Friday Night Flicks: Mohawk Paper, The Making of Mohawk Superfine

I first posted this for a Friday Night Flick back in 2014, almost a decade ago. There was some discussion on the Book_Arts-L recently about the term “superfine”, so it seemed an appropriate time to revisit the video.



To save you some time doing research this weekend, the term “superfine” does not refer to the surface (you can have ‘Smooth’ or ‘Eggshell’) or the weight (the paper comes in a full range from Writing and Text weights to 160dtc/433 gsm Cover), but to something else entirely. Here’s the explanation Jeff Peachey posted in January of 2018.

The Origin of Mohawk Superfine

Quite likely, every bookbinder and book conservator located in North America has used Mohawk Superfine paper.  It’s a wonderful paper for many applications: textblocks for models, endpapers for circulating collections, lining boards and spines, labels, and so on.

Surprisingly, at least to me, the name does not come from 1970s urban slang, or the 1960s Garage Rock band The Superfine Dandelion, but was coined in 1946.

Mohawk originally developed Superfine as the result of a challenge from Yale University Press to produce an attractive, archival text paper for their reprint of The Papers of Benjamin Franklin. A Mohawk representative showed a sample of the new paper to a customer in Boston, who reportedly said, “this is a superfine sheet of paper.”

That final quotation originally linked to a page on the Mohawk Paper website celebrating the 70th anniversary of the paper.

(Once again, my apologies for being late with this!)

About Byopia Press

I have been working in the book arts field for more than thirty years, and operating Byopia Press with my husband David since the late 1990s. I began producing artist's books and altered books in 2004. I also create prints and drawings that are frequently text-inspired or text-based.
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