Rolling Blotter

When writing with a nib and wet ink, one could either wait for the ink to dry before folding the sheet or putting other sheets on top, or one could use blotting paper to absorb the excess ink. (The blotting paper might finish up with a copy of the text, in reverse of course, and this formed the basis of a clue in many detective stores). The rolling blotter held a piece of blotting paper in a curve, such that it could be rolled down onto the wet writing.


This is based on a picture found on the Internet, offering a blotter for sale. In the original, the body is mahogany and the top is silver(-plate), embossed with, if I remember correctly, bas-relief portraits of Goethe. It is 2.25" wide, 5.5" long, and the wooden roller is 1.5" deep.

From the left:

  • The brushed nickel knob is a spare from a kitchen cabinet project.

  • The "silver" top plate is a piece of 3mm plywood, bored so that two loonies (one-dollar coins) and two nickels (5 cent pieces) could be recessed into the surface. They were all covered with a piece of aluminum foil, dull side out, glued and pressed down so that the portraits on the coins show up.

  • The rolling base is three scrap pieces of 1" x 2" pine cut roughly to the correct curve, glued together and sanded to the final shape. The middle piece is counterbored so that the screw that came with the kitchen knob would be long enough.

  • The "blotting paper" is part of a pink separator sheet.