This is the highest quality abaca pulp (which we call premium) that has been bleached and is whiter than our previous bleached abaca. Abaca production has been regulated by the Philippine government since 1914, when abaca fiber was classified based on color, strength, and cleanliness. The highest quality fibers are hand or spindle stripped, and are classified as an S grade. Our Premium Bleached Abaca is the highest S grade. It is ivory/white in color and the whitest of our abaca pulps. This abaca is in sheet form and can be processed very easily in a kitchen blender or other form of mixer if a Hollander beater is unavailable. Abaca is the Philippine word for Manila hemp, the fiber that comes from the stalk of a special type of banana tree, Musa textilis. This fiber came into use in the U.S. primarily for the making of tea bags and filter paper which required a thin, porous paper capable of withstanding hard use. Abaca paper has incredible “wet strength”, enabling the artist/papermaker to pick up a wet, newly formed sheet of paper and manipulate it into any shape without tearing the sheet. It also has a long fiber length and is excellent for sculptural applications as well as being a remarkable substitute for Japanese – style papermaking, eliminating the need for hand beating the bark fibers. Longer beating times in a Hollander produce wonderfully crisp and translucent sheets. We strongly recommend abaca as a versatile, all-purpose pulp.