Smooth cotton paper for fine detail?

I have a vintage electrotype with very fine detail (see photo). I’m looking for a cream or ivory cotton paper in the 90lb range with a very smooth finish that prints well dry. I’m considering Crane’s Crest (Smooth), which I’ve used before but not for something with detail this fine. Any other suggestions? (I don’t want Lettra.)



image: Moss.jpg


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I like Rising Stonehenge a lot. It prints well dry and looks great. 250gsm. I use the warm white color a lot for poetry broadsides.


I’d second Arie on that.


Another nice stock might be Mohawk Superfine, though it doesn’t meet your cotton pulp criteria.

I’m loath to suggest this, as it may no longer exist, but 32# ledger would fit the bill quite nicely and was available in cotton. This is the paper which counties and municipalities keep/kept records of properties and which holds up for decades and has a great surface for fine detail and ruling.

The last cotton ledger sheet I saw available was from Weston. It had a massive watermark, needed to be slipsheeted to avoid set-off. Beautiful sheet in the swatchbook, poor choice for actual printing (maybe best for pen-ruling!)

printmaking suppliers will advise as to say Somerset or Zerkall type papers which I seem to remember come in a wide variety of weights and I like the surfaces

Magnani Pescia 205056/H
100% Cotton, hot pressed.

Magnani also makes a wonderful paper called Velata- there’s a smooth and a rougher side to the paper, you could use the smooth side.

Also, Legion provides an excellent lighter weight paper called Coventry Rag that is relatively smooth. I use it all the time for screenprint and it takes letterpress very well too for soft to kiss impression.

Thanks, everyone, for these great suggestions. I actually have samples of Somerset Book 175 gsm, Zerkall Book 145 gsm, Velata Mouldmade 140 gsm, and Coventry Rag Vellum 235 gsm — all from Legion and all lovely papers. The Pescia is a little heavy for what I want, though I have some things that others have printed on it and it does seem to hold detail well. (Haven, I looked at the Velata in raking light, and boy do you have a good eye. Often the difference between the two sides of a paper is very distinct, but with the Velata it’s subtle.)

I think I’ve decided to try the Rising Stonehenge since I’ve heard so much about it but never used it. Also, since I’ve decided to make use of the deckle edges, I’ll end up with a lot of waste so the price is attractive. EDIT: Can someone tell me whether the deckle is on the short or the long side?

I just hope I live long enough to try them all!


The deckle is on the long (30 inch) side. Straight side is 22 inch.

it probably doesn’t matter considering the size you are printing but check the grain direction of these various papers too?

Thanks, Arie and Jonathan. To get the deckle where I want it, I will be fighting the grain on the Vandercook. So I plan to cut the sheets longer for printing, then trim. This, however, puts my form at the far end of a long, narrow sheet (4.5”×11”), which invites additional problems. Perhaps I should cut double-width sheets, then print two-up and cut them in half. I’ll have to experiment. In any case, I guess I should order plenty of extra paper. :-)