My letters scratch away when i try copper glassgilding

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Pierre Raveleau
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Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2018 4:30 am

My letters scratch away when i try copper glassgilding

Post by Pierre Raveleau » Thu Mar 15, 2018 5:27 am

Hi everyone,

I discovered that forum a few months back and it has brought me great support, so thank you all for that !
I spent 2017 training myself in glass gilding using gelatin size, and I am now ready to take jobs using gold leaves.

I am posting now because of a client's special request that I am not sure i can handle...He wants mirror looking copper color letters on his window door. I have been running tests with copper leaves and gelatin size for over a week now and i am having huge problems when taking off the excess copper. Where, with the same backup paint or backupvarnish, i have no problem with gold, it becomes very hard with copper.

My best options were strong glycerophtalique coat + one shot hardener or strong glycerophtalique paint + one shot hardener but in any cases, i ALWAYS end up scratching my letters, even using extra care.

If you have any idea on what to backup copperleaves with in order for the letters not to be scratched, it would really help me !

Thanks for your time and greetings from France,

Pierre

Andrew Lawrence
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Re: My letters scratch away when i try copper glassgilding

Post by Andrew Lawrence » Fri Mar 16, 2018 6:12 pm

You should try using red gold instead of copper leaf. Copper is too thick to get a clean edge with unless you do your outlines first. Also don't use one shot to back up or for outlines, use nazdar fast dry enamel - I believe Handover in UK sells it.

Pierre Raveleau
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Re: My letters scratch away when i try copper glassgilding

Post by Pierre Raveleau » Sun Mar 18, 2018 7:22 am

Hello Andrew,

Thank you very much for your answer. I wish I could use red gold instead, but the color seems very different and not as red/pink as copper is.
I used for my tests Nazdar back up paint from AS Handover just as you said + a little bit of hardener. It actually works if extra care taken when taking off the excess copper. For the excess copper, I use water with a little bit of "blanc de meudon" to make it more abrasive.
Thanks for the help again !
Pierre

Chris Rummell
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Re: My letters scratch away when i try copper glassgilding

Post by Chris Rummell » Sun Mar 18, 2018 1:58 pm

I'm not sure how abrasive Blanc de Meudon is (looks like it's calcium carbonate), but you might try the Pierre d'Argent cleaner. It's gentler on the paint edges and works with a tiny amount of moisture. Be sure to clean off the slightly oily residue it leaves behind before moving on.

Danny Baronian
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Re: My letters scratch away when i try copper glassgilding

Post by Danny Baronian » Sun Mar 18, 2018 2:51 pm

For those in North America, Pierre d'Argent goes by the name Shadazzle available through Amazon; both are one and the same.

https://www.shadazzlecleaner.com/

It's also great for cleaning gold off of glass after backing up w/ paint, and is less abrasive than whiting and ammonia or Bon Ami.

Danny
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Andrew Lawrence
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Re: My letters scratch away when i try copper glassgilding

Post by Andrew Lawrence » Mon Mar 19, 2018 1:19 pm

Just because a client wants something doesn't mean it is possible or practical. I'd just tell them that it is not feasible due to technical limitations. Furthermore, the water size is going to oxidize the copper and turn it brown or green over time.

Pierre Raveleau
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Re: My letters scratch away when i try copper glassgilding

Post by Pierre Raveleau » Thu Mar 22, 2018 8:02 am

Thanks for your answers. I agree with you Andrew about telling the client about technical limitations. It willl come to this i think. I just thought at first that i had a product missing.
Thanks Danny, i will give Pierre d'argent a try !

Alex Sheldon
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Re: My letters scratch away when i try copper glassgilding

Post by Alex Sheldon » Thu Mar 22, 2018 12:47 pm

Shadazzle has some suspect copy on the side of the product packaging, "leaves a protective coating". I haven't noticed any adhesion or cloudiness from using it, but curious to hear from others who have tried it.
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In my experience with Shadazzle, it scrubs like Bon Ami and was more effective than using distilled water with cotton or a removal brush. I haven't noticed a major advantage to using it over Bon Ami in terms of abrasive qualities. Tests were done with Letterhead Sign Supply Back Up.

Shadazzle comes in a convenient cake form like the old Bon Ami cakes; but unlike Bon Ami, it's round. I don't know why there is a trend for round cakes (Shadazzle and Letterhead Sign Supply "Gilders Soap") because they seem to take up more space in the kit. Round circles seems like such an odd choice to shape a bar of soap... but I digress.

Whiting powder is a less abrasive option to Bon Ami or Shadazzle. It can also be used to clean glass, improve visability of surface gilding gilding on glass, resist for surface gilding, and be used to pounce in a pinch.

Dan Seese
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Re: My letters scratch away when i try copper glassgilding

Post by Dan Seese » Tue Mar 27, 2018 9:50 am

I'm coming in late on the conversation but I'll just confirm (from my experience) what you've already concluded: You can't really apply copper leaf with a water gild. Even if you increase the amount of gelatin in your size, it's just too heavy.
Andrew's suggestion to use red gold is a good one. I realize that the color doesn't have enough copper for your customer's liking, but one thing you could try is have a bit of regular gold or even 18kt gold as highlights. Color perception changes in relation whatever colors are used around it. To use a lighter gold as an accent would serve to "bring out" the copper color in the red gold.
Or perhaps you could use the regular gold as water gilded bright lines and then use the copper leaf for matte centers.
Or just suggest that you do the whole thing with the copper as a matte gild (oil size) rather than trying to do a water gild.
Just trying to think of creative solutions for you to still incorporate the copper or red gold.
Dan
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Rich Hawthorne
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Re: My letters scratch away when i try copper glassgilding

Post by Rich Hawthorne » Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:48 am

Water gilded copper leaf is nearly impossible in my experience. Here is a piece I water gilded copper on about three years ago. It is a lousy gild with lots of cracks and areas which would not burnish flat because the copper leaf is so thick. To get a smooth mirror finish I had to get a leaf down without any folds, wrinkles or cracks. As for backup, I think I just used oil size with some copper mica powder in it for color. Seemed to work well and I've not had any problem with the copper scratching off. I expect the copper gild to change color as it oxidizes. Sorry for the lousy picture. Best of luck.

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Pierre Raveleau
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Re: My letters scratch away when i try copper glassgilding

Post by Pierre Raveleau » Fri May 11, 2018 3:35 am

Thanks for your answers Rich and Dan, i just saw them.
Coppet is definitely too thick. Thanks Rich for the picture, it helps !

Doug Bernhardt
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Re: My letters scratch away when i try copper glassgilding

Post by Doug Bernhardt » Mon Jun 18, 2018 8:58 pm

For what it's worth I concur with Dan and Rich. It "may" be possible to water gild with copper but I'm sure the level of expertise required is considerable and the time much the same. I asked the late great Rick Glawson about this very subject 25 or 30 years ago and is advice was the same as above. It may be worth looking into Sarah King's solution gilding kits. I believe they do have a copper.

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