Sandblasted Letter Gilding

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Robare M. Novou
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Sandblasted Letter Gilding

Post by Robare M. Novou » Tue Apr 16, 2013 8:34 am

Over the years I have done some gilding, but I have never gilded depth carved (sandblasted) lettering on glass.

I have a vague idea of what to do...but I want to make sure I am doing it right by asking anyone on this forum if they have some advise for gilding this type of glass lettering.

I have clear fast size and clear slow size, along with loose and patent gold leaf.

Or would I use water size to apply the gold leaf to the sandblasted lettering?

You can see by the attached photo how deep the letters are.

I should also mention that the letters are blasted on the back of the glass.

Thanks in advance!
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Larry White
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Re: Sandblasted Letter Gilding

Post by Larry White » Tue Apr 16, 2013 9:43 am

I like to first seal the sand carving with Frog Juice (because its optically clear).
The gild always comes out brighter if it's water gilded, however, due to
the small size of the letters, it would be better and easier to surface gild them,
or perhaps use mica powder rather than gold leaf.
Larry White
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Rich Hawthorne
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Re: Sandblasted Letter Gilding

Post by Rich Hawthorne » Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:12 am

I've done it many times and normally use slow size and loose leaf rather than patent. Keep in mind that the texture of the sandblasted glass will impact the look of the gild. As Larry said, water gilding it going to be brighter but because of the sandblast texture you will not get a bright mirror finish with water gilding. Here is a quick picture of a piece I did for a customer a couple of years ago. The top of the box is sandblasted and gilded on the reverse side of the glass. Only the text and logo is gilded, the lions are gilt varnish and the rest is paint. I will have to try the frog juice idea Larry mentions as a way to get a smoother texture to the surface being gilded.
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Robare M. Novou
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Re: Sandblasted Letter Gilding

Post by Robare M. Novou » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:46 pm

Thanks for the good advice guys...will have to try all your suggestions out to see which final result the customer will go with.

How would I remove the extra gold leaf from the non-blasted glass? I'm thinking single edge razor. But I have seen the flat leather block demo...would I use that in lieu of the razor blade?


Also, in lieu of frog juice...could I use Florence Japan or one of those other cecil/glawson clear varnishes?
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Dan Seese
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Re: Sandblasted Letter Gilding

Post by Dan Seese » Tue Apr 16, 2013 7:16 pm

Hi Robare,
I've normally used Frog Juice, like Larry says. I don't see why a varnish wouldn't work as well, though you probably can't avoid having a very slight varnish tint to it.
For removal, just as you note, I've used a new, sharp razor blade. Be careful because if you don't pay attention it can drop down in a gilded crevice. Not familiar with the flat leather block demo.
That will look good when it's done.
Dan
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Robare M. Novou
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Re: Sandblasted Letter Gilding

Post by Robare M. Novou » Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:54 pm

Several Samples have been completed.

1. regular glass - varnish fast size - 23k gold skewings.

2. regular glass - varnish fast size - bronze powder.

3. "Starlite” low iron glass - varnish fast size - 23k gold skewings.

4. "Starlite" low iron glass - varnish fast size - bronze powder.

The "Starlite" glass is an extremely clear glass with no green tint to it.
The gold and the bronze were equally impressive looking using "Starlite" glass.

Both the 23k gold and bronze powder had a green tint to it when using the regular glass.

And the winner is.....Number 3! You just cant beat that ultra clear low iron glass...it's like night and day.

We left the mask on after blasting, which really helped with the cleanup after we finished gilding.

I'll try and post some photos showing how the clearness varies between the two glasses, and a side by side of the gilding.

I don't think I will ever use regular glass again.

Thanks again for all the helpful suggestions!
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Dan Seese
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Re: Sandblasted Letter Gilding

Post by Dan Seese » Wed Apr 17, 2013 10:09 am

Robare,
Thanks for the report on your experiments. Looking forward to seeing the comparison pics.
I was going to recommend leaving the mask on after blasting for your gilding but I had thought the piece was already completed so I didn't mention it. I like to leave the mask on, airbrush the Frog Juice & gold size and then gild. The mask really does help and then it's just a matter of cleaning up the edges slightly after you remove the mask.
Dan
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erik winkler
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Re: Sandblasted Letter Gilding

Post by erik winkler » Wed Apr 17, 2013 2:50 pm

I have used this same technique, but was wandering if the frog juice is so much better then a high quality polyurthane clear?
Or maybe even a Oneshot UV clear?

I removed the mask, because I wanted to clean out the sandblast dust that could be collected in the lettering with water and a toothbrush.
Then razorbladed the excess clear.
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Dan Seese
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Re: Sandblasted Letter Gilding

Post by Dan Seese » Thu Apr 18, 2013 7:40 am

Erik,
If I'm not mistaken, Frog Juice & 1-Shot UV Clear Acrylic are basically the same thing - technically speaking. Not sure about polyurethane clear. Kent Smith could probably help out here if he happens to check into the forum.
Dan
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Kent Smith
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Re: Sandblasted Letter Gilding

Post by Kent Smith » Fri Apr 19, 2013 3:15 pm

Clear acrylics work well for this purpose but gold size will not adhere well to the polyurethane. We used to use gold size, quick rubbing varnish or WW window spar, depending upon desired dry time. Any will work and the more orange varnish tended to mitigate the green glass issue. In the 50's though we could get water white clear glass, much less expensive than Starlite...those were the days. I too order in Starlite though for panel work.

Ash Bishop
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Re: Sandblasted Letter Gilding

Post by Ash Bishop » Fri Apr 19, 2013 4:24 pm

Just a quick question whilst we are on the subject, but when deep blasitng what grade media are you lads using. I find that it takes me a long time to get any depth in my blasting. I think I'm using 180/220 grit in a Guyson glass cabinet and the compressor has plenty of CFM although it might not all be being used.

Years ago I had a different compressor and cabinet and don't remeber it being an issue.

Any advice gratefully recieved.

Rich Hawthorne
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Re: Sandblasted Letter Gilding

Post by Rich Hawthorne » Fri Apr 19, 2013 5:58 pm

What kind of abrasive are you using? If it is anything other than silicon carbide it is probably dull and hence not cutting well (i.e., quickly).

pat mackle
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Re: Sandblasted Letter Gilding

Post by pat mackle » Sun Apr 21, 2013 3:38 pm

Ash,
This pertains most of all if you are using a pressure pot system over a siphon system. If you are blasting with 180-220 mesh and have plenty if CFM and pressure, the next thing to address is is your blasting nozzle.
Your blasting nozzle is very important and the final control as to how your blasting media strikes the glass, and thus your depth etching speed. Check the "choke" area on your chosen nozzle.
This conical area is formed within the nozzle by the manufacturer and determines the focus of the media as it leaves the nozzle. Basically there is the conical area, and the tube area.
There is also a need to assess what type of material your nozzles are made of. Do not use ceramic nozzles because their focus changes(wears down) quickly. Tungstun carbide is what you should be using, and if you can afford boron nitride(my preference) you will be far impressed with the even wear and long nozzle life- well worth the extra money!
Generally, a lesser angled cone and shorter tube will make a wider, softer etch,(good for frosting larger areas) while a steeper angled cone and longer tube will result in a more tightly focused, faster etch, which is better for depth etching of letters and thinner lines and borders.

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