Paper ~ Butcher ~ Chip ~ Newsprint ~ Scrap ~ Waste

Scrap is a popular name for these papers, but in its initial state it is far too useful to be called scrap. It probably has other names not listed above. It is the type of paper used by the high speed presses ~ strong ~ quite thin ~ clean ~ smooth surface ~ mass produced, hence fairly cheap ~ not readily available over the counter anywhere. It is not waste until it is used and thrown away. Not many people buy loose meat, cut and wrapped by hand on the counter (think plastic trays covered in cling film in the supermarket). Fish and chip shops use it six layers at a time - it serves as an insulator, if not as greaseproof paper. We have settled on chip paper, partly because it is quickly made and although it does not have chips of wood in it is far from being wood-free. Newsprint would be good to use as the title, but no bookbinder will let printed newspaper into his workshop.

It is used by bookbinders and other craftspeople as a protecting sheet. It usually protects the workbench, or most importantly, work in progress, from excess paste of glue.

Unlike most other papers it is sold by the weight of a bulk package, usually five or ten kilos. (This is a useful place to mention that carriage can be quite expensive.) Newsprint usually has a "weight" of around 45gsm. Nowadays it is both strong and well finished, with a suitable surface. Both these properties are necessary for high speed and high precision printing presses. In earlier times "hot metal type" was pressed into the surface. Nowadays the ink is laid onto the sheet and must just meet it with exactly the right pressure to be transferred from printing plate to page. The contact hsa to be microscopically controlled.

We have started using the word newsprint. Newspapers are printed by feeding huge rolls of paper into the printing press. It is their waste that provides us with newsprint. Shortly before one roll ends a new one is pasted onto the end of the old one. This has to be done before the end of the roll is fed into the machine (which is printing 25 newspapers per second). Lots of ends of rolls of paper accumulate. They are sold on, and then chopped into sheets, weighed and bundled up as disposable wrapping in the butchers' shops and chippies everywhere. Waste ends of roll are upcycled into hobbyists mopping-up sheets, before being consigned to the bin.

The newsprint sheets are bulked up in, usually, a size related to the printing press from which they came. At one stage we cut these down to A3 and A4 sizes before selling them. We soon realised that in order to protect an A4 sheet when it is being pasted a bookcrafter needs a larger sheet. A quarter of a newsprint sheet is just the right size. No waste!




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