Magic Eraser for excess gold removal

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Andrew Lawrence
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Joined: Sat Jun 29, 2013 1:06 pm

Magic Eraser for excess gold removal

Post by Andrew Lawrence » Mon Dec 02, 2013 10:53 pm

So lately I've run into some issues with removing excess gold on reverse glass work, specifically with the outlines painted first and then gilding method. The gilders excess removal brush works good, but can remove a little too much excess if ya know what I mean... rolled cotton with bon ami was then my go to - but bon ami is also an abrasive.

Then I had a Magic Eraser (melamine foam) around and gave it a whirl. Worked perfect. It's a foam sponge with microscopic pores that you use with the smallest amount of water. Paired with some rolled cotton to get the water - you'll be sitting pretty. Found that cutting it up into tiny pieces helps too as it removes gold well, but not typically paint. You can find it at any walgreens, cvs etc. It typically is called a "Magic Eraser" or "Foam Eraser" or something like that. As always, give it a test on whatever paint formulation your using - I'm using gilders back up black, hardener and naptha.

This discovery came at the end of doing a 19 gilded transoms here in partially sunny San Francisco. Got up to doing 3 in a day at one point!

Oh and this is my first post! I've been visiting this forum as a visitor off and on since maybe '07, but didn't really have much to say. Snapped that 6 year streak.

-Andrew

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Lee Littlewood
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Re: Magic Eraser for excess gold removal

Post by Lee Littlewood » Tue Dec 03, 2013 12:10 am

..."19 gilded transoms..."
How about some pix? Do you have a good chiropractor?

"Magic Eraser" - sounds like a good idea; I've never heard of such. But if you are trying to get rid of the little bit of "flash" from gold that wraps around the outlines on a Boston gild - yes, it is a pain. I've always used a Q-tip with a little bit of BonAmi and tried to be careful; this sounds better.

Why are you using hardener in your back-up? Are you planning to clear coat with an automotive product?
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Andrew Lawrence
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Re: Magic Eraser for excess gold removal

Post by Andrew Lawrence » Tue Dec 03, 2013 1:57 am

I could really use a good chiropractor. I've been in some serious hurt on and off throughout the job. Luckily these were able to be removed, but some of them weighed close to 75 pounds.

Attached a photo of the first pair I did. 1 & 5 were mine and the 15 was the only original left on the building. Building was built in 1914 so it's a hard guess as to how old that original 15 is, but managed to create a whole numeral set from it and other numerals from that era on old transoms. San Francisco has a wealth of em.


Hardener was for the gilders back up so that I could finish a transom from start to finish in a day. Used gilders window spar for the protective coat on the back. Although I doubt they'll ever be cleaned it's nice to have an extra layer of protection so that they last a little bit longer.

...I think Boston style is outline, burnished and matte gild but I'd have to consult with LeBlanc on that.
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Lee Littlewood
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Re: Magic Eraser for excess gold removal

Post by Lee Littlewood » Wed Dec 04, 2013 2:13 am

Nice work!
If the glass is old glass it makes the gold 'more active' somehow, so don't let a contractor "improve" the transoms if possible.
{I once did a series of 2nd floor gold names for a law firm - as LeBlanc says, you don't have to be super accurate, just spell it right. Anyway, when I got down to the street to look at them, some windows were way brighter than others, and I knew they were all done the same. I went back up and looked, and the brighter ones were old glass, 'tothers were modern. My guess is that the flow patterns in the old glass made the reflective gold seem different between our two eyes... Pat Mackle, do you have info?}

This kind of dectective/reconstruction work is lots of fun, and it gets you looking more carefully at what the old guys did. What shape did you use for the 7?
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Dan Seese
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Re: Magic Eraser for excess gold removal

Post by Dan Seese » Wed Dec 04, 2013 12:20 pm

Andrew,

Thanks for breaking your silence by sharing with us a great tip. I'll give it a try. I've found a small amount of "Splash" on cotton also works well for gold removal (something John Studden showed me).

Doing those transom addresses and trying to match the original style - looks like a nice job & very nicely executed. I hope your back recovers in time to do the work that will come through the door as a result of this project.

Lee: Keen observations about the differences between old glass & new! It would be interesting to understand the factors that contribute to the discrepancy.

I love the sleuth dimension of doing old work.
Dan
"The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne."
Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1340 - 1400)

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Andrew Lawrence
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Re: Magic Eraser for excess gold removal

Post by Andrew Lawrence » Fri Dec 06, 2013 6:39 pm

Yeah one thing I noticed was the brightness of the old gold on the glass. They had all the old transoms re-made at one point a few years back because they were all varied. The old glass was a little wavy (very slight) probably due to manufacturing methods.

The entire numeral set was based on existing numbers on transoms from that era that were found throughout the city, most in pretty poor shape after the years. Each thick and thin width of the numeral was duplicated based on the original 5 and 1. The 7 was based on an existing 7 which I'll try and find a photo of.

