Western Paper and Washi (Japanese paper)
Often, the best way to understand new things is to compare them to familiar ones. Therefore, a comparison between the materials and methods used in making Western paper and washi is helpful in gaining a better understanding and appreciation for washi.
- Usually made from short fibers; now often wood pulp used.
- Plant materials are principal ingredients but materials are often added (sizing, mixture. fillers, etc.)
- Bleached by chemical methods; tends to weaken and shorten the life of the fibers.
- Beating method tends to cut fibers into short lengths.
- Manufacturing does not require the use of aid.
- Long bast fibers used.
- Usually no other materials other added to fiber mixture
- Unbleached or natural bleaching methods used.
- Beating method roughens and separates fibers; length not affected.
- Manufacturing process formation (nagashizuki) requires the use of NIERI, a viscous formation aid.
- Made by the TAMEZUKI method; one dip method; fibers in random alignment.
- Pressed to remove as much moisture as possible to bond fibers into a strong sheet
- High pressure used during pressing.
- Paper hung over ropes to dry. High shrinkage rate, cockling often occurs.
- requiring additional pressing to flatten
- Paper tends to be heavy and thick.
- Paper is usually stiff and firrm.
- Paper is opaque.
- Paper variety and characteristics limited.
- Made by NAGASHIZUKI, fibers paper built layer by layer, fibers aligned in direction of rocking motion.
- Pressed gradually, removes only 30% of moisture content; fiber bonding occurs gradually.
- Gradual pressure used.
- Brushed on flat surfaces to dry low shrinkage rate; dries flat
- Paper is lighter and thinner.
- Paper is more flexible and porous; permits ventilation.
- Paper is translucent.
- Variety of characteristics