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  #1  
Old 06-09-2008, 07:31 PM
beaulyons beaulyons is offline
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gilding

I am interested in gilding as an alternative to painting, coldcast bronze etc.
I work in a cement composite which I carve. I don't want to go through the process of molding and cast bronze (and the cost)

Why is guilding not used more often in sculpture. I searched on this forum on gilding and found very little.

Gilding seems to be mostly used for restoration or painting frames?

I was thinking of using copper sheet and dutch gold before trying out the more expensive gold or white gold.
Apparantly "true water gilding" is a bit difficult but I can't see why the transfer system can't be used.

Any comments would be appreciated.
Regards, Beau
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  #2  
Old 06-10-2008, 05:56 PM
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fritchie fritchie is offline
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Re: gilding

Most traditionally, gilding describes coverage with gold leaf, which was very expensive even before the recent skyrocketing of prices. One local painter used gold leaf as a central element in his large paintings for years, though I doubt he is doing so now.

I wouldn't describe coverage with copper foil as "gilding".
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  #3  
Old 06-28-2008, 09:43 PM
DRotblatt DRotblatt is offline
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Re: gilding

When gold was around 350/oz a book of gold leaf cost about $25 - the leaves where about 4" square, maybe 25 leaves to a book (it's been awhile). I would guess a book would cover a 16 x 16 area - maybe more. If you want to gild only certain areas that would not be too crazy $$.

I did illumination using traditional medieval techniques, but the modern process is similar. Once more, this has been a couple of decades, so this is from memory. First gesso the surface (medieval gesso is different then modern, but modern works). Allow the gesso to dry then paint with size - I used animal hide glue mixed with chalk, water color (so I could see where I had put it), and a drop of honey. I would warm it up to melt it. You can buy size - don't know if it works the same. Allow to dry, then with a straw blow on the size - the honey picks up the moisture from your breath and becomes sticky. Rub a special brush over your hair a few times to get some static, then pick up a sheet of gold leaf and lay it on the gesso. Smooth it down with the brush, then pick up scrap pieces or fold over the edge of the leaf over to the sized area to cover any cracks/rips in the surface. Burnish with a burnisher. Move some more scraps of leaf over the area and burnish again. The leaf will stick to the sized gesso and itself. It will polish up like a golden drop of mercury - looks gorgeous. The leaf will stick to anything sticky - paint, moisture, sticky fingerprints, etc.

You can also buy leaf with size on one side of the sheet. Don't know how that is applied,but that is what is used for leafing larger smooth areas (the ball on the top of a flagpole, etc.)
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  #4  
Old 06-28-2008, 10:02 PM
mettw mettw is offline
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Re: gilding

DRotblatt,
that is interesting, do you know if the gesso stage is essential? I can't imagine they use it for guilding metal sculptures. I'm asking because for a while I have wondered about using guilding on clear resin casting. My hope was that it would create a slight translucency like some types of marble, which seem to glow from within slightly.
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  #5  
Old 06-28-2008, 11:51 PM
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dondougan dondougan is offline
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Re: gilding

There are several different types of gilding -- the gesso (real rabbit-skin glue-type gesso - not the latex primer referred to as 'gesso') is used in the 'water-gilding' method which (when used with colored clay boles) allows the gilding to be burnished to a mirror sheen afterwards (see burnishing agates). Water gilding is quite labor-intensive, and so is not often used except for true precious-metals leafing (gold, platinum, silver) when the refinement of the finish is paramount.
Oil gilding is much more commonly-used for a more durable finish, and is the type used for architecture (capitol domes, usually with 18K gold), on glass (signage, also usually 18K gold), and for most gilding on a wide variety of materials including sculpture.
There is also a type of gilding (often called fire-gilding) used for covering bronze/metal castings wherein the gold is fused to the base metal through a process involving mercury (quite toxic, and not much used in the West any more).

