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Hide glue vs. RSG for Gesso

picture framing clamps by MasterClamp 2021

MDAilstock

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Jul 21, 2021
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Artizom Frame Gallery
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Eek!! I just switched from using rabbit skin glue to hide glue to make gesso. I have been water gilding for a few years now, and am uncomfortable with this new gesso! Hide glue has a bloom strength of 240, lower than the 400 bloom strength I was using. My recipe for hard gesso is 2:1:2 (glue:water:calcium carbonate), and 1:1:2 for soft gesso, both with 10% hide glue solution.

Using this new 240 bloom strength Hide glue in the gesso recipe, my gesso is weird. Once prepared, the glue is completely separating from the mixture - like fat would in cooled broth. And, when I brush it on the frame, it reverse beads. Don't know if that makes sense- like when soap hits a greasy surface. Sorry for the fat/ kitchen analogies! Almost like I didn't seal a poplar frame with RSG, and you have a bunch of air holes. And, both hard and soft gessos are so much thinner, making overall gesso time take longer than it already does!

Any advice on how, and how much to alter the Glue solution or the gesso recipe? Learning through trial and error is tough when you have a bunch of gilded frame orders, and not so much time for experimentation! Any ideas?

Thank you thank you!
Maggie
 

framah

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death star driver
Why did you switch from RSG to hide glue?

I was only taught to use RSG...Rabbit Skin Glue for the muggles out there.
 

MDAilstock

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Sepp leaf stopped carrying the the RSG I had used forever, and their website recommended Hide Glue for making gesso. Honestly, I think the glue I was using was their RSG 309, which they said was not actually RSG but a framers glue, and the 309 would have made it a lower bloom strength than the hide... Regardless, my gesso recipe now needs serious tweaking. Maybe I should order the RSG 335?

I don't understand why the glue switch makes the gesso act so differently during application. On the bright side, the new recipe looks like it worked out. No cracking, easy to sand, just hope its not more apt to chip.

I am crazy! Mostly in the good ways...
Anybody out there with Narcolepsy besides me? Just wondering if you guys have any tips for staying awake while gilding:)
 

Terry Hart cpf

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Sep 23, 2003
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Excelsior, MN
I'd think Sepp could make a recommendation. I have a sheet from Marty Horowitz that the Gold Leaf Co. sent me years ago with some gelatin glue. It called for about a 10% increase in glue. I also add 3 tsp of isopropyl alcohol and 1 1/8 tsp linseed oil ( I use winsor Newton water mixable linseed oil) . that may help break the surface tension and smooth it out. I'm curious about how your ratio works. I use grams of glue to ounces of water and cups of whiteing. Not sure how to equate those.
 

Terry Hart cpf

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Joined
Sep 23, 2003
Messages
2,031
Location
Excelsior, MN
I'd think Sepp could make a recommendation. I have a sheet from Marty Horowitz that the Gold Leaf Co. sent me years ago with some gelatin glue. It called for about a 10% increase in glue. I also add 3 tsp of isopropyl alcohol and 1 1/8 tsp linseed oil ( I use winsor Newton water mixable linseed oil) . that may help break the surface tension and smooth it out. I'm curious about how your ratio works. I use grams of glue to ounces of water and cups of whiteing. Not sure how to equate those.
Here's a shot of the sheet. 0722211404.jpg 0722211404.jpg
 
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vintage frames

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Aug 2, 2021
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UK
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Gilder
I wouldn't even try to make gesso with hide glue. Although correctly described as an animal glue, it is derived from animal hides boiled and reduced to make a strong traditional wood-working glue.
Rabbit Skin Glue is produced from animal tissue and is a much more refined glue that combines perfectly with whiting to make gilding gesso.
Try to source your RSG from a reputable gilding supplies company as there are some quite crude varieties of RSG around that will cause difficulties when used for gilding.
 
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S. Martin

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May 12, 2020
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Seattle, WA
If you're still looking, I've had good luck sourcing RSG that our gilding department liked from W&B Gold Leaf. They were very helpful when we were having issues a few years ago.
 

vintage frames

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One can of course make artificial gesso using an acrylic binder which is a plastic product derived from the petrochemical industries. Alas this prohibits the craft of water-gilding so the vegan framer will be unable to employ a most beautiful skill and an effect that has been in use since the Renaissance.
 
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