Ways to seal composition gold leaf?

Woodworks by John

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As a novice gilder I'm wondering how others are sealing thier gold leaf (not precious) prior to patination process. Currently I'm using 2 parts denatured alcohol to 5 parts shellac and using dry pigments to tone it to the color palatte of the picture being framed. I follow this with casein and wax to mellow the gold. Although I like the effect, it dries rather quickly and this will only be more of a hassle as the weather warms up.
Thanks for your input.
John
 

Baer Charlton

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Work faster John.

Or work in the cool moist air of your . . . oh, right Lost Wages... no basement.

There is no safe way to slow the shellac short of cutting down on the alcohol . . but that makes it thicker and snotty....

Shoot it with an airbrush is probably your only hope.
 

JFeig

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Shellac if the standard seal coat for gilding.

I am not quite sure what your formula is...... Are you starting with premixed (in a can) shellac? It sounds possibly like it. Is the base 5# or 3# cut.

Most gilders use 1-2 pound cut. "Pound cut" refers to "x" pound(s) of flakes per gallon of solvent.

color can also be "warmed" by using different color flakes.

blond
lemon
ruby
orange
button
seed (darkest - most contamination)


premixed - in a can - you have white or amber(orange) Note the in-a-can products are not dewaxed.
 

Woodworks by John

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I'm using Bull's Eye shellac and cutting with 2 parts denatured alcohol to 5 parts shellac. Everything I do is tempered by the heat although I do gild in a spare bedroom! Joining frames or gluing up furniture is done in the morning when it's only in the mid-eighties. Some day I'll have a shop with at least a swamp cooler, as it is I get out of there now when it hits 108 degrees or above!! Thanks for the advice, I'm brushing as fast as I can.
John
 

Baer Charlton

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The problem here John is: "I'm brushing as fast as I can."

Either buy the Bullseye in a rattle-can at Home Desperate or get the HVLP from Rockler for $99. It is self contained and shoots shellac like a dream. And the replacement parts are cheap.

Or I'll sell you my Binks spotting gun for $300.

Try the rattle can [blond shellac] and see if that doesn't solve your problem.
 

JFeig

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based on 3 pound cut for the canned stuff, I would add a but more alcohol... You are using probally 2.4 pound cut, thats a bit thick. Remember 2 thin layers are better than one thick layer.
 

Baer Charlton

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Just looked it up in my old logs.

2 parts alcohol 1 part Bullseye.

and Wipeing is faster and smoother coat than brush.


As the day here is only going to reach 80, I have compassion for you.. but will still be firing up the HVLP.
 

Woodworks by John

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Well, thanks for the advice I really do appreciate it. Baer, I'll try your cut on the shellac and I'm really not ready yet for the HLVP sprayer. Since your's is cut more than what I've used I'll also try to wipe it on. I just read another article where the author said he doesn't clean his brush, just lets it harden and the next time he needs it he simply puts in alcohol for a few minutes and it's good to go! Thanks again to both of you for your replies.
John
 

Woodworks by John

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Hugh, thanks for your input. What I'm doing is to use shellac with dry pigments (burnt sienna, ivory, etc.) I'll do the next frame with the cut that Baer suggests. Then I apply casein and remove most of it with cheesecloth. After that I apply wax which I've also heated in a double boiler and added powdered pigments to. My wife seems to be pleased with the results and since she's all I frame for that's really all that matters!! Even though I'm a novice, I enjoy the work and hopefully have all the bases covered. Experience and good advice from those on the grumble will give success.
Thanks again, John
 

Terry Hart cpf

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What kind of wax are you useing that you have to heat it in a double boiler? You can use regular clear paste wax in the same way, no heating neccesary. If you have to heat it wouldn't it be hard & brittle when cooled? You're the woodworker. I must be missing something. I like a 1 1/2 lb cut shellac myself. Put it on and blot it right off with cheescloth (no pigment in the first coat although occasionaly I'll add a little black or brown anilline dye if I'mm looking for something quite dark). Then tone with casien & blot or wipe. Then a final coat of shellac in the same manner with pigment if you like. Then wax (again, with or without pigment) & a dusting of rottenstone. At least that would be standard procedure on metal leaf for me.
 

Terry Hart cpf

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oops, forgot the rub. I know it's not part of sealing but ya gotta do the rub. Chains, whips & concrete optional but if you're gonna be a gilder ya gotta do the rub before sealing. It will bring you good fortune. Also be sure to abraid the leaf.
 

Woodworks by John

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Terry, here's what I've been doing. I'm using Johnson's paste wax and putting some in a small rubbermaid container. I set that in a pan of water on a hot plate although I haven't tried to mix it in without heat (hot as it gets in my shop in Vegas maybe not needed). It doesn't get hot/brittle when cooled and actually goes on quite nicely. Sounds as if my technique is similar to yours except I only wax after the casein. How do you "dust" on the rottenstone? I've tried that but haven't been happy with the results so I must be doing something wrong. As far as the rub goes, after the gild has dried 24 hours or so I use cotton medical waste and distilled water.
John
 

Terry Hart cpf

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I use the rottenstone and cotton for the rub or even 0000 steel wool if I'm feeling a little more agressive. I haven't used the Johnsons but suppose its a typical carnuba/ beeswax and such blend? It should be plenty soft without heating. I apply it with a stiff bristle brush and wipe it to a thin even coat. Let it dry 10 or 20 min. till there aren't any wet spots and work it over with the rottenstone and a soft mop or wash brush. Brush or blow off the excess & then buff with your cloth or even the 0000 steel wool. I think it softens and unifies the over all look, especialy with imitation gold. I don't usually do this to real gold. If I want to add pigment I mix it into the wax with a pallete knife on a pallete.
 

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OH sure, Mister Fancy Pants, he's got a "Pallete" to use with his "Pallete Knife"... Ooooooo

Jeez Hippy, what ever happened to just good old use and throw scrap glass? LOL

I kind of like the Johnson because I can throw a wad of it on the glass and sprinkle down with tempra or analine then squish it out with another piece of glass before I start getting serious with the putty knife.

A little blow torch action on a cold day will get it right down to a rag-able slurry to rub on.

Sometimes when I want a very heavy coat of black wax, I'll torch and slurry on with a mop. The torching helps get rid of some of that "Vasaline" gooiness and it hardens nicer.

Mixing in some pumic, rotten, or whiting will act as a thickening agent and you can get some incredable build-up.
 

Terry Hart cpf

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Thats right, I not only use 'em but I sell 'em too. How many would you like? Your order will go out right after I spray this piece of cardboard with some 77 so I can wrap it with this old pillow case.
 

Woodworks by John

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Wow, thanks to all of you for sharing your techniques and expertise. Now to get back in the shop and try it all out, Again, thanks --- John
 

Woodworks by John

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Terry, I see a reference to "the rub" but must plead ignorance -- what the heck is that step? What I'm trying to achieve is a satiny gold finish without the glare, especially on the cove of the frames. My wife has bought frames from Hackman and she likes the finish but not the price so that's where I come in! Is there a different color of metal leaf that has that satin finish? No matter what, the shellac to seal creates a shine and I'm trying to knock that down. Anyway, thanks for answering and helping me live and learn in the gilding world. John
 

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Ahhhhh, experience, but without the knowledge... thereby lies "the rub".....

John, There are many ways to gather in the shine. My favorite and easiest manipulated is wax.

If you don't want to change or tone down the gold, then just use Johnson paste wax.. it's just about pure carnuba.

Wipe a liberal coat, [but not thick] rubbing the wax on. Let it then dry and cure to a haze. With a soft clean cloth, start polishing. The more you buff, the closer to shine you will get..

When you get to the satin without the glare that you want, stop.

There are brown, green, black, and red waxes that you can buy... or you can get multi-use pigments and mix your own.

If you want that dust of ages look and feel, then when you have finished putting on the wax, you can dust the frame down with rottenstone, or pumic. Then when you polish back most areas the stone dust will catch in the nooks and crannies.

For a lighter look, I let the wax set, then pounce the rag with pumic or rotten then rub with the stone. Careful though, it is very abrasive.
 

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Got to say at one time I thought I was pretty smart, but I have learned different here. I am always amazed at the different processes that go into this, need to take a class just to understand what is going on. Baer you make a lay person like myself understand pretty well what you are trying to accomplish. Thanks for that.

PL
 

Baer Charlton

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PL, for to many years, these processes that taken step by step are simple. And easy to understand.

It's putting it all together competently is the trick, and THAT, can take a lifetime.

But the more you learn, the more you understand.

.

.

.

.

[unfortunately, the more you know that you don't know, too.]
 

jframe

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Woodworks, have you tried buffing the shellac with fine steel wool to reduce the shine?

Edit:

I would buff it with steel wool then add past wax as Baer stated.
 

Terry Hart cpf

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If you brush on your shellac (light cut like 1 1/2 lb or so) and blot it right off with cheese cloth it breaks up the surface reflection so it looks less shiny. Ditto the wax & rottenstone as a final step. That will give you the over all soft look. The rub comes early right after laying the leaf. You really want to rub through to your base color at least a little. Rubbing metal leaf all over reduces the brassiness too. You can use fingers or cotton with rottenstone or the fine steel wool or even a rough cloth like horsehair or coarse linen. Depends on how agressive you want to get. Baers right, the steps are simple & basic. Sealing, rubbing/ (abraiding, slashing, pounding, burning) toneing, sealing/patina, finishing. The exact methods, sequence, materials & style are what you develop over time. Just keep at it.
 
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