Lex Jenkins , Mar 08, 2005; 02:54 a.m.
Wood can be coated to help minimize the risk of damage to your prints. I would try a polyurethane varnish that dries free of oil or other residue. That eliminates most marine varnishes.
Scuff up the surface with a very fine abrasive to give it some "tooth". I would avoid steel wool because it tends to be oily and even the finest leaves behind steel wool dust. Scotch makes abrasive sponges but I haven't seen one fine enough for this purpose. I'd use an ultra fine aluminum oxide paper on a flat block to ensure even results.
I'm not sure whether varnish would hold up to the temperatures needed for traditional dry mounting. It might be better to use an archival grade adhesive. Artists suppliers carry various adhesives suitable for mounting photos. Some folks have reported good results using a spray adhesive. There are also archival glue sticks but these are difficult to roll on evenly without bumps being visible on the surface of the photo.