Harvesting takes place between November and February. One year shrubs are preferably chosen for their soft fibers. The branches are cut to a length of 1.20m; to facilitate the peeling of the bark, the bundles are spread in a metal pot filled with water and are covered with a thick coarse cloth which will retain the steam. The device is heated for 5-7 hours.
After steaming the bark can be directly separated from the wood and then dried in the sun. The bark is called at this stage "black bark" because of its outer layer which should be removed. It is scraped with a knife.
The white bark is left to soak for a whole day to facilitate the removal of soluble elements and penetration into the fibers of the alkaline solution. Then the bark is cut and assembled into bunches for an alkaline cooking. The barks are placed in a tub containing a caustic lye and boiled for three to four hours. This operation removes lignin and non desirable materials (pectins, starches). Alkaline agents are either plant ashes or alkaline chemicals (soda, lime or sodium carbonate). After cooking, the barks are rinsed in running water for half a day to remove detergent and dissolved substances. The barks are immersed longer in running water, for several days in order to expose them to sunlight and to bleach them.
The removal of impurities is done by hand in cold water.
The pulp is then beaten by various methods: using sticks on a flat stone or a wooden disk, a vertical beater and more recently in the Japanese hollander called naginata.
To proceed to sheet making, the tank is first filled with water and the pulp is poured into the vat. The dispersing agent is added and the pulp is whipped. The methods used are called webal, ssangbal and jangpanji. In the webal method, the sheet is usually formed of two layers. The sheet is couched on a wooden board; either one sheet is couched alone, or a second sheet is laid on its surface, head to tail to form a single sheet. The Ssangbal method is derived from Japanese nagashizuki returned after 1900 (the method had been imported in the early 15th century when production should be accelerated). In Jangpanji, which is used for the manufacture of large format sheets, the mold is maintained by two people at each large end. The sheet is formed by successive layers of pulp.
In all cases, the sheets are couched with the movable screen in a stack and are separated or not by an intermediate element (thread, grass stem) to facilitate separation after pressing. Before lifting the screen, the pile of sheets is pressed with a wooden roller to eliminate air bubbles. The pressing is carried out under load or in a lever press. The draining is slow (12 hours). To be dried, the sheets are brushed on a smooth surface: wood plank on the floor made with oiled papers, on a steam heated metal plate.
Calendering or Dochim is the step that makes paper more compact, less porous and gives it a smooth surface. The sheets are moistened into small packs of ten and are then hammered on a flat stone with a foot hammer (currently a motorized hammer).