Book or text weight cotton paper [cross-post]

Hello Briar Press friends,

Can anyone suggest a text- or book-weight cotton paper similar to Hahnemühle Bugra, which is a mould-made 130 gsm laid paper and comes in a creamy white color. I’m looking for something to be dampened and printed with multiple passes using a 10-point rather delicate typeface. I’ve ordered some of the Hahnemühle to experiment with, but I’d prefer cotton. The Somerset Text Laid seems to have been discontinued (why?), and the Zerkall Book Laid is not quite as heavy as I’d like and is not 100% cotton.

Sorry for cross-posting, but I’m thinking that this question will apply to printers in all the forums. I’ve tried the archives, but honestly, the search functions don’t work well for any combination of terms like book, text, weight, paper, cotton, etc. I might add that posters should try to create post titles that include words a person might be searching for. The title “Question,” which I have seen, is not helpful.



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Barbara, have you looked into Folio I have printed with it dry
and damp, it performs james

Rives Lightweight weighs in at 115 gsm, and heavyweight is 175 gsm, so they sort of bracket what you might desire. The heavyweight is somewhat supple, however, and not as stiff as some papers can be, so it might do for you what you wish. I use these papers quite often and they print very well when dampened.

John Henry
Cedar Creek Press

Frankfurt Cream
Somerset Book - Soft White
Zerkall Smooth - Soft White
Zerkall Vellum - Soft White

The argument for partial or all cotton paper is sometimes an argument of whether the paper will last for 300 years or 500 years. I’m not sure that it really matters at that point.



“I’m not sure that it really matters at that point.”

That is too precise! :—)

I read an interview with the French writer Louis-Ferdinand Céline way back when where the interviewer asked about the future of his work. His response: The Chinese won’t give a good god-damn about my three dots [ellipses].


When Mohawk was pedaling hard to sell their letterpress papers back in the 70s and 80s, they offered that their acid-buffered paper was good for 300 years. I have an almost complete run of Fine Print (which was mostly printed on Mohawk paper) in which a number of the issues are foxing and otherwise deteriorating. When wood-pulp papers were first offered in the 1860s & 70s the acid content was so high that the books printed on it are turning to dust on the shelves; the Library of Congress can’t microfilm them fast enough to save the content. If you want a paper that lasts for centuries, use a hand-made paper with high linen content, other than that the life of the paper can be a problem. I figure if I make something that doesn’t immediately go into the trash or recycling I’m doing pretty well.


Ruscombe paper mill in Margaux (France) might have something for you:

Barbara, another fine sheet is Biblio, it’s cotton
and closer to the weight you were after. best james

A few others:

Zerkall Book Laid 120gsm
Revere Book 120gsm, 175gsm
Magnani Vergata Handmade Laid 130gsm
Magnani Vergata Machinemade Laid 130gsm


A year ago I contacted Legion and asked them to send me samples of “all 100% cotton book weight mould made papers”. Digging through that sampler I see:

— Arches Text in both Laid and Wove at 120 gsm in a cream and bright white

— Johanot in 125 gsm white (75% cotton, 25% esparto grass)

— Rives BFK in 115 and 175 gsm in buff or white

— Firenze 130gsm in a variety of colors, all Laid (note: the laid pattern is quite heavy in this paper)

— Zerkall Frankfurt 120gsm Laid in Cream or White (note: this is an alpha cellulose and cotton blend)

— Somerset Book in 115 or 175 gsm in white, soft white, or radiant white

— Roma Raffaelo 130gsm laid in a buff and tan (looks like they don’t carry this one any more, but I think it is available from Talas) They also have a Roma 130gsm white, with a rougher finish, but still laid.

— Zerkall Book in Laid and Vellum (note: this is an alpha cellulose and cotton blend) in 100 and 145gsm weights and in white, cream, and soft white.

Of these, probably the closest to the Hahnemühle is the Firenze.

On a related vendor site, Talas has one called Velata that looks promising in book weights.



Thanks, everyone, for your thoughts. I have combined your suggestions with those from the Letpress and PPLetterpress groups in tabular form. I filled in as much information as I could find, referring to the websites for Atlantic Papers, Daniel Smith, Graphic Chemical, Legion Papers, New York Central, and Talas, as well as the paper manufacturers’ sites. Please let me know if you happen to notice any wrong information. (By the way, Daniel Smith has a particularly nice comparative paper chart.) Also, if you’d like the table as a Word document, just send me a message.

So far I’ve only been able to test the Hahnemühle Bugra. The jury’s out on its suitability; my eyeballs hurt from comparing the print quality on all the combinations of dry and damp with various packing. I’m expecting samples of most of the papers mentioned here.


Edit: James, the only Folio I found was on the Graphic Chemical site, and they list it as 250 gsm. The only Biblio I found was Hahnemühle Biblio on the Talas site, which says it is alpha cellulose.

Thanks for that paper chart Barb!

This is on the periphery of the above discussion. The longevity of modern conservation papers is atheoretical one only. The process of aging used in the labs has often been criticised and at times declared meaningless.
Also be aware that so called “acid free” and “calcium buffered” paper is found to be too delicious to ignore by silverfish. They love the calcium and will remove it, and anything printed over it in only a few weeks.
I once mentioned this to some paper conservators but they decided at the time it was too hot to look into since these papers had long been promoted as “archival” by the profession.
I have always found Bugra to be a very good paper for all things to do with books - Can’t vouch for the merrits of damp over dry with this paper, but I am about to place an order for Bugra for my next book printing project.

I’ve never printed a book but I’ve used Italian Magnani paper for many years for printing woodcuts, stone litho and screenprinting. It is 100% cotton, acid free and comes in a variety of weights/colours/textures etc. They also have a cotton/alpha blend of paper available.
I live in the extreme tropics of Northern Australia where heat and humidity are sometimes ridiculous……like right now !
If a paper is going to fox it will do so very quickly over here. I have noticed that the softer pulpy papers, which absorb moisture from the environmement, are the first to suffer foxing while buffered and/or hot pressed papers survive a great deal longer.


If you’re going to consider handmade papers, you should certainly consider Twinrocker. They’ll send you a sampler of all their colors, weights, and surfaces for a few bucks.


Barbara, I stand corrected I misread the specs. oops.