Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Paper Terminology Glossary

When you are shopping for paper for your latest art project did you ever wonder what a Deckle Edge was? Or what 100% Rag actually means? Or whether you should choose Hot Pressed over Cold Pressed? Here is a handy list of artist paper terminology for your reference. Enjoy!

100% Rag: Made entirely of cotton and/or linen rag pulp

Bond Paper: A term for smooth-surfaced text weight paper, coined by a customer of Crane’s Stationers, a banker who asked that his personal stationery be printed on “bond paper”, the stock used for printing bank bonds.

Deckle Edge: The natural terminal edge of a sheet of paper, where the screen on which the sheet is formed is attached to the deckle, or frame. Artificial deckle-edges are produced by a jet of water slicing through still-wet pulp.

High Alpha: Wood-based paper pulp of the highest quality, with strong fibers and no acidity.

Hot-pressed, Cold-pressed, Plate and Rough: All manufactured artist’s papers are pressed in some fashion, between rollers that squeeze out water and impart a specific texture. Hot-pressed paper is smooth and relatively free from surface detail; cold-pressed paper has more pronounced tooth. Plate finish papers and boards are smooth like hot-pressed, deriving their name from the metal plates each sheet was originally sandwiched between before passing through a press. Rough paper has the most aggressive surface, like earlier papers whose bumpy textures resulted from shrinkage during air-drying.

Inclusion: Any material added to paper pulp for visual or textural effect that remains distinct from the paper fibers. Leaves, flowers, cloth scraps and coffee husks are only a few examples from among thousands of possibilities.

Internally and Externally Sized: Internally sized paper is completely impregnated with sizing during the manufacturing process; paper that is externally sized has had starch or glue applied after the sheet has been created.

Kozo: A Japanese term for mulberry-derived fiber

Laid: A surface revealing the texture of the screen on which the sheet was formed, or a simulation of the traditional texture produced by a die on the dandy roll

Lignin: A protein in wood, undesirable in finished paper

pH Neutral vs. Acid Free: The pH scale measures acidity and alkalinity in degrees from 0 to 14, with a value of 7 being “pH neutral”. A paper designated “acid free” will have a pH of 7 or greater; a paper sold as “pH neutral” should have a value between 6.5 and 7.5.

Pulp: Cellulose fibers prepared for papermaking by pounding and bleaching

Ream: 500 sheets, formerly 480 (based on 20 “quires” of 24 sheets)

Sulphite: Wood pulp produced by breaking down fibers in sulphuric acid; there are different grades of Sulphite pulp

Watermark: A design on a sheet of paper revealed by illumination from the back. Originally accomplished by molding or welding a design element or insignia onto the wire screen used to make paper, now more commonly produced by placing dies on the dandy roll

Weight (gsm): A useful measure of weight in paper, based upon grams per square meter. Accurate regardless of original sheet size.

Weight (pounds): A measure of the weight of a full ream of paper; the implied weight of a single sheet from a ream, dependent upon one’s knowledge of the full, unconverted sheet size.

Wove: A smooth, featureless surface with subtle tooth; from the “woven” type mold, as opposed to the “ribbed” type.

*Utrecht Learning Center

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