February 2006, V5#2: Define Thursday, Jan 29 2009 

Recycled Paper: Paper that is half (50%) either pre-consumer or post-consumer waste.

Brittle paper (in rebinding): Paper that breaks when folded or crumpled. We don’t recommend regular rebinding this type of paper – we suggest visiting a conservator instead.


January 2006, V5#1: Production Thursday, Jan 29 2009 

Basic Paper Primer

Paper  weight is based on the basic size of a given paper as determined by a given mill.  For this reason, many weight notations one finds has at least 2 separate numbers.  This does not necessarily mean the weight fluctuates between the two.  Generally with printers and suppliers is not a range, but a definition from more than one source and may include more than one grade of paper (bond, text, etc.).  A 50/60# paper is ordered as 50# and as 60#.  However, when put through standardized testing, it is found that each sheet carries the same weight. All specifics supplied If in doubt, check with the business presenting the number information for formal explanation.  Gregath paper suppliers do recognize the standard variation in basis weight of + or – 5% as acceptable by industry standards.

Paper brightness affects the legibility and contrast of printing.  The brightness test measures the reluctance of paper under strict optimal conditions and related it to a white standard (Magnesium Oxide).  The test is mainly applicable to white paper grades.  Basic offset grades are usually in the 80% brightness range.  Aesthetic importance may also be given to the brighter papers.  However, if archival quality is a focus, one must be certain that it is not traded for the brightness.  White papers with 90+ brightness sometimes actually have a blue or colored cast due to additives. 

January 2006, V5#1: Design Thursday, Jan 29 2009 

Pep up your end papers: Lower cost alternative to custom printed end sheets:

  • Free form one of a kind end papers – freehand design or made with an inked rubber stamp

  • Photo (or other item) plates

November 2005, V4#11: Define Thursday, Jan 29 2009 

Point: Unit of thickness, one thousandth of an inch (0.001″).

Ream: 500 sheets of paper, regardless of size, weight, or grade.  However, many refer to wrapped paper groups as a ream, such 250 index stock, 100 specialty paper, etc.

October 2005, V4#10: Define Thursday, Jan 29 2009 

Paper Opacity: property which minimized to “show through” of printing from the book side of the next sheet.

Uncoated: Paper with no surface treatment; the printing surface is the stock itself.

Absorbent Paper (see Paper): Covering a variety of papers made for absorbing water and inks (degrees vary).  Examples: duplicating, filter, blotting and toweling papers.

September 2005, V4#9: Production Thursday, Jan 29 2009 

A Little About Archival Quality

Internal Factors

The Gregath Publishing Company has a standard paper basis that all quotations and projects are based on unless the customer requests something different.  Our standard fine text paper is a 20/50#, uncoated, white, acid free paper.  This paper meets American National Standards Institute specifications for “Permanence of Paper”.  The paper is manufactured with chemical pulp under alkaline conditions.  Being of a very high benchmark (various ANSI and National Information Standards Organization standards), this paper meets these four basic requirements:

  • pH of 7.5-10 (balanced to archival)

  • A tear resistance of md index>5.25mNm2/6g which corresponds to a minimum of 40 gf.

  • Alkaline reserve: minimum of 2% calcium carbonate equivalent (buffered)

  • Less than 1% lignin (acidic)

This paper also earns “high” to “maximum” life expectancy for “Copies for Office Copying Machines” as established by ASTM International (formerly American Society for Testing and Materials).  This typically applies to xerocopy and digital grades.  While we have yet to find a published expected life span for permanent papers, ASTM suggests in their specification that paper meeting the high classification of this standard may be “usable” for 100 to 1,000 years.  Please note that the ASTM suggestion of usable means it can still be reproduced upon.  A reader can enjoy books printed on paper that is way past this “usable” stage of it’s life.

September 2005, V4#9: Define Thursday, Jan 29 2009 

Brightness: The brilliance or light-reflection characteristic of paper (not necessarily related to its color or whiteness).

Dimensional Stability: The degree to which paper retains its dimensions during applied stress or changes in moisture content.

Coated Paper: Paper is traditionally coated on two sides and is broadly used for all types of printing, included multicolor work.  Lately, paper coated only on one side has become available and widely used as an economical measure.

August 2005, V4#8: Define Thursday, Jan 29 2009 

Bleed: A printed image that extends beyond the trim edge of a sheet of paper.

July 2005, V4#7: Production Thursday, Jan 29 2009 

Paper opacity is the lack of transparency that allows a sheet to conceal print on the opposite side.  weight, brightness, type of fiber and filler in testing can all greatly influence opacity.  Reflectance of paper is measured when backed successfully by a white body and a black body.  The ratio of these two measurements determines the opacity reading.  Typical opacity of 50# white offset is 88-90; 20# business paper is 84-88.  A quick and very basic “home” test is to print something large and black (black and white clip art and or various sized of bolded text) on a sheet of paper, place a blank sheet of the paper to be tested over this printed sheet.  Any print that happens to show through, will show a bit more if actually printed on the currently black paper.  For book printing, take your darkest page and try this test.  Many manuscript designers will change their manuscript elements to decrease the opacity needed for a nice book rather than pay the difference for higher opacity.

July 2005, V4#7: Define Thursday, Jan 29 2009 

*Backbone: Center edge of a book perpendicular to and between its covers.

*Backing up: Printing a sheet after one side has already been printed.

* = general jargon that it not standard lingo at The Gregath Publishing Company

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