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Re: Paper Grain (Determining)

In general for paper and board, gently flexing an EQUAL amount of material
will allow you to feel the grain, i.e. the direction it flexes/folds easier
is parallel to the grain. It has to be an equal amount though, because if
it isn't the length/width of whatever it is you're flexing will make a

For paper you can also take it between your fingernails and pull them along
the edge. Cleaner ripples indicate the paper stretching parallel to the grain.

Cloth will stretch parallel to the grain. Just take an inch or so of edge
between your fingers and pull, don't tear. You'll see.

Dampening will work for paper and cloth, but isn't terribly useful for scraps.

What I do with all board scraps and some paper scraps is put pencil marks
(lightly on paper), just a few parallel lines indicating which way the
grain runs. This works great if you're by yourself or have others around
who think like you. If not, refer to the tricks above.


>Most of us know by now that the grain of all materials used in binding a
>book must be parallel to the spine. But how can you tell the grain of the
>boards, the paper, and the bookcloth when it isn't obvious?

Philobiblon: Book Arts, Different By Design
Hand Binding, Conservation, and Project Websites
Peter D. Verheyen
<Fax: 612.632.3718>

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