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Re: [BKARTS] Looking for Mohawk Superfine Alternative


You are correct that Mohawk Superfine was not made for inkjet printing. And, no I am not using the Superfine Digital paper or Superfine Indigo. Just the standard Superfine that commercial printers use.

In fact, I have found the Superfine to produce very nice inkjet prints that are quite close in quality to printing on Epson consumer level inkjet papers. The key here is which printer is used to print on the Superfine, or other uncoated paper. You are a fine photographer and I'm guessing that you print using an Epson printer with UltraChrome inks and you would be correct in stating that your prints on Mohawk were not acceptable. UltraChrome inks generally look terrible on anything but true ceramic-coated inkjet paper.

However, the Epson C80 line of printers use DuraBrite inks that are specifically formulated for printing on uncoated papers. These inks are encapsulated to prevent soaking into the paper surface and tend to produce terrific results on uncoated, commercial printing papers. The beauty of the DuraBrite inks is that one can avoid the $.50 to $1.00 per page for ink jet paper. I order my Mohawk Superfine directly from a printing paper merchant and pay about $.10 per page. My C80 inks cost about $.25 per page to print. When creating artist books with 60-100 pages printed on two sides the cost of true inkjet papers can be prohibitive.

Further, in my opinion that ceramic coating on most inkjet papers really just does not function well inside a book. The pages are too fragile and the ceramic coating is sort of powdery and just does not allow the pages to move well.

Sorry if this sounds like a bit of a rant here. But I felt the need to defend the use of Mohawk in inkjet printing. A lot of my friends are professional photographers (as am I) and I am constantly trying to counter the snobbery they seem to have toward anything printed on less than a $1,200 printer with $1.00 paper and then $1.50 per page ink costs. There are places where this investment is necessary and the results are unmistakably superior.

But there are also times when it is okay to step down to a different level of expectations. My customers buy my books because they are beautifully produced and they frankly don't care how much I spent on the materials. They care how the book looks and how it functions, and more importantly they care how the concept of the book connects with them on a personal level. I prefer to keep my costs as low as possible to keep my books accessible to more buyers. Not everyone can afford to buy a book that has to cost $600 because of high materials costs.

Many book artists these days are using the Epson C80 line of printers and uncoated papers and I'd love to hear more input on this from anyone out there. So, how about it gang? What have your experiences been on the C80 line? Are you using inkjet papers or uncoated papers? How are the results? Are you encountering any negative feedback about your quality?

Personally, I have only one complaint, as mentioned in my previous email and that is the curling problem on the Superfine paper. With testing, I?m confident that I can solve this problem. And, by the way, thank you to everyone who has responded to my initial query. I?ve ordered samples of all your suggestions and I?ll post the results.


Kevin Thomas


Date:    Tue, 24 Jan 2006 07:33:42 -0500
From:    dennis/marsico <marsico@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Re: Looking for Mohawk Superfine Alternative

Mohawk Superfine is a wonderful paper for letterpress but was not made for
inkjet printing. It sounds like you have been using the Superfine Digital
or Superfine Indigo for your ink jet printing, both were coated papers
designed for use in the HP Indigo Digital Press (a commercial laser
printer). These papers have been replaced with Superfine I-tone, a paper
that has the "sizing" in the paper rather than a coating. However none of
the Mohawk Superfine papers were designed for inkjet printing. I did a test
of Mohawk papers (they are considerably cheaper) and found the color gamut

On 1/23/06 8:18 PM, "Kevin Thomas" <ktbooks77@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> As has been recommended on this list I have been printing with an Epson C80
> printer and absolutely love the quaility of prints that I get for my books.
> However, lately the Mohawk Superfine paper that I have been using has been
> curling a lot for some reason. I've heard that Mohawk changed this paper
> recently and this curling problem seems to be one fo the results of that
> change.
> Can anybody recommend another uncoated commercial printing paper that they
> use in the Epson C80 (or C86 or whatever) that produces as nice results
> without the curl?
> I really like the Mohawk because it is so much cheaper to use and gives me
> almost matching results to Epson matte inkjet papers. The Mohawk also works
> so much better in books than ink jet papers. That powdery, ceramic feeling
> of most ink jet papers is annoying.
> Any ideas of different papers to avoid the curl?
> Thanks,
> Kevin

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