Tuesday, 18 November 2014

What is ...Laid Paper?

What is ...Number 11
Regular followers of this blog will know that in the middle of the month, I publish a "What is ....? post. The article covers various aspects of paper, printing and finishing in greater depth. However, many of these subjects are complex, so these posts are only intended to be a brief introduction to the topic.

What is ...Laid Paper?
Modern day laid paper is a simulated effect to re-create something that was charcteristic in handmade papers. When paper was made by hand, a frame with a wire mesh was used. The crude wire mesh formed a pattern in the paper and it is this pattern which is now synonymous with the term 'laid paper' today. It was quite often combined with the papermakers mark, which has translated today into what we understand as a watermark.
Today, what is considered as a 'traditional' laid pattern consists of a series of wide-spaced lines (commonly 25mm apart) which are called "Chain Lines" and more narrowly spaced lines which are at 90 degrees to the chain lines, which are called "Laid Lines"
Typical machine made Laid paper pattern.
The laid pattern is created during the early stages of paper manufacture using a "Dandy Roll", This skeletal roll made from copper wire with a laid mesh pattern, skims the top side of the paper on the machine at the point that the paper is still very wet. The pattern is pressed on the surface whilst also displacing the fibres causing areas of higher and lower density, this has the result that the pattern is apparent both on the surface and on looking through the sheet. The picture above shows the Dandy Roll on the paper machine and the picture below shows a close up of the mesh type nature of the skeletal Dandy Roll.
There are many types of Laid papers which can made. The Chain lines can be closer together or further apart or only chain lines, as in what is often called "broad laid", pictured below.
...and here are two types of what are often described as "Antique Laid" or "Rustic Laid"
It's worth pointing out that machine made Laid papers are made to a specific orientation, which is dictated by the direction of the machine. The chain lines run parallel to the machine direction and the laid lines run horizontally across the width of the machine.

In recent decades, Laid papers have been used as 'prestigious' stationery although arguably the look is now seen as a bit cliched. It is rarely, but occassionally, used as text and cover papers but often used as end papers.
Posted by Justin Hobson 18.11.2014

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