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Acid Free


We're looking to educate ourselves more on the issue of what the term "Acid=
 Free Paper" translates to in real world use books.=20

We've been producing a line of albums for several years now that are made=
 with pages which have been tested to be "PH Neutral".=20

We recently switched to an "Acid-Free" paper, one which tests a bit on the=
 alkyline side. This decision is based solely on the concerns of our buyers,=
 not on the advice of our suppliers.=20

We've been assured by three paper makers here in New England that the PH=
 Neutral paper we were using was just as good - if not better because of the=
 similar PH levels to the photographs that will eventually be put on the pag=

We were advised early on that the Acid-free issue was not *as* important=
 with the way we expect our customers to use our books, IE: Mostly as=
 photograph albums since photographs aren't acid-free to begin with. We were=
 advised that it would be best to use PH Neutral pages, which was what we=
 did. =20

We didn't market our albums as Acid-Free, though we found that if we could=
 use the term "Acid-Free" somewhere in our brochures / point of purchase=
 advertising, we'd make our customers happier. It's a vague term to be sure,=
 and through experience I can tell you it denotes different levels of=
 quality to different customers.

Anyway - I'm rambling on......

What I'm getting to is if we explain to our buyers that our pages are tested=
 to have "X" amount of acidity in them, what does that translate to in terms=
 of longevity? Is there any way of saying with accuracy "Our albums will=
 last "X" years with no harm to photographs placed on their pages.", based=
 on where the paper tests on the acid/alkyline scale?=20

All other steps in binding albums being equal, does the lack of acidity mean=
 a page can be called "Archival"? How about the alkyline content? If the=
 scale tips the other way is it *more* archival?

Any experienced paper makers out there who can shed more light on this=
 issue, I'd love to hear your thoughs.



Jason Thompson
Rag & Bone Bindery

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