How To Cut Book Pages
Out of Vintage Books
Typically, vintage books are easier to gut than newer books. That's because the pages are bound with stitching instead of pressed with glue. Therefore, you can save all the pages inside in their full 'folio' format and re-use them in junk journals that you create with signatures. Here's how I do it. A folio is the term used in bookbinding that refers to the folded pages in signatures.
1) First, I separate the cover from the inside block. You can see this process in this hidden spine tutorial at around 8:15.
2) Then I remove as much of the cloth, paper and glue on the block's spine that I can. Keep in mind that some old books can hold very old dust and possibly even mildew so you may want to wear a mask for this part of the process.
3) I then locate the center of the first signature in the book where the original stitching is visible, and cut the threads with a craft knife. I carefully remove each folio one at a time. until this signature is gone. I repeat this process with a few more signatures a the front of the book (or the back, it doesn't matter which end).
4) At this point, some of the really stuck-on cloth and paper can be removed even more because of the space that the removed signatures has created.
5) Now the signatures should be more visible on the spine side. You'll see each separate booklet. This is where I begin to separate them manually and slide my kraft knife between them to free them from the block, one at a time.
6) Then it's just a matter of cutting and removing the threads.**
I'm now left with beautiful book pages for my junk journals!
**Sometimes the holes created by the stitching are big or some tearing has occured. If that's the case I reinforce that area with washi tape (to which I add craft glue for durability), or a strip of paper.