Picking Typing Paper

It’s easy to talk a lot about typewriters and overlook the important parts of choosing paper. Here’s some thoughts on common questions people ask.

Thoughts on Paper

Some thoughts on paper selection, | have seen a couple folks asking about what kinds of paper they should be using with their machines, at the heart of the issue they generally seem to be trying to answer one of a few questions:

  • ls plain typing paper OK?
  • What paper will feed better?
  • How can I make my typewritten work look better?
Starting with the first one, plain typing and testing can most certainly be done on the most boring printer paper you can find. it won't win any awards for looking good or give you the cleanest impressions, but there isn't any real issue aside from one.

lf you are using printer paper (or any other very lightweight paper for that matter) you will get better results in print quality and feeding with a backing sheet (generally).

Almost anything can be used for backing, even just another couple sheets of your lightweight stock. This can be a bummer if you are using some kind of expensive stuff like vellum, vintage typing paper, onion skin, etc., So instead, just grab a sheet of something in the 24# range and reuse it for everything!

Next up - your machine is hungry but won't seem to accept the stock you're using. How do you find the right paper? In this case it matters an awful lot whether your issue is a paper problem at all, as well as which direction the issue is. For example, many of the smaller ultraportables with the tiny platens (Baby, etc) simply won't feed stock of 32# and greater; the small platen makes for a sharp bend in the paper which is hard on the thicker and stiffer paper.

On the other hand, if your machine has lost some platen diameter to shrinking of the rubber, you may find that the thinnest pages simply don't get gripped by the undersized and hardened rubber, In the first case we had to pick something lighter, but in this example we need something heavier.

That said, most machines should be able to Process your usual, non-glossy printer paper. In fact, that's precisely what I am using here! Additionally, sometimes the issue is not the paper at all, but simply an old and hardened platen. That's a bit outside of the scope here, but keep that in mind for sure.

Now here we are, you have gotten your type- writer running with inexpensive paper and it is feeding reliably, possibly resolving or ruling-out platen issues. There's still an issue about paper quality though; the tactile feel of a page in hand is part of the allure of these contraptions anywho, what fun is it to send a typed fetter on the cheapest of paper?

While the typewriter itself has faded, the world still appreciates quality paper and the selection is mind-boggling. Thin tracing paper and drafting vellum can be found as modern alternatives to onion skin, while a heavier, sturdier paper can give some gravitas to your text, Hand made papers can be great though the natural variation may decrease the quality of your-print,

Suffice to say, it pays to keep an open mind about what might make your message stand out. Aluminum foil, leaves, tissue and packing material, see what your machine will handle and share the results!

Rough Drafts

Still working out the right format - making posts is less fun when I do all my typing on a computer, so I am testing out an approach where I type up the core of the post on a page, scan it, then include the original drafts at the bottom. If you have clever thoughts like picking a reading format (perhaps you enjoy reading typewritten text more than computer text), reach out and let me know!