AbstractIn this paper, the mixed refining of fiber and a novel fly ash-based calcium-silicate (FACS) filler is proposed as a new filler application method, as it has some advantages over the traditional filling method. Paper produced using this filler application technique exhibits improved strength and optical properties but reduced bulk. SEM images were obtained to show the FACS filler-fiber composite structure that formed during the mixed refining process. Two models were proposed to describe the mechanism by which the mixed refining process improved the paper properties. Mixed refining can decrease the size of FACS particles, especially if the filler/fiber ratio is low. It was suggested that handsheets filled with small FACS particles had low bulk, which was beneficial for increasing the interfiber H-bonding. Decreasing the filler/fiber ratio improved the paper strength and optical properties at the expense of some bulk, a loss which varied depending on filler content.