[Part of a series on my bookmaking internship at the Kyujanggak conservation lab.]
As a Westerner I am so accustomed to using a guillotine, board shear, or Kutrimmer for cutting large stacks of paper, especially for text blocks. When we got out a thick stack of hanji and went to cut down my text blocks I was surprised that the only tools we used were straight edges/rulers, weights, a cutting mat, a knife, and an awl (for marking where to make the cuts).
After the paper was cut down and each sheet folded in half, we prepped some of the text blocks for side-stitch or stab binding (선장). We made cords out of paper and used an awl to make holes for the inner binding. I liked this simple method of making just two holes, one for each small length of cord.
Once I shoved the cord through the hole, I trimmed the cord on both sides of the text block, opened up the cord, smashed it flat with a hammer, and then fixed it with a tiny bit of paste.
This inner binding is an important step in stab binding. It keeps the text block together so that once the outer covers get sewn on, the entire book is much more secure. Even if the outer covers fall off or the thread breaks, the text block will still stay together.
To prepare the text blocks for the butterfly bindings (호접장), the text block is bound at the folded edge with approximately 2mm of paste.
We used these nifty box jigs made of thick plexiglas to square up the text blocks:
We did most of the text block preparation in between other tasks, like waiting for things to dry. Once the text blocks were ready, it was just a matter of prepping and attaching the covers, which was the next step.