Well, I did not perform any kind of scientific test. I just threw a few of the paper samples I received as an entrant to the Awagami International Miniature Print Exhibition into the batch I printed to produce submissions. So, with a sample size of 1 each, here’s what I ended up with.
The Hakuho Select is a really thick paper that feels really nice in the hand. It’s 45% Kozo and 55% cotton, and is sized. I’ve tried printing with this paper before, and haven’t been able to achieve a smooth impression even using lots of muscle. It always turns out kind of speckly.
Honestly, it is probably a waste of a great paper to use it for a print this small. It would probably perform well on much larger prints, especially those produced on a press.
This paper is also fairly heavy, sized, and made of 70% bamboo and 30% recycled paper. From the first impression, everything went on nice and smooth. It doesn’t compress a whole lot, so I don’t feel the embossed texture as much.
Kozo Natural Select
This one is 80% Kozo and 20% “Alpha Cellulose,” which the web says can be separated from wood pulp by soaking it in a solution of sodium hydroxide. This paper is very thin and transparent, and the fibers within are visible when it’s held up to the light. It is not sized. On my initial impressions, this didn’t seem to cause a problem, but when I got to the key block which I printed later, there was significant bleeding:
Kozo Extra Thick Natural
Finally, a thicker paper, also unsized. 90% Kozo, 10% Alpha Cellulose. It feels good and feels like it would hold up to repeated impressions, but the bleeding was pretty bad:
Printmakers who are willing to undertake a sizing effort could probably make good use of this paper. I’m kind of lazy though and am looking for the ideal paper without having to jump through hoops!