Index Home About Blog
From: (Strayhorn)
Newsgroups: rec.guns
Subject: Re: Paper for Civil War Renactments
Date: 13 Aug 1998 22:12:22 -0400

N.B. - posted and mailed due to unreliable server

In article <6qto17$>, "Dennis L. Mickey"
<> wrote:

# I understand that there is a special paper that the renactors use to
# keep their powder inside the chambers of their cap and ball revolvers.
# What is this paper and where can the gun dealer I work for get it?

"Special" paper? Well . . . as someone who has worked in the print
industry for more than 25 years, I can offer you the following advice:
Go to your nearest office supply store and get paper that is marked
"100% rag content" on the box. It's not cheap, but it's a hell of
alot cheaper than the stuff I see for sale at re-enactor events.

Most paper today is made from the pulp of pine and other softwoods.
Paper in Ye Olde Dayes was made from cotton and cotton rags, beaten
in a pot of hot water with a bit of lye to bleach it until it was of
a gruel-like consistency, and then spread in a thin layer on a
screen. While still hot and damp, quality papermakers would also
press it to make it nice and flat. You can still see this done
at places like Colonial Williamsburg, or in the paper-making classes
at any good art school (that's where I learned it).

So if you want to be authentic, use rag paper. Pulp paper also
tends to leave lots of hot sparks, and rag is better in that
regard as well.

Here's another tip: marksmen often used silk as wadding in their
blackpowder firearms. It burns faster, burns more completely,
and offers a better seal. Even today, powder bags for some
artillery pieces are of silk. Of course, it's expensive.

So go down to your local thrift shop and look for silk dresses
or blouses - many have stains or tears on them and can be bought
for $2 or less. Cut them up for patches for your BP firearm.

My great-great-grandfather (26th NC Regmt, CSA) indicated in his
diary that he used a silk petticoat for most of a year until it
was gone. If you watch the movie "Last of the Mohicans" you'll
see Deerslayer cutting a patch from the tail of his silk shirt.

So, you can be authentic and not get ripped off (excuse the pun).

Best regards from the South


Not Duke policy, etc.

"It's a scientific fact that if you stay in California, you lose
one point of IQ for every year." - Truman Capote

Index Home About Blog