Uncoated papers

I have an interest in longevity issues exceeding normal expectations, for work appropriate for collections. It’s not that most of our processes and materials aren’t suitable for that, but for various reasons I’m interested in maximizing it. One reason is- unknowns. We have a relatively new process, compared to traditional processes, and we have yet to see many examples of these thing’s end-of-life. One major issue we DO know about, and have from the beginning, inkjet coating’s vulnerability for phenolic yellowing. This issue is big and deserves a full post, but this is not that… Another major issue is the surface delicacy of the coatings. All this has lead me to work with and experiment with fine art uncoated papers. Cone’s continuing evolution of HDMK works amazingly well on several uncoated surfaces, and in fact, I’ve reached Dmax on several papers over 1.6. While not as impressive as HDMK on coated papers, it’s above what we used to get an may premier coated papers with older MK inks, Epson or Cone. SInce Dmax might be one of the deal breaking issues in the past, seems to me it’s a non issue now, good times for fine art printers. With proper setup, which we can get into, there is no significant compromise with dmax, many historical beautiful papers become viable for us, and they are more durable. You can actually touch the image surface, even stack prints without interleave (carefully), and there’s every reason to expect longevity rivaling historical etchings etc… Of course then ink choice becomes part of all this. OK so long intro…
I want to wrap up with a few suggestions of papers I’ve had good results with lately-
Arches Watercolor always worked well, I’ve used it a fair bit. Warm, even the “bright white” which I believe is bleached. The hot press is too card like for me, the other surfaces a bit much but great for much work.
Rives BFK looks great, clean white, beautiful subtle surface.
Somerset Velvet Radiant White, one of our first papers for Iris and Piezography, which I believe Jon had a hand in developing, is back on the table, a beautiful paper. Unfortunately brightened (more later), nice weave like texture, not too much.
Lastly a gorgeous little thick Japanese paper, Fuji Shikishi White, Natural. Heavy hard texture but beautiful. I’m loving small prints these days, this is a perfect size with a full deckle.

So my first inclination was for any of us interested and trying alternative papers, to exchange info on papers that are working out and looking good. Process and RIP setup can come along if interest remains.

A few experiences- Uncoated papers are softer and have more surface lint, prebrushing is essential, and cleaning under the head is necessary more often that normal inkjet papers, a nice mud made of thrown up paper lint and ink builds up pretty easily. Rippling from wet absorption is an issue for some papers, requiring flattening. Walker taught me about reverse rolling after printing, which worked, but the most absorbent required misting the back first.

OK, we’ll see if there’s any interest in continuing this. Any great papers you’d like to pass on, please do. I have more as well, but this got pretty long as an intro

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Tyler, I have nothing to contribute…YET, but am certainly interested in learning more.

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Ever since I saw the water color paper that was “inkjet receptive” I was wondering if anyone was printing on this stuff. It takes me so long to profile a paper that I haven’t personally gotten around to trying anything. Glad to hear there is potential!

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FWIW, I’ve always liked Canson Arches Velin Museum Rag, and Epson Hot/Cold Press Natural. Both of these for the paper’s ability to show the tonal range that got us into Piezography in the first place.

EDIT: oops. Sorry - I missed the title of this thread; neither of the papers I mentioned are uncoated.

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Lately, I have made a good profile on Moab Somerset Museum Rag. I would call it a medium-smooth natural white. The Special Edition inkset looks great on it. I am not sure if this is similar to the Somerset Velvet Brilliant White you mentioned. “Somerset” seems to be used by several brands (Legion, Epson, St. Cuthbert’s).

And, yes, I would add that it is a very dusty paper, definitely requiring brushing. But I brush all of them anyway.

Also, I saw information on a new baryta coated paper that has a matte finish and uses matte black. Canson Infinity Baryta Photographique II Matt. Seems to hard to get ahold of right now, though.

yes, as Tracy Valleau realized after posting, this is about uncoated fine art papers, like printmaking papers, watercolor, etc… many of which have been around long before any digital printing, none with “inkjet receptive” coatings. Perhaps that’s not real clear in my post. These papers present unique challenges and have unique looks, and unique pros and cons… no doubt a niche interest

Hey, Tyler-

Great post, thanks for getting the conversation started. As I’ve mentioned to you previously, I’ve done a lot (a lot) of printing on BFK Rives using Epson OEM, ConeColor, and several different Piezo and custom blend Piezo ink sets. I also like Hahnemuhle Copperplate, Arches Cover (esp. cream), Coventry Rag Vellum, and Canson Edition Antique White. At K2, Scott and I did some beautiful hybrid work (inkjet+intaglio) on Kozo. I recently switched a printer over to the Pro inks–which I like very much–but haven’t had time to push any printmaking/watercolor paper through it. I’ll get back to you on that. A question: your primary intent is longevity, with the paper aesthetics a close second? I just want to be sure I’m understanding your intent correctly.

Hi Bill, Not sure how to prioritize things… always first is the print esthetics, if these papers and approaches were not yielding beautiful prints, or showing promise for that, I”d be done, but they are. But we also all know that may take some work to bring that out in a given paper ink combo that might be disappointing at first. Longevity has always been a priority for us, in the darkroom we rarely if ever made concessions to to that. My years with ink printing, which I love, I”m less than confident in the durability of the prints on the current coating methods, both physically and chemically. So it’s not so much that I want to reach some obsessive level of longevity, but that I’m not comfortable with the vulnerabilities as I’ve experienced them, others too. Some, not at all. I don’t mean to raise an alarm, I just want to pursue this and exchange ideas and experiences. As you know these papers are beautiful as well and using them opens up a lot more printing opportunities for photography.

You mention some papers I’ll need to try now, particularly with the newest HDMK, which is a game changer for this work, it even has a beautiful sheen on uncoated papers, unique. I did just completed a body of work on Arches Cover, it was a challenge, but I landed on that paper for the look of it for the particular images. BFK is a big winner, just bought more, I’ll further test with the new MK.

I hope that clarifies my intent, not the least of which is that there have been beautiful results with some effort. So here’s a question you’d be good to ask- if max longevity is a priority driving the paper selection… does it make any sense to be using anything but a full carbon only ink set?

The RIP setups for this work is a rathole beyond standard setups, and would require some wider interest to justify pursuing on the forum.

I’ve always thought coating is the weak link in all of this with normal inkjet papers which was a big motivator in creating the HD MK ink. That and the very WIDE array of papers that are uncoated out there. We get 1.7-ish dmax on 32weight Reich velum .

On a chemical stance, Pro ink is not actually 100% optimized for uncoated inkjet. Really only the UltraHD-MK ink is. While the black ink makes it all work, the lighter shades must be limited significantly in order not to bleed on more porous uncoated surfaces. This works ok though, but you have to really pull a lot of the MK ink into the dark quarter tones. From a chemical standpoint, making all the lighter shades out of MK as the base ink would probably work better as a full k6 or k7 carbon (matte only) uncoated dedicated ink. It would take a lot of work to figure out the proper base liquid requirements to not bleed on all surfaces, but could be a fun project. It would be a fairly neutral carbon ink set. More neutral than our classic carbon and less green than our current base gloss carbon found in the Pro set.


I’ve used Canson Infinity Baryta Photographique II Matt and it’s gorgeous. Maybe availability has improved now?