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Re: [BKARTS] Hemp Cord

Ah, now....  'hempen' fiber does not, in and off itself, make an
'extremely coarse and somewhat rigid' paper. I've made paper from
Russian and Chinese hemp and would be hard put to distinguish those
sheets from those I've made from linen, except for the Russian hemp
which did contain a fair amount of shive.

Papermakers (European-style) have been using rags of all sorts to
make paper since at least the 12th century.

Not counting sails and ropes, most rags come from clothing.  Linen
tended to be worn by the middle class and better; hemp clothing
served for the masses.  There are more people in the masses, therefore
more hempen rags than linen served for papermakers.

For the past 70 years, or so, hemp has been a proscribed material in
the US, and many people have come to associate the fiber with the drug.

Many otherwise respectable paper scientists and researchers claim that
there is no good spot test (stain) for distinguishing hemp fiber from
flax, but they are mistaken.

There is a stain, but it is expensive.  Derived from the skins of Bing

For anyone interested, I've reprinted two relevant texts ($4.95 ea.
+ $1.50 P&H):

_The Retting of Flax & Hemp_ by Paul W. Allen, and _Hemp Culture_
by Chas. Richard Dodge (Special Agent in Charge of Fiber Investigations,
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, orig. published in 1895.)


>As for the Declaration of Independence, though I haven't read a fiber
>analysis, I suspect it wasn't completely made of a 'hempen' fiber.  Such
>paper would have been extremely coarse and somewhat rigid.  During the
>1700's paper furnish came from recycled materials- ropes, sails, sailor
>uniforms have all been implicated- rather than raw material, generally.
>My guess is that small fibers from ropes found their way into the pulp
>vat largely composed of linen and/or cotton, and now we have a legend
>that the Founding Fathers printed on hemp.
>Doug Sanders

Thompson Conservation Lab.
7549 N. Fenwick
Portland, Oregon  97217

503/735-3942  (ph/fax)


"The lyfe so short; the craft so long to lerne."
Chaucer  _Parlement of Foules_ 1386

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