Thanks for the kind words Dan, always been a fan of your work! The cotton method with a splash is a good way to go, but a bit slower than the magical eraser... back's doing a little bit better, schedule is a bit rowdy, but not too many people banging down the door for the transom work, which is kind of a bummer because it's pretty good paying bread and butter gilding... that and I got a lot of gold left over from the job :D ! lol when's the next letterhead meet?

pat mackle
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Re: Magic Eraser for excess gold removal

Post by pat mackle » Sat Dec 07, 2013 12:19 am

In answer to Lee's question about the difference in brightness of the gold on older and newer glass my observations are as follows.
Older glass had less iron than todays newer glass. Also the older glass was probably a little thinner because they did not temper glass in those days. They will only temper double strength or thicker now a days.
Most glass used now a days is "double strength" 1/8" glass or thicker and the added iron contributes to the "Greenish" cast which affects the gold leaf. This green cast tends to make gold look brassy instead of bright gold.
Add to this that some current glass is greener (light to very dark green) when viewed through the edge than others depending on the manufacturer. Of course this green cast can be avoided by using a "low iron" content glass like "Starphiire" or "Diamonte" but both of those brands only come in 1/4" or thicker. Not in 1/8". Also they are nearly three times the cost of regular plate glass due to the higher temps and wear and tear those high temps cause to the batching oven which has to be rebuilt more often.
Not to be forgotten is the fact that older glass was made differently than today's glass. The glass that you find in those period transoms was in the transitional time of glass that was hand blown, and glass that was drawn. All glass today is "float glass". That is glass that is extruded into it's commercial thicknesses from between two precision honed quartz blades. This extruded thickness of glass then passes across the surface of molten baths of tin which are maintained at a lower melting temp than the melting point on glass. This allows the glass to cool down precisely as extruded to the lower melting point of the tin which cools the glass to the point where it can proceed down line on steel rollers without changing it's shape or thickness. In this state it continues as one long continuous ribbon into the annealing oven and after that it is cooled and cut into pieces to fit the shipping crates and shipped on to the major glass distributors.
The fact that earlier glass was made in such a way that it had imperfections (ripples and seeds) in it's surface also adds to the brighter look of gold on glass because the naturally imperfect reflective surface picked up and reflected light on multiple planes, causing the gilded letters to move and ungulate brightly when the viewer passed by, in a way that perfectly flat mirror quality float glass manufactuered today just can't do.
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Lee Littlewood
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Re: Magic Eraser for excess gold removal

Post by Lee Littlewood » Sat Dec 07, 2013 12:47 am

So, Pat,

the "float glass" will have one side 'tinned' by being in contact with liquid tin? And one can detect which side is which with a blacklight? ...for all the good it'll do you; if the glass is in place you work on the side you can work on.

I have in my imagination a vision of a 'sausage' of glass being pulled up from a vat of liquid glass. Somehow pulled clear of the liquid, then moved over and the tube laid on a big metal table. Then slit down the length and heated enough to relax and lay flat on the table.
Is this even approximately correct? It would sure explain the flow patterns one sees in old glass.
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pat mackle
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Re: Magic Eraser for excess gold removal

Post by pat mackle » Sat Dec 07, 2013 3:57 pm

Yes, Lee. The earliest way of making sheet glass was to gather it on a pipe and spin it into a flat disc of glass, much like pizza dough is spun into a flat sheet. Then after the glass cooled square sections of glass were cut from the disc to become window panes. The center "spud" of glass that was attached to the pipe was also sold at a cheaper price because it was very imperfect for viewing through but allowed light to pass through just as well as the more perfect panes that were cut from the spun disc. Various sized remnants of this center "spud" of glass eventually became popular as decoration. Especially when made of colored glass. They came to be used in stained glass windows and are known as "rondels"or "roundels" or "rondelles". The spelling seems to vary depending on the country of origin and sometimes just the spelling one chooses.
An improvement to spinning glass, and thus it's yielded size restrictions came hand blown sheet glass. In this way, a large thick glass bubble was blown by a blower standing high on a scaffold. The bubble was reheated and swung below the scaffold to elongate into a sausage length of glass. Any small air bubbles within this hand gather glass would stretch into very long slender bubbles called "seeds". You will find these seeds in the older homes of that period. When cooled, this sausage length of glass would be scored and run down it's length. This placed into an oven where it was monitored by a worker with a pole. As the glass softened the worker would open the glass tube out onto a shelf within the oven until it was fully flat. This method of glass making left the glass with slight waves, long seeds and various indentations in the surface from dust/grit particles that were present on the kiln shelf. If this glass was required to be of a higher optical quality say for that used in mirrors. They would grind and polish both sides of the sheet with large disc grinding machines.
Eventually the Pittsburgh Plate Company adopted the method of mechanically drawing very large cylinders of glass from batches of molten glass. These large cylinders were also scored and opened as their earlier hand blown predecessors had been. Also ground and polished for better optics if needed.
It was not until the Pilkington Brothers developed the "float glass" process that glass emerged from a molten state into glass that was so perfect that it could be made into mirrors directly for the annealing over. And that is also why float glass retains a very small hint of tin metal on one side. Crate glass comes with an arrow mark on the side of the crate indicating which side of the glass is the tin side. Otherwise you can detect the tin side with a small hand held ultra violet mineral light. The arrow on the crate is primarily there for mirror manufactures and also it as been told to me for machines that do CNC cutting. Supposedly the cutter heads last longer if the non tin side is scored and not the tin side. I sort of suspect this is a myth. I hand cut either side of glass, and my cutters last many years.
As a side note to the patterns or "stringers" one sees in old glass. This may happen simply because of the way that glass of that period was hand gathered and blown out, but also do to the fact that as the molten batch of glass is heated over time, a certain amount of the fluxes and flow agents formulated in the batch burn away or leach out. This can alter the even viscosity of the gather as it is blown and stretched out. This effect is not as easily seen with today's "continuous batching" glass furnaces. In this current style of furnace, raw materials are continuously weighed and fed into the back of the furnace. As these materials eventually convect and flow through the furnace, they melt, de-gas, and flow as a fresh uniform batch ready to be metered between quartz blades as plate glass on towards the annealing oven.
Pat
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Last edited by pat mackle on Sun Dec 08, 2013 12:14 am, edited 3 times in total.

