What is deckle edge rag paper ?
100% cotton papers are made using cotton linters, the fluffy fibres that are left on the cotton plant after the longer staple fibres have been removed for the production of textiles. This makes the paper particularly robust and resistant to repeated reworking of paint on the surface.
The rag is fed by hand into the Hollander beater which, diluted with water, breaks down the weave of the textile. This process makes the fibres more flexible, increasing their surface area, and ultimately increasing the internal strength of the paper.
Forming the Paper
A deckle edge is a rough edge found on many handmade and cylinder mould-made papers. It is formed when some of the wet pulp goes beyond the frame of the mould (the deckle), forming an irregular thin edge. Handmade papers have four true deckle edges because the sheets are individually formed. Cylinder mould made papers have two true deckle edges – the edges that are cut from the roll are often torn to mimic a true deckle edge. Each sheet is formed by dipping the mould and deckle into a vat of the paper stock.
The sheet, while still in the mould and deckle, is lifted onto a vacuum bed which removes some of the excess water. The sheets are then couched between wet woollen felts and pressed to remove more water. After couching and pressing, the sheets still contain around 50% water and they are hung to dry before they are sized.
Paper is a naturally highly absorbent material, and the addition of a sizing agent makes the paper partially water-resistant. External sizing increases the surface strength of the paper.
After tub sizing, the paper is pressed again before drying to air dry.
Rag paper deckle edge has a uniquely random surface texture which is rougher than most cold-pressed papers.
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