not like microwaving it is going to make some horrific thing happen

Ever seen your model catch fire in the microwave after 3+ hours of shaping and detailing? Last I checked, carbonised soot isn't exactly what you want in your food. The smell takes forever to get rid of too.

wolf
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