There is a lot of nonsense believed about paper, so let's begin by clarifying a few things:
- Making paper has nothing to do with rain forests - it's the wrong sort of wood
- You do not "save trees" by not printing your emails - forestry companies typically plant THREE trees for everyone they cut down
- There is no legal definition for "recycled paper"
- 100% recycled paper would be unusable; the fibres would be too short to make paper with adequate strength
There's little doubt that once you start looking at paper, it will never look the same again.
Most people know gloss and matt finished paper; they know that one is easier to write on than the other. Gloss paper has a layer of crushed marble on it that fills in all the irregularities, and then is finsihed with a coating. The marble is the reason that copies of Vogue and The New Yorker weigh much more than matt-finsihed magazines.
Matt papers have two finishes: laid and wove.
Wove papers are more common. They have no surface texture and are like photocopy paper, ordinary notebook papers, and most stationery. Laid paper has laid lines, small ridges that run parallel to the bottom of the paper. It's found on finer stationeries, and enhances the look and feel of quality, and shows off wet ink well. Unfortunately, it does not print well on desktop inkjet printers. It performs better on laser printers, but is really made for fountain pens.
If you hold a laid sheet up to the light, you will also see vertical lines that look like watermarks. Many people think these are the laid lines, but they are "chain lines". Sometimes when buying laid paper online, you'll find the orientation of the laid lines is wrong because the description was really talking about the chain lines.
- In 18th century England, a law was passed saying that funeral shrouds had to be made of wool, not cotton. The cotton was needed for paper production.
- Around the time of the American Civil War, paper production shifedf from cotton to wood pulp.
- Paper can be made from all sorts of materials, cotton, linen, bagasse (sugar cane waste), African savanna grass, and even elephant dung
- Crane & Co. made a paper called "Old Money" from a high percentage of old US dollar bills. Another company even made a cotton paper from the cut-offs of Wranger blue jeans, called Indigo.
- Making paper at home is a fun project, and many people make greetings cards using their home-made paper.