Sorry for the slow follow up, I've been away a bit recently and not had time or computer access.
Doug, so would you recommend paint to smooth things over, or do you even apply the gilding to bare wood? It sounds like maybe I should try applying the varnish to fill the grain then apply the leaf - will I need to key the surface of the varnish to get the gold to bind to it?
I've been using Le Franc 3 Hour oil-based size (http://www.goldleafsupplies.co.uk/acata ... ml#SID=723
) giving it a little over the hour to tack - mostly based on the comments in the description there. I'm wondering if perhaps it might be an issue with the size and the tack rather than the surface?
I've added a few pictures below to show what I'm working with and the results so far. The letters are about 2" high, hopefully you can see what I mean about the gold looking a bit 'glittery', though maybe I'm expecting too perfect results? The close up does highlight that my carving perhaps isn't as neat and clean as it could be in places too!http://i1106.photobucket.com/albums/h36 ... 30_HDR.jpghttp://i1106.photobucket.com/albums/h36 ... 26_HDR.jpghttp://i1106.photobucket.com/albums/h36 ... 744877.jpg