Problem With Water Gilding

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Andrey Kolmakov
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Problem With Water Gilding

Post by Andrey Kolmakov » Wed May 22, 2013 5:16 am

Hi! I have a problem with gilding :( When I start to take off the gold leaf, it is removed with paint :( I used 191-L imitation gold 1 shot enamel. Whats a problem ? this may be because I'm using is not pure gold?
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this is how it looks
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it is paint that i use
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Mike Jackson
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Re: Problem With Water Gilding

Post by Mike Jackson » Wed May 22, 2013 8:35 am

Andrew,
I'll throw out a few points of discussion. It will be difficult to pinpoint the problem initially.

1: It is difficult to tell by looking at the photo how large the sheets of gold are. If they are around 3" square and if you pait around $2 per leaf, it is probably real gold. The last pack of gold I bought was over $1100 for 500 leaves. The book (25 leaves) should say on it, too. If you bought a pack of gold (500 leaves or 20 books), the box will say. If the leaves are closer to 5" square, they are probably Dutch metal. The cost per sheet is only pennies or dimes. A book of Dutch Metal might be $5-10. Dutch metal is much harder to work with on glass, and not recommended for water gilding.

2: You glass may not have been cleaned well enough and/or your water size might be too weak.

3: Most importantly, One Shot lettering enamel is not a recommended paint for backing up and cleaning off gold. If you don't already own it, buy Kent Smith's Gold Leaf Techniques book. Also, contact Letterhead Sign Supply and buy some of their Gold Leaf Backup Paint. When we were doing more gold work, Colonial Screen Ink was still available. Rick Glawson used to sell smaller tubes he poured from quarts and gallons. Maybe others can advise you on what they are using now....Roderick, Larry, or Bruce?

Lastly, and I say this like a broken record here, you REALLY should be doing small test pieces when you are learning something new. What we are seeing in the photos above is a prime example of the issue. It cost you a lot of money to lay that many leaves to find out you are probably using the wrong backup paint (or any of the other possibilities). Everyone has gone through similar experiences, so welcome to the club, but this experience will probably teach you how important it is to do small test pieces first. I am sure others will follow my post with additional suggestions.

Best of luck with the new process, now and in the future..
Mike Jackson / co-administrator
Golden Era Studios
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Robare M. Novou
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Re: Problem With Water Gilding

Post by Robare M. Novou » Wed May 22, 2013 8:50 am

It could be weak size, try using some more gelatin.

It looks like you did not let the size dry.

It also looks like you did not burnish the gold with cotton after the size dried.

I see that you painted over the wrinkled leaf.

You may have been to aggressive with your cleaning by using too much water, as the leaf looks like it was all re-wetted.

Have you gilded before.?
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Andrey Kolmakov
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Re: Problem With Water Gilding

Post by Andrey Kolmakov » Thu May 23, 2013 1:46 am

Thanks Mike Jackson & Robare M. Novou for cooperation.
I used not pure gold. I thought I could gild not too expensive Gold Leaf. Probably too little gelatin. is my third attempt of gilding.

Lee Littlewood
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Re: Problem With Water Gilding

Post by Lee Littlewood » Thu May 23, 2013 2:15 am

Actually, Andrey, it looks like a nice job of gilding. You are going over acid etched letters on glass, correct?

In the first photo there is some nice mirror in back of the letter "S", but not elsewhere. As Robare says, that would indicate that the size has not completely dried - it should all be a mirror, wherever it is still dull there is water under the metal and it will come right off. Look from the front for dull spots too. There is a lot of waiting in watergilding, just think of yourself as a ZenGilder.

If that really is brass leaf, it will take much longer to dry, and require more gelatin in the size. And then you'll practically need epoxy for the back-up paint to be tough enough to withstand the scrubbing. Watergilding brass or varigated can be very pretty, but it may be best in big panels with simple outlines that you can clean off with a razor blade.
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Andrey Kolmakov
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Re: Problem With Water Gilding

Post by Andrey Kolmakov » Thu May 23, 2013 6:32 am

Lee, thanks for the advice. i really gilded over acid etched letters. All three times, when i try gilded I could not get to all the size were like gold mirror. It is can be if i used too little water ??? In this case i waited 4 days, before i try to remove gold leaf. And sorry for my bad english. I hope you will understand what I mean :)

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Re: Problem With Water Gilding

Post by Kent Smith » Thu May 23, 2013 8:47 am

I have been getting emails to respond to this post so here are my thoughts. Looking at your photos and description, I see many errors each of which or all of them collectively will result in failure, as indicated by others. Successful gilding requires developing a thoughtful step by step process to which you adhere. I have developed such a process based upon LeBlanc's description and my experience and training. At the risk of sounding like I am trying to sell books, if you follow the steps in Gold Leaf Techniques, you can successfully gild. I also realize that each gilder will have their own variations to the process that they will develop over time. I would hope that the text book can be used as a reference guide to help one through the process then as those personal techniques are developed. For a new gilder however, it is important to have the correct materials no matter the cost, follow procedure, test and realize that it takes a lot of practice to accomplish your first project.