Tyler Tim
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Re: Magic Eraser for excess gold removal

Post by Tyler Tim » Sat Dec 07, 2013 7:20 pm

And they had Vertical Draw glass. Seen a program some time back on PBS I believe about glass making.

Image

The Fourcault Process is a method of manufacturing flat glass. First developed in Belgium by Émile Fourcault during the early 1900s, the process was used globally. Fourcault is an example of a "vertical draw" process, in that the glass is drawn against gravity in an upward direction. Gravity forces influence parts of the process.


Hartford City Glass Company was among the top three window glass manufacturers in the United States between 1890 and 1899, and continued to be one of the nation's largest after its acquisition. It was also the country's largest manufacturer of chipped glass, with capacity double that of its nearest competitor. The company's works was the first of eight glass plants that existed in Hartford City, Indiana during the Indiana Gas Boom. It became the city's largest manufacturer and employer, peaking with 600 employees.

Many of the skilled workers employed at the Hartford City Glass Company were from Belgium,

Image

In 1899, Hartford City Glass was acquired by the American Window Glass Company, which controlled 85 percent of the American window glass manufacturing capacity.

Image
Fourcault Process Glass
Sure I paint thing for my amusement and then offer them for sale. A brushslinger could whither en die from lack of creativity in this plastic town my horse threw a shoe in. :shock:

Doug Bernhardt
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Re: Magic Eraser for excess gold removal

Post by Doug Bernhardt » Sat Dec 07, 2013 11:31 pm

There you have it. That beautiful ripple in a gild is SO amazing. I also have gilded both modern plate and old float glass and this "clarity" is what makes it a little over the top. The mishappen surface giving it the extra zip. I've spent the extra to buy new/old glass at a local stained glass supplier but the problem can be with sizes available. Well at least here north of the 49th. Welcome aboard!

Andrew Lawrence
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Re: Magic Eraser for excess gold removal

Post by Andrew Lawrence » Sun Dec 08, 2013 3:44 pm

Thank you so much Pat for that bit of history. There is definitely a noticeable difference between the old and new gilds, with the new appearing darker and the old appearing very bright still after the 60+ years it was done. I'll inspect it further once I am on site again.

In other related glass news, I surface gilded an office door in this building... surface gild because the glass was opaque milk glass or something of the like (perhaps you can chime in on this). Well the gild went well, but there were some factors that made it hard to get truly precise lines - those factors being that the exterior of the glass had a slight wave in it. The interior of the glass was rough as I remember. Made for a tricky gild, but I think it came out alright and the client liked it.

The process was:
Cleaned, pounced, Painted metallic gold one shot
painted in the size with Ron's quick size, gilded
and then outlined.
Came back and clear coated the thing with Ron's window spar
since I foresaw it being touched.

Attached are the photos
Attachments
Gold-Leaf360-Skin.jpg
Gold-Leaf360-Skin.jpg (201.44 KiB) Viewed 7713 times

Kevin W Betz
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Re: Magic Eraser for excess gold removal

Post by Kevin W Betz » Fri Jan 03, 2014 7:33 pm

Hi Andrew.
What was the reason for the 1 Shot Paint ?
To cover Holidays ?

Kevin

Andrew Lawrence
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Re: Magic Eraser for excess gold removal

Post by Andrew Lawrence » Tue Jan 07, 2014 12:29 am

The reason for the one shot gold paint on the surface gild was in case there were any holidays that happened with the surface gild. That and it's a whole lot easier to lay size over a gold paint where you can see where your the size is going rather than just the glass. A little bit longer of a process and not exactly necessary, but the glass was older and had a slight wave to it so I was just covering all my bases really :D

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