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Question(S) About Scott "Big Brown" Stamp Albums

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Posted 09/28/2020   11:07 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add gvol21 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Although sewn bindings prevent adding pages, they do hold the album together better. And if a publisher adds page "spacers" to allow for the thickness of the stamps, the covers won't bulge out.

DrewM - what are page 'spacers', and do sewn albums have them? (I'm considering undertaking a project to do a sewn binding for an album and have been wondering how this would work - how to factor in ahead of time the appropriate amount of space needed for stamps to later occupy, etc.)
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Posted 09/29/2020   01:48 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add DrewM to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Page spacers are strips of cardboard (or paper) that help even out the bulging of album pages. Pages bulge because you add all those stamps and mounts to the middle of each page. But you don't add anything to the margins of the pages, so the middles of the pages get thicker and thicker and that makes them bulge in the middle. Eventually on albums filled heavily with stamps, the album bulges until the covers can't be closed anymore, then the spine tears and the binder is toast. I've thrown away a lot of binders like that. Unless you use page spacers to even out the bulge.

There are of two kinds of page spacers that I've seen, but they're basically the same. In looseleaf binders, page spacers are just roughly one inch wide strips of cardboard punched with binder holes. You could probably make them yourself, but they're also sold fairly cheaply. I just buy them. I'm much too lazy to punch all those holes in strips of cardboard. A collector just adds a spacer maybe every 20 pages or so, as needed, to solve the bulging page problem. The strips of cardboard add thickness to the edge of the page, evening them up.

In a sewn-binding album, the publisher sews page spacers into the album along with the pages. This is done on fancier albums like some older Stanley Gibbons albums. These page spacers are just a narrow strip of the same paper the album pages are made of, typically one added after every page. You hardly see them . . . but if you look, there they are, sewn right in.

Eventually, as the album gets thicker, you do have to put some of the pages into another binder. In the meantime, page spacers help stop bulging binders, keeping them from tearing and being ruined.
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Edited by DrewM - 09/29/2020 02:11 am
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Posted 09/29/2020   12:40 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add gvol21 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks, Drew - glad I can benefit from your extensive album knowledge!

The more I keep thinking about 'building a better binder' for my Big Blue collection or researching options available out there, the more unsatisfied I am with the available options (you helpfully provided insights into these in another thread). The existing binders are too big, and the smaller ones too hard to source reliably - and I'm not a huge fan of either the two-post or the three-ring options out there.

I'm a big fan of the bound albums, but the ones out there that I've sourced as feeder albums (like the old '47 edition) tend to be in average condition: thin, yellowed pages, thins, tears, etc. So the idea of printing and binding my own - as much as it would entail a ton of work - definitely appeals. Obviously that's not time not being spent on the collection itself, but considering the cost of new Scott pages and binders, I might be able to 'break even' money-wise. I'd just need to source a sound, complete set of album pages to scan and reprint (easier said than done)... Not sure if anyone has attempted this before, but I'd love to hear from them if so!
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