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Re: Problem With Water Gilding

Post by Mike Jackson » Thu May 23, 2013 8:56 am

Andrey,
There is a delicate balance required in amount of gelatin you need in your water size. Too little and it will not stick well enough to the glass to allow you to burnish it down with cotton and remove the excess leaf. Too much gelatin, and it becomes very difficult to remove excess gold outside the backed up letters.

Now that we had more info, it becomes more apparent the back up paint is most of the problem. It is simply not tough enough to stand up to the step where you clean off the excess gold. But, you still need to experiment to determine how much gelatin you need in your size for best results.

Everyone here is muttering to themselves they'd wish you use 23k gold for a step like this. The Dutch metal is very difficult to work with for water gilding and not many people here would go that route. And, time to spin that record again, you really should be learning on small pieces of glass instead of attempting it on a large piece.
Mike Jackson / co-administrator
Golden Era Studios
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Tyler Tim
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Re: Problem With Water Gilding

Post by Tyler Tim » Thu May 23, 2013 12:27 pm

I have in the past backed up leaf with 1 Shot and never had a failure of that nature.

It looks like you are changing the inscription on a vintage glass plate not following the old acid etch in a restoration effort. Would like to see a front photo of the glass as it looks interesting from the backside.

Also you said not pure gold... I wounder if it's not gold on base? As you mentioned waiting four days and it still appears wet. So if it is the cheap gold on base could that be the issue? Seems I remember reading someone bought some of the cheap gold on base... it was ok for surface gilding but failed to water gild. Have to believe that's what it would looked like.

How are you making your size and what are you making it in?
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:

Andrey Kolmakov
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Re: Problem With Water Gilding

Post by Andrey Kolmakov » Fri May 24, 2013 12:24 am

I used gold on base leaf. From Thailand. Here is a front photo of the glass. I think if some leaf look like a mirror, then other leaf can make it to. just need to find a way.
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Mark Summers
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Re: Problem With Water Gilding

Post by Mark Summers » Fri May 24, 2013 3:47 pm

Mike is right about the 1-Shot not being your best backup choice. It was
back in the day. My question is how you rubbed off the excess. Did you get everything really wet and then rub? My failures have been when I got the background too wet and then rubbed off with cake BonAmi. Really kinda dry pasty is what works for me.

Mark

Tyler Tim
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Re: Problem With Water Gilding

Post by Tyler Tim » Fri May 24, 2013 8:11 pm

Andrey

So you are gilding the etch... I seen the unpainted P and part of the M and thought otherwise.. you must of been antsy do move to the next step :lol: . So it's gold on base... like I said I think some one here tried water gilding and commented it was not really good for that. Maybe they'll pop in and comment. From the way you backed up you don't have a bright line around the letter. So why not just lay some oil size on the etch and lay gold? Or if your set on water gilding start fresh and really clean the glass good. I'd make the size a little on the strong side... like for silver... lay leaf and leave it till it's dry and goes mirror. Rub down with cotton wad. Then do a second gild... but with oil size over the etched lettering. Then paint on your backup. If you have nothing better then 1 Shot... let it fully dry for a few days. When you do your clean up use a damp not wet.. damp wad of cotton and a little Bon Ami or whiting. Work with the letter strokes with light pressure. Take your time it's not a race.

Tim
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:

John Studden
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Re: Problem With Water Gilding

Post by John Studden » Sat May 25, 2013 12:39 pm

If you were to varnish size the acid stipple the texture would simply disappear, you need to get some real Gold & start again. Bon Ami is only good for cleaning glass not removing gold......It creates a sort of grinding paste that will remove everything eventually, get yourself a stiff bristle brush like the Jordan brush from Letterhead supplies, a far better & safer way to remove gold. They also sell back up enamel just for this purpose & Gelatin diamonds...., 1 shot these days is just not suitable as a back up, maybe it was 20 years ago!. Do as suggested by others & just try one letter first, Gild, burnish, Gild again...bright line & fill...also use only surgical grade cotton or a good quality make up brush for burnishing between gilds, ultra cleanliness is the key to clean work. I know this artwork we did a version of this a few years ago with Larry & some of the other guys at a weekend get together, turned out real nice....Good Luck
John Studden
Valencia Signs, California

Andrey Kolmakov
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Re: Problem With Water Gilding

Post by Andrey Kolmakov » Fri May 31, 2013 4:20 am

Thanks a lot, guys ! I am sure I will succeed. This weekend I will try again.

