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Re: Edge Gilding

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James has good advice for Randy. Some other tricks & tips:

If using a scraper, make it out of a good flat piece of blade steel and
oversharpen it until it has a small burr. Then use it as a pull scraper, pulling
the burr against the edge of the book. The scraping is done after fine sanding
with "glass paper," "crocus paper" or 400+ grit emery paper. This is good for
head and tail, and for foredge if gilding before rounding. These days I don't
scrape it very often. It produces an edge that is too shiny for my taste. An
electric sander is fine, though I've had better results with a belt used
parallel to the edge than with circular or random orbital. But now I just use
flat production sandpaper and either a wood block or one of those hard rubber
1/4-sheet holders that you get at home depot or the lumberyard. The belt sander
is good for high volume production. If gilding a concave foredge I use sandpaper
over my finger to work the curve. If doing production the foredge can be done
with a drum sander or large belt, using the curved part where the belt turns.

I mostly stop at 120 grit sandpaper, rub in some armenian bole (it's sort of a
reddish clay and gives the gold a warm tone), or a mixture of armenian bole &
flour paste. The coarser sanded surface seems to give the edge a better grip.
Like James noted, it depends on what paper the book is made of. There's a huge
difference working with Rives BFK or thin coated stock. Before applying bole,
color or adhesive the most important thing is to get rid of any sanding dust. If
there is any dust the gold will be glued to it and will flake off when you fan
the pages. I use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment. If I want a more
polished edge I burnish the bole with a bone folder. I like the feeling of the
bone better than agate. If I want a different tone to the gold I use watercolor
instead of bole.

Then I apply a thin coat of flour paste and either wait for it to dry and apply
the gold, or apply the gold just before the paste dries.  If the paste is dry I
breathe on it to activate it. That doesn't disturb the surface. Sometimes I
apply the gold in a mottled way so the bole shows through, and that gives a nice
effect that I call "the new old look." Sometimes I apply several layers of
mottled gold with glazes of mottled bole or color in between for an effect that
gives an illusion of depth. Also sometimes I paint pictures on the edges and use
the gold leaf as highlight accents, or use gold foil and finishing tools with
the design to make an edge that is gauffered.

I use Hecker's unbleached flour, and prepare it by mixing cold flour and water
to the consistency of half-and-half with a wire whisk (that's thicker than milk
and thinner than cream). Then I cook it over a medium-low heat, stirring
constantly, until it thickens and glazes (the surface turns shiny). Then it goes
into a container (like a plastic take-out container or a small bowl) with some
cold water gently place on top while it cools so the paste doesn't skin over. If
it needs thinning after it cools you can add a little water.

The only time I only use egg/vinegar glaire is for tooling leather with hot
finishing tools.

Another method of adhering gold to edges is to use gelatine. Use regular
powdered gelatine like Knox and mix it according to the directions on the box.
That goes on very thin and smooth, and reactivates very nicely when you breathe
on it.

I prefer using a strip of paper cut about 1/16" wider than the book edge to pick
up the gold. If you don't have oily hair (or are getting to be a geezer and
don't have much hair left ;>) you can rub the paper gently on your forehead or
anywhere else you may have skin oil. Another way is to buy Patent leaf. Patent
leaf is what sign painters use. Patent leaf comes adhered to paper, in many
colors (23k xx, white gold, etc.) and you can cut strips slightly wider than
your edge with a snap-off blade, scalpel, or scissors. It is much easier to use
than loose leaf, and releases very nicely onto paste.



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