1.) trim close and remove any stamps on colored paper which may bleed and stain
2.) put stamps (up to around 100) in container and add warm/hot water
3.) let it sit for about 5 minutes, and then empty all of the "glue water"
4.) add more warm/hot water and let sit for 5 minutes
5.) if water is not clear, drain and repeat step 4
6.) when water is clear, remove envelope paper using long, spade-tipped tongs
7.) transfer stamps to second container of clear hot water, using spade tipped tongs *SEE BELOW
8.) remove stamps, one at a time to edge of container so that excess water can drain away
9.) when edge of container is completed surrounded by stamps, place them on waxed paper sheet in telephone directory
10.) stamps should not touch each other or overlap on waxed paper sheet
11.) when all of the stamps have been soaked, carefully close up the telephone book and weight it down.
12.) in several hours the stamps should be dry enough to transfer to a stock book, glassine envelope, or album
family tradition here.
3 and 4, make this 10-15mn each
6 and 7. fingers. Thumb on face, and index on back, caressing the gum away. Old italians need 20-60 passes of gentle rubbing. Most stamps do not need any touch, the index will say it's sticky free.
9. blotting paper. 2-3 sheets between each layer of stamps. To max space, I line the stamps by size. I start rows of regular smalls on the left, and I line the landscapes one to the right. - place over plastic protector, and add 6-10lbs of weight (2 encyclopedias)
let dry for 2-5 days. Transfert to mass market paperbacks - about 20 stamps every 40 pages. Stack and weight for 1 week minimum (or a couple months/years ;-) )
BEFORE transfer to paperbacks I do add one step of sorting. I currently fast sort into "old american, latino countries, new americans" and a couple more sets depending on the batch I was sorting. It speeds up the later sorting... AND it helps stamps dry flat properly as new thick stamps will dry in another chapter of the book from 1800s thin stamps.
I will add steps 3-4-5 as I've been doing differently, moving stamps instead of draining the container.