Andrey Kolmakov
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Re: Problem With Water Gilding

Post by Andrey Kolmakov » Thu Jul 25, 2013 12:26 am

Hello, guys! Recently, I received a parcel with real gold.I tried to gild them. Here are the pictures of what happened. Again spots :(
What could it be? I have tried with varying amounts of gelatin. But the result is the same...
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Danny Baronian
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Re: Problem With Water Gilding

Post by Danny Baronian » Thu Jul 25, 2013 2:16 am

Andrey,

where did you get the glass, is it standard clear plate glass, or non glare glass as used in picture frames?

Looking at your pictures, the glass seems to have a haze, or slight fog, which is typical of non glare glass. It could be from the ambient lighting, I don't know.

If it is non glare that could be a problem.
Danny Baronian
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Andrey Kolmakov
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Re: Problem With Water Gilding

Post by Andrey Kolmakov » Thu Jul 25, 2013 2:23 am

It's a ordinary glass. These glare because gold leaf is not tightly adhered to the glass. I think so...

Tyler Tim
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Re: Problem With Water Gilding

Post by Tyler Tim » Thu Jul 25, 2013 11:17 am

Andrey,

What size is your leaf and what brand? Also what type of water are you using and in what type of vessel are you heating your size in. How hot did you get the size? What are you using to mop on your size?

Have you tried taking hot water and flooding the gild? Sometimes you can remove cloudiness by slowly pouring hot water down from just above the top of the leaf with it standing up. Let it dry and burnish it see if that helps.

(Edited to add)

On second look the glass does seem to be matted or have a slight texture to it. Even the cloth material looks to be distorted some. So maybe Danny right could be some funky 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:

Andrey Kolmakov
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Re: Problem With Water Gilding

Post by Andrey Kolmakov » Thu Jul 25, 2013 9:14 pm

Hi, Tyler !

I used destilled water and gelatin. Size poured in plastic cup. I heat it in microwave to 40-60 C. I did not wipe the size. I just smear brush on glass. Then i put leafe gold on glass. And wait some time. Then I polish with cotton. I tried to water after application of gold leaf above, but could not get the glue under the leaf.

Tyler Tim
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Re: Problem With Water Gilding

Post by Tyler Tim » Fri Jul 26, 2013 12:42 am

Andrey Kolmakov wrote:Hi, Tyler !

I used destilled water and gelatin. Size poured in plastic cup. I heat it in microwave to 40-60 C. I did not wipe the size. I just smear brush on glass. Then i put leafe gold on glass. And wait some time. Then I polish with cotton. I tried to water after application of gold leaf above, but could not get the glue under the leaf.
Ok I think the cup maybe the issue... could be off gassing when heated and polluting the size with plasticizers. I use a stainless coffee cup or a porcelain quart pan and Sterno canned fuel to heat, I place the halved capsule into the water and let them swell and gel for 5 to 10 minutes. Then I heat lightly moving water in cup around till caps are fully dissolved and a little steam rise off surface of water and get some small air bubbles coming up from the bottom of the cup. If you can pick up a stainless cup and some Sterno and go old school heating for your size.

Yeah the hot water flood was a long shot as I did not know how long the leaf had sat. Normally it is done within a short time of laying gold.

Are you doing this flat or with the glass on edge? Cause with the term smearing it kind of suggests flat. Size to my understanding is flooded on above the area your gilding should flow down in a sheet so it wets the glass. And the glass kept wet. I know Smith and White others here make it look SO easy and I'm no master that's for sure. But I feel your frustration as I have been there.

As we speak I have a nine foot sign with 10" gold lettered main copy.. slow sized gilded at whisper tack... dang near dried out. All looked good. But next day, two of the letters developed flat drowned streaks.. don't know why.. humidity spike... heat and a half a hair thicker from over lapping stroke... I guess maybe :? . Can't just fix those letter as it'll make them richer with a double gild. Can't strip with out ruining background. Can't spin it to hide defect... would not go with business image. So have to re gild all.

Anyway give the old school heating method a try and see if that clears up your gold.
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:

Kent Smith
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