Heirloom Photo Album

The point of all this is to remind you to be cautious about your wood selection and handling. Try to use a stable species. A narrower album would be less risky.

Hardware Installation and Finishing
I followed the hole patterns for the post binding screws that were already in the album sheets. Allowing for the top and bottom overhang, my hole center for the screws was 2-9/16″ from the top and bottom. From the binding edge, I marked a hole center of 1/2″.

The posts required a 1/4″ hole with a 1/2″-diameter counterbore to recess the flat heads of the screws. I used a Forstner bit for drilling in my drill press. It is necessary to drill the front and back banding strip exactly alike.

At this point I progressively sanded to #220 grit, rounded the outside corners to a 3/16″ radius, and heavily eased the edges, except for the edges where the hinge would be installed.

The finish may be a bit more complicated than you are accustomed to, but the fantastic figure in the walnut demanded as good a finish as I know how. And it was worth each step. Because walnut is an open-pore wood, I filled the grain using paste wood filler. I added oil-based walnut stain to the filler to color the filler and the wood. After applying the filler, I allowed it to dry for 24 hours.

For a clear top coat I used a lacquer that comes in an aerosol spray can. The product is the best lacquer in a can I’ve ever used. It’s called Master’s Magic and is available from The Woodturners Catalog. A can of sanding sealer and satin finish lacquer are required, and the product should be used only in a well-ventilated area free of open flames (including pilot lights on water heaters or furnaces) or potential sparks.

After applying the sanding sealer, carefully sand with #360-grit paper, being especially careful near the edges. The idea is to lightly sand down any dust particles or bubbles that may have formed but not to sand into the stain color below the sealer. After sanding the sealer, spray two top coats with the satin finish. Allow the finish to cure overnight, even though it will be dry to the touch in 15 minutes.

I used a pair of snips to cut the hinges to 12-1/8″ long. Cut the hinge at one of the leaf joints. The hinges are attached using flat-head brads that you should order along with the hinges. Predrill the holes for the brads into the edge of the wood leaving about 1/4″ of the brad length not drilled. Predrilling should ensure nothing pokes though the face of the cover.

Insert the post part of the post binding screws and fill your photo page inserts. I found that it was necessary to slightly enlarge the holes in the sheets with an ordinary paper punch. When done, lay the other cover over the post and then insert the screw.

If you are considering leaving the album on a coffee tabletop, or if you just want to protect the back cover from scratches, put a felt bumper pad in each corner of the back cover.

As a photo album or scrap book, this project makes an extra special gift for an extra special occasion. Is there a family wedding in your future? PW

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Steve Shanesy is editor and publisher at Popular Woodworking.

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