A couple of customers have asked me about ‘LAID PAPER’.  I sometimes offer it in my custom journals, and the name intrigues. The answer is a matter of history, and of traditional skill.
Before the machine age took over, paper was made by hand, sheet by sheet, using nothing but water, and ground bark, grasses, linen or cotton rags. In the resurgence of skill appreciation and traditional craft revival, many artists and specialist paper makers once again soak, pulp and sieve by hand.

The first type of sieve/screen/mould was a frame with many wires in parallel strung across the width… think bamboo screen … As paper fibres dried, these wires would leave an imprint in the paper. Even if the paper is pressed flat, against the light, you can still see the LAID impressions. Paper made this way is, even now, called ‘LAID PAPER.

Even today, with large drums that rotate and drag the fibres out in continuous lengths, the laid style can be achieved depending on the drum sieve construction. Many writers love it because you can write straight along the laid lines without additional drawn or printed lines on the paper, since the close lines run ACROSS the grain of the paper (handy to know if you are trying to bind with it). The vertical wider spaced lines that run with the grain are the ‘chain’ wires that hold the screen together

In the early 18th century, a more sophisticated ‘woven’ wire mesh was developed, with the resulting paper more fine in it’s texture, and without the ‘laid’ lines…think flyscreen..  Paper made this way is called WOVE PAPER.

So next time you look at the paper in your hand bound treasure.  Think, is it LAID, or WOVE?

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