Grammage - a lamentation


@anarcat Do you have a Staples with a print centre near you? Your experience may vary but I find that some can be very helpful despite being a big box store. I had a few experiences where the employee would let me see various weights and types of paper and print samples until I got what I wanted. I didn’t have to be a sweet talker. :slight_smile:

Bonus: I met one of the original hosts of the recently cancelled TV show Daily Planet at a Staples. Jay Ingram didn’t know me but I waved anyway. However, he didn’t notice me at all because he was super angry about his printer and possibly bad customer service. His face was visibly contorted. I guess everyone has a bad day. :blush: Unfortunately, all the Staples in my area closed. Maybe they do mostly online sales now…


Staples have been quite helpful: they suggested a 148gsm paper but that didn’t seem strong enough for my purposes. But worst: they didn’t have it on the shelves, only “behind the counter”, a recurring problem I found in many print shops.


I see. The ones that I went to when I need to do stuff were gracious enough to let me touch the paper and make sample prints. At the more esoteric shops, they not only did that but they also showed me samples of their previous work on different ink and paper combinations. That was when I didn’t know anything.


So I finally got around weighting my “standard” calendar I got hanging on the wall already. As it turns out, a single “US Letter” page actually weights 16 grams (±1g). It’s not exactly 8.5x11", more like 277mmx214mm (±1mm), so the paper weight is between 250gsm and 289gsm. So I would bet it’s 280gsm paper.

Problem is: that kind of paper is impossible to find in retail here. I tried phoning in every possible Staples (called Bureau En Gros here) and all they could find me is the 150gsm (40lb) I mentioned earlier. I can see that stuff online at the USA version of the site (e.g. here) but not on the Canadian site. And I can’t find any other place where they sell

That’s incredibly frustrating. Canada is one of the largest producers of paper in the world. We are continuously cutting down our ancestral forests, sometimes very poorly, to produce everything from lumber to news paper (and don’t forget toilet paper) yet I can’t seem to find a single place to buy the paper professional print shops seem to take for granted.

Even Amazon (which I usually boycott) refuses to ship me that kind of paper. What’s going on here? Is there some international conspiracy from corner-store calendar makers to keep people from doing their own?

(nosle) #25

I feel your pain. Sounds like it should be a simple matter! When living in London (UK) I used to go frequently to Falkiner’s on Southampton Row. The whole shop is based on touching various papers! They have a pretty crazy collection though much of it would kill a printer. My printer proved able to survive anything I threw at it. Not without some coaxing though. I’ve probably spend a man age fishing shreds from the guts of the printer.

Have you considered paper for plotters (large format printers) usually comes in rolls as well as sheets. May need to cut down though. 280gsm might be a bit hard to get flat.


Perhaps not wanted, but the standard A4, 80g/m² sheet is exactly 5grams (A4 is exactly 1/16 (2⁴) of a square meter). Which puts the 500-sheets ream at exactly 2.5kg.

This said, even in my metric country, we still have fairly poetic sheet sizes.

The “Grand Aigle” being the format of nautical charts produced by our “S.H.O.M.” used to be a major constraint in any sea-going watercraft.