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Edge Gilding, other gold techniques +

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has a photo that shows an Armenian bole/23k gold mottled foredge
gilded with flour paste and patent leaf before rounding and backing to
create a "stepped" edge.

There are also detail photos of the cover panel of the same book,
which uses other gold techniques. The interlaced design is in
lacquered acrylic with raised 23k gold leaf lines that were done by
drawing the lines in Jade PVA with a ruling pen, letting them harden,
and applying the gold while the adhesive was slightly tacky (Jade
stays tacky a long time). The bosses, clasps, corners and central
medallion are lost wax castings that are 24k gold electroplated. The
details of how the medallion was designed and produced are on the web
page. The medallion sits in a field of textured 12k white gold leaf,
but I don't recall the method of application. I may have applied Jade
and set the leaf in it, or I may have set it into the lacquer.

Both methods work. If setting in lacquer you can work fast and do it
just before the surface hardens, or wait until it dries and reactivate
the surface with lacquer thinner or acetone. What works best depends
on exactly what lacquer you are using. For several years, mostly in
the 1980's, I was doing a lot of lacquer bindings, and used Dupont
automotive lacquer clear topcoat with uv screen. It was created to
withstand years of direct sunlight and all sorts of weather conditions
from subzero to hot desert, and was available in gallons from the
suppliers of auto body shops. Various thinners were available for
different application conditions. I still use auto lacquer, but now
get the pint size spraycans at the auto supply store.

You an also set gold in thin varnish, which is popular with
signpainters. When I owned wooden boats I would apply the gold leaf
for the name of the boat to the mahogany transom using marine varnish
thinned 50/50 with Penetrol. You can either wait until the varnish
sets but is still tacky and apply the leaf, or let it dry completely,
apply a thin coat of penetrol to the varnish, and in15 minutes it is
ready to apply the leaf. In any of these methods you wait until the
varnish, lacquer or pva has hardened if you want a smooth shiny gold

You can get other effects by changing the application time. If you run
a hair dryer over the varnish quickly so the surface is almost dry but
the varnish underneath is still soft, and then apply the leaf, you can
get it to "orange peel" as it dries, creating a texture. By using the
varnish thicker or thinner, and applying the leaf at different times,
this can be a subtle or exaggerated effect. If you apply the gold when
the varnish is almost completely dry but just very slightly plastic,
you can roll your thumb on it in a pattern to create a "hammered gold"
look. It takes very little concavity to create this optical effect. In
marine applications you may apply four coats of varnish over the gold,
and have a surface that is completely smooth, even if you have created
a "hammered" or "textured" effect. That makes for a magical illusion,
and also a more durable finish. Once you start playing with the
physical and optical properties of the substrate and gold, and the
different shades of gold and other leaf products, like variegated
leaf, it's a lot of fun and you can make all sorts of dazzling

You can create different reflectivity in a surface coating, from
frosted to matte, satin or gloss. There are many automotive rubbing
compounds on the market that will give you a lot of control over this.
My favorite for final finishing is Liquid Ebony. You can also use
things like 600 grit wet & dry sandpaper, jeweler's rouge, etc.
Although some conservators may balk at this, a coat of Endust on
rubbed lacquer gives a particularly beautiful glow. And it's something
the collector can apply at home to keep the Work looking fresh.

The advantage of using clear lacquer, varnish, shellac or whatever and
not using matte varnish is that you don't fill the surface with
diffusing haze. The underlying image stays brighter and crisper. If
you rub it to a matte finish and don't like it you can continue
rubbing until it's a satin or a mirror finish. If you change your mind
and want to de-gloss it, you can use a coarser compound to soften the
finish. Each book cover I did wanted to have a particular level of
gloss that related to the image, and by using rubbing compounds it was
possible to go back and forth until it was just right.

In case you don't want to scroll back up, the link is


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