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Re: Fwd: Putting Titles on Books - Gilding

Karen Crisalli/The Bookbinder's Warehouse, Inc. you sent message 5th Feb from a
Steve Barton:

>The following question was recently posed to me and I would be interested in
>getting some comments and suggestions from those of you on the list;......
><< I am attempting to put titles on some of the books that I have made.  I
>have a brass hand typeholder set with several different size typefaces.  I am
>also using foil rolls to emboss the lettering.  I am heating ......
> Do you have any suggestions?........

The following book will be found an excellent practical guide to tooling with
plenty of photographs and drawings.  The Craftmans' Guide Series 'An
Introduction to Gold Finishing', by John Mitchell, published 1995 by The
Standing Press Ltd; ISBN 09521626 3 6 hardback, and ISBN 09521626 2 8 softback.
An earlier book in the series dated 1992 deals with 'Edge Decoration' (ISBN 0
9521626 0 1).

To clean gold off first rub gently with soft cloth (I use an open weave muslin
type cloth available in UK car accessory shops for polishing, it comes in a
roll) to remove the excess leaf, then for a second wipe to clean  the surface I
use a highly refined petroleum spirit available as a cigarette lighter fuel .
This avoids any residual gums in the fluid leading causing leaf to stick to
material.  In the UK this is typically 'Swan Lighter Fuel Extra Refined' in a
small yellow tin (ca 100cc) with small lift up plastic nozzle.  This is used on
the cloth to gently wipe of the remaining gold.  This also helps to remove any
remaining 'Vaseline' used to hold the leaf, if used, in place prior to tooling.
 A gold rubber can then be used to pick up remaining particles of leaf.

The foil should  not need any additional glaire, but some may be tried on
coarse or open weave cloth that has been paste washed.  Foils only need a cool
tool to be activated.  If the tool is too hot, or it is held on the foil for
too long, then yes bleed across between the letters may well result.  Have you
made sure there is no moisture left in the crevices of the letters as using a
very wet sponge or rag it should be checked, this will blur the letters.
Remember the typeholder is a large mass and holds the heat well compared to
hand letters.

Some cloth may not be well sized, or have too open a weave, and needs a paste
wash prior to gilding. Other modern cloths particularly may have a 'waterproof'
surface - in the UK "Arbalave" waterproof buckram for example -  I believe the
'waterproofing varnish' can be removed by wiping with a solvent such as meths.
Waterproofed cloth requires a synthetic glaire with gold
leaf.    'Rexine' or leather cloth I believe is coated with nitro-cellulose and
needs a foil for lettering.  For these cloths it is possible the cloth coating
is reacting to the tool heat and causing adhesion of the gilding.   Old cloth
may well be improved by a paste wash (leave to dry) prior to gilding to size
the cloth and 'fill up' the pores.

It may be worth trying  gold leaf and glaire on your cloth.   The glaire
can be albumen crystals or synthetic - in the latter case the glaire can be
left for some time (days) if necessary before finishing using a cool tool. A
useful tip with foil is to keep it in a sealed container as the
solvents evaporate and there is a gradual deterioration with time. If possible
practice on spare pieces of the same cloth until you have found the right
temperature for consistent lettering.  The art of gold finishing requires
practice to achieve the highest quality, I am still practicing as an amateur -
I find the edge gilding is easier!  Hope this is of some help, doubtless other
list users can add/amend my comments in the light of their experience.

Best wishes
Rodney Fry
Berkshire, UK
< rod.fry@xxxxxxxx  >

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