Oil gilding is the easiest and most versatile method to learn, and it is the method commonly used for almost all the schlag or 'Dutch' metal leafing. Oil gilding uses a type of oil-based varnish -- called sizing -- which dries slowly and with a lengthy window of 'stickiness' wherein the metal leafing is applied. The final finishing is done at least twenty-four hours later -- after the sizing has dried completely. Many of the delicate refinements of the water-gilded finish (such as the burnishing to a mirror sheen) are not an option with oil gilding. The bright gold schlag metal or copper leafing will tarnish if left unsealed, as will sterling silver leaf. However, this quality also allows these metal leafings to have chemical patinas applied (delicately - the thin leafing will be completely oxidised/destroyed with too much chemical!) for a wide range of finishing options. Safety precautions should be used when applying the often-toxic patina chemicals.
Note that there are latex/acrylic versions of sizing available, but they are extremely limited in durability and range of finishing techniques -- but HEY! -- they clean-up with non-toxic water! <grin> NOT recomended for any serious work, but great for kid's projects.

There are a number of places on the web with tutorials and information on using leafing techniques. Some of the big names in the USA for wholesale supplies are Sepp and Easy-Leaf, and you can likely buy their stuff through local distributors. One online supplier that sells retail and has quite a bit of information is the site gildedplanet.com. Personally I've never bought from them (I buy local), but they are quite generous with 'how-to' information. Daniel Smith and Pearl Paint are also online suppliers generous with information.

Don
www.dondougan.com
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  #6  
Old 06-29-2008, 11:10 PM
beaulyons beaulyons is offline
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Re: gilding

Thank you all for the help.
I am currently using an oil size and dutch gold but intentd to use copper leaf next. I did find that with curved surfaces the pieces of leaf need to be cut smaller.
I am using a textured surface and the finish is very good. The leaf is a bit tricky to apply but you get used to it.
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  #7  
Old 06-30-2008, 12:28 AM
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Mr. Malloy Mr. Malloy is offline
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Re: gilding

I have been wanting to make a piece that, well... can I get and use aluminum leaf? I would be adhering it to steel. Is it doable?
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  #8  
Old 06-30-2008, 12:58 AM
cooljamesx1 cooljamesx1 is offline
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Re: gilding

malloy, have you considered having the piece plated in something? nickel, zinc chrome, etc.
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  #9  
Old 07-01-2008, 01:14 AM
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Mr. Malloy Mr. Malloy is offline
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Re: gilding

I have not considered plating. I imagine that that is big money
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  #10  
Old 07-03-2008, 12:59 AM
cooljamesx1 cooljamesx1 is offline
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Re: gilding

not sure for smaller items I imagine it may be affordable... with a little chemistry, a kiddy pool and a battery charger, you may be able to do it yourself?
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  #11  
Old 07-04-2008, 02:12 PM
Andrew Werby Andrew Werby is offline
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Re: gilding

There's some detailed information about the water-gilding process on my site, in the Alt Sculpture FAQs:

http://users.lmi.net/drewid/water_gilding_faq.html

Separately, I have some info about other methods in the Techniques of Sculpture section:

http://users.lmi.net/drewid/Gold_leaf.html

In general, it's easier to gild 3d surfaces with real loose gold leaf using sizing than with the fake stuff; the "Dutch" leaf, etc is easier to pick up but doesn't tear away from un-sized sections or crumple into place as well. If you're using the fake stuff, then you'll probably want to varnish over it; but it kills the surface of the real stuff to do that.

The leafing process will reveal every tiny imperfection in the surface it covers; if you don't want to see every little scratch and pit, you'll need to cover it with multiple layers of gesso, sanding each one, and take it almost to polish before applying the size. If you're thinking of gilding a concrete surface, try a sample piece before launching into it, just to see if you'll like how it looks.

Andrew Werby
www.unitedartworks.com
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  #12  
Old 07-05-2008, 09:17 AM
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dondougan dondougan is offline
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Re: gilding

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Malloy View Post
I have been wanting to make a piece that, well... can I get and use aluminum leaf? I would be adhering it to steel. Is it doable?
Sure. Oil size.
Aluminum will not need to be varnished afterwards unless you want to tone the color. I.e., - orange shellac is traditionally used to suggest a similarity to 'white gold,' and I find that a little burnt-umber added to my 'clear' varnish imparts a nice warm depth to the cold bright silver of the raw aluminum.

Don
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