Abstract: A papermaking machine is modified by replacing a conventional rotatable couch roll by a stationary couch device that still serves the essential functions of the roll, namely dewatering of the furnish carried by the web and modification of the direction of travel of the web to turn it down towards the main drive roll. This stationary device is made of an abrasion resistant ceramic material and has a member with a convexly curved upper surface on which the web slides. Water is sucked from the furnish by a vacuum applied through perforations in the member. The majority of these perforations preferably take the form of slots that extend obliquely to both the transverse extent of the machine and the direction of web travel. The arrangement permits easier and more effective maintenance of the vacuum than with a couch roll and more efficient dewatering, with no rewetting of the web or furnish when leaving the couch device.