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Cigarette Papers

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MC Black 213/07/2020 09:39:01
99 forum posts

In Stan Bray's book "Milling for the Model Engineer", he recommends using cigarette paper to gauge thickness (a sort of disposable feeler gauge).

I've researched Cigarette Papers and discovered that they are available in different colour boxes with different thicknesses (and flavours).

I've written to Rizla+ and NOT had the courtesy of a response

Does anybody use cigarette papers in this way? If so, what colour box, please?

How thick (in either thou or microns) are they, please?

Very many thanks for taking the time to read this and, if you can, for helping.

I hope that you and your families are - and will remain - well.

MC Black

vintage engineer13/07/2020 09:45:28
254 forum posts
1 photos

I use green rizlas and they are about 1 thou thick.

Steve King 513/07/2020 09:50:36
87 forum posts
95 photos

Red box thickest

Then green

Then blue

The silver

Alot of people use the green but i recommend the red if you can find them.

Steve King 513/07/2020 09:56:19
87 forum posts
95 photos

Red box thickest

Then green

Then blue

The silver

Alot of people use the green but i recommend the red if you can find them.

Chris Evans 613/07/2020 10:00:58
1880 forum posts

Green ones live in my tool box.

Brian H13/07/2020 10:12:50
2091 forum posts
113 photos

I always use blue ones. I don't suppose it matters as long as you measure them and allow for the thickness when setting up.

I use blue ones because, for general purposes the thickness can be ignored and, I always measure the actual part during machining.


MC Black 213/07/2020 10:31:48
99 forum posts

Very many thanks to you all for replying

Has anybody actually measured the thickness of the different colours?

If so, what are the thicknesses, please?

With best wishes and thanks again.


Norman Billingham13/07/2020 10:47:45
39 forum posts

I use the green ones, though not as feeler gauges. The trick I was taught many years ago for setting a milling cutter was to dampen the paper with a bit of oil (or saliva) and stick it to the work then lower the cutter till the paper is dragged off, when you are within 0.001" of the work.

My green ones measure 0.001" + roughly 0.0002, - 0.0000 using a Mitutoyo micrometer.

Andrew Johnston13/07/2020 10:50:49
5969 forum posts
667 photos

I use blue papers, which measure 1 thou thick to the width of the line on the micrometer. I use them for quick 'n' dirty setups on the mills and lathe. For most work on the mills I use this:


And this:



Michael Gilligan13/07/2020 10:54:10
17636 forum posts
809 photos
Posted by MC Black 2 on 13/07/2020 10:31:48:


Has anybody actually measured the thickness of the different colours?

If so, what are the thicknesses, please?



Given that they are made from paper, and typically applied to the workpiece by dampening with a lick, I think that might be a trickier project than it first appears.

My working assumption has always been that the blue ones are [were?] near enough to 1thou’ when used for edge-finding.


Baz13/07/2020 11:35:39
524 forum posts
2 photos

Have always used green ones, they seem to be more readily available than the other colours, they appear to be pretty much .001” thick.

Steve Crow13/07/2020 11:41:15
275 forum posts
156 photos

I use OCB black packet papers for edge finding. They are ultra thin and slow burning so I use them anyway for smoking.

I've just stuck one in my best mic - 0.02mm so just less than a thou.

Rizla blue, my second choice for smoking is 0.025mm - slightly thicker.

Rizla black or silver are about the same as the OCB's.

ega13/07/2020 11:47:19
2051 forum posts
166 photos

What ever colour you buy, don't forget your pipe cleaners for cleaning your leadscrew.

My impression is that for crude purposes the paper is assumed to have no thickness eg as an edge finder or to be of constant thickness eg test for flatness with surface plate.

Iain Downs13/07/2020 11:59:28
750 forum posts
668 photos

I've come across this and use green papers. I don't think the local co-op had such a variety - and I had no idea which was the thinnest.

The only thing I've found is that moistening the paper (spitting) before applying it doesn't work - it sticks to my finger better than the piece.

Instead I moisten the piece (CT90 or spit) and apply it dry. This is then much more likely to stay on the piece.


Steve Crow13/07/2020 12:02:38
275 forum posts
156 photos

I get them in boxes of fifty from ebay but they sell smaller quantities or individual packets as well.

Martin Kyte13/07/2020 12:28:50
2309 forum posts
38 photos

George Thomas stated that he cut his into strips and stored them in a convenient box which he said would last him a lifetime. Bit finickity for my taste but there you go.

regards Martin

Grindstone Cowboy13/07/2020 12:29:56
553 forum posts
49 photos
Posted by ega on 13/07/2020 11:47:19:

What ever colour you buy, don't forget your pipe cleaners for cleaning your leadscrew.

I think I've mentioned this before, but they are now marketed as "fuzzy sticks" for use by children laugh


Dennis D13/07/2020 12:37:11
73 forum posts
3 photos

I served my apprenticeship at a company called Molins who made cigarette manufacturing machines and in all the workshops there would be a reel of cigarette paper to aid with setting up and we always used to work on 1 thou.

Off-topic the same company during the war made the Molins 6 pounder gun fitted to the Mosquito fighter bomber


Edited By Dennis D on 13/07/2020 12:38:02

larry phelan 113/07/2020 13:11:02
969 forum posts
14 photos

If it is only to tell when the cutter is about to contact the work surface, what is wrong with simple toilet paper ?

S-W-M-B-O tells me it,s available in many different grades and she knows !!

Even if it does not suit the job, you can still find a use for it !

Just a thought !cheeky

ega13/07/2020 13:41:00
2051 forum posts
166 photos

A further thought: what difference to thickness does the gum make?

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