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Paper Finishes

The finish refers to the surface characteristics of the paper such as how the paper feels...is it smooth such as glossy cover or rough with an antique finish? Does the paper have a glossy appearance such as coated glossy papers or is it dull like bond paper. Does the paper enhance the look of the printed piece similar to watermarked paper or is it purely functional like newsprint?

Finishes can be applied to paper during the manufacturing process or produced offline. A finish such as Laid can be created while it is being manufactured with the use of a marking roller that forms the pattern in the paper while it is still wet. Paper finishes provided offline are usually accomplished with steel rollers that press the pattern into the paper. The offline finishes are known as embossed finishes.

Some of the more common paper finishes are described below:

  • Cockle. A cockle finish simulates characteristics of hand made paper with a wavy, rippled, puckered finish. The effect is obtained by air drying the paper under minimum tension.
  • Felt. Felt is a soft texture on uncoated paper that is created during the papermaking process with a either felt covered roller or with a rubber roller with a felt pattern that creates the finish. It can also be accomplished as an offline process. The felt finish does not affect the strength of the paper.
  • Gloss. A gloss finish produces a shiny and reflective surface on one or both sides of certain coated papers. A higher gloss is usually seen on higher quality coated papers. The gloss finish is produced from compounds added during the paper making process.
  • Laid. A laid finish has the appearance of translucent lines running horizontally and vertically in the paper. It is produced during the papermaking process with a special roller that creates the pattern in the wet paper.
  • Linen. Linen finished paper resembles linen cloth and is usually produced after the papermaking process as an offline embossing process.
  • Matt. A finish on certain coated papers that is smooth but gives a dull appearance. A matte finish, as well as other types of coated paper, are good choices for print jobs in which high quality is required.
  • Parchment. A paper finish that has an old or antique appearance and is the result of washing Sulphuric acid over the paper and then quickly neutralizing the acid wash. This process melts the outer paper fibres which fill the voids in the rest of the paper. Parchment is very durable and grease resistant.
  • Smooth. A smooth finish is the result of the paper passing through sets of rollers during the papermaking process. This process is known as calendering.
  • Vellum. A vellum finish has an eggshell appearance and is consistent and even but not as much as a smooth finish. Vellum is one of the most popular uncoated finishes and paper with this finish has a high ink absorbency rate.
  • Wove. An even finish in uncoated paper with a slight texture made by a felt roller covered in woven wire.