More Letters Re: Paper Maps

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Hugh,

Hunting and sport shops also sell detailed map books for many states. These maps are designed for hunters and show roads, in great detail, that are often not shown on typical road maps. – M.J.

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Hugh,

A recent reader post mentioned cleanroom paper, pointing out that it is very strong and durable. DuPont Tyvek was originally created as paper for cleanroom use because it does not shed fibers like pulp-made paper does. It was later discovered to be quite useful as air barrier house wrap; Dupont’s patent has expired, so a number of competitors are manufacturing a similar product.

Because so much of it is used in house construction, scraps are frequently available around construction sites, but get permission before “dumpster diving” for it. Tyvek (and DuPont’s competitors’ similar products) does not tear but may be cut into sheets with shears or knives. It does work well for sturdy note paper, I’ve been using it for years around work sites. It is fussy regarding what kind of marking it will accept, because the material is quite dense; permanent markers, such as Sharpies, work well, as do the higher quality indelible roller ball point inks. Pencil works, too, but since the graphite does not fully impregnate the material it’s more difficult to read.

The material is UV-degradable; most manufacturers require their housewrap not be exposed to sunlight for more than 30 days. That’s a warranty issue that is concerned with the material’s physical integrity and resistance to air penetration. It will degrade noticeably over time, but used as writing paper that’s not much of a concern.

Regarding printing on Tyvek, ink jet printers work but do not do well with it, because the material is quite resistant to absorbing liquid. Tyvek, in fact, allows moisture to flow through rather than be absorbed. This is a feature of the product, not a bug, which helps prevent wood rot on houses caused by trapped moisture. Toner, used in copiers and laser printers, fuses (melts) at 106F-114F and has similar problems to ink jet ink regarding bonding with Tyvek. It works, but expect it to smear in most cases and fade fairly quickly. – N.K.

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HJL,

Our local UPS store also prints maps on their E-size printer, and one option is waterproof ink on Tyvek, usually for Topo or Hunting maps. They are practically indestructible. – T.Z.

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HJL,

Here, in the great white north, many snowmobile clubs print very detailed maps of the county they live in. They get local businesses (usually taverns) to sponsor the cost. These maps are about the size of the old service station maps. They are extremely detailed. I have at least one for my surrounding counties. Best of all, they are usually free at a sponsor’s business. – Carl in the UP

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