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Re: ?? Paper grain

>Alright, these answers are helping all the experts out there on this list.
>But I am not quite following this "grain" thing.  I make handmade paper with
>kids and adults.  The emphasis is bringing papermaking to the masses--making
>it easy, do-able and environmental (saving junk mail, flyers, dryer lint,
>etc.)  Am I missing something?  I don't notice any direction with the
grain on
>these handmade papers.  Are you all talking about machine made paper?  Or
>maybe paper made with longer plant fibers that are beaten instead of chopped
>in a blender?
>The paper we make in my classes is sturdy enough, but not all that strong.
>However, I wouldn't call it junk paper because we use only good quality paper
>to start with.
Lee, I'm so glad for your contribution to this very important and
misunderstood subject.  No, I don't think you need to be concerned about
grain in the kind of handmade paper you and your students make. In all
probability, made by the method you use, there is no definite grain
direction; the paper may be used vertically or horizontally.

When the fibers of which the pulp is composed line themselves up in a
single direction, the fiber-orientation is called "with the grain."
Crosswise to this direction is referred to as "across the grain."

Grain becomes important in bookbinding because every piece of material used
in making the book must have its grain running in the direction of the
height of the book. Paper begins to stretch as soon as the paste hits it,
stretching more crossgrain than with the grain; it folds more sharply with
the grain; pages turn more easily with the grain.

Grain direction is important even in bindings without adhesives, as Keith
Smith tells us in his NON-ADHESIVE BINDING.  Kojiro Ikegami, author of
JAPANESE BOOKBINDING, points out that with accordion books it is
particularly imporstant to make sure that the grain of the paper runs in a
vertical direction, parallel to the folds.

The fine- (and not-so-fine, myself, for instance) bookbinders and printers
on the List know all of this, but it may be new to those coming into
bookmaking without knowledge of traditional binding methods: desktop
publishers, people binding one-of-a-kind journals to hand down or neat
artists' books.

There is a lot of misinformation out there.  The author of a very popular
book on creative techniques mever once mentions paper grain.  Readers are
told to make signatures for a pamphlet by folding 4 sheets of 8 1/2 x 11
copier paper (grain long) together horizontally, making 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 pages
with the grain running the wrong way.  And they wonder why the pages turn
stiffly and they get wrinkles at the folds.

I once sat in on a bookbinding workshop and heard the instructor tell
students that no handmade or Japanese paper had a grain direction.  I found
out how wrong he was when I used some handmade Suminagashi for endpapers
the wrong way.

What can be done about it?  Ideas, anyone?

Betty Storz
Vive Hand Bookbinding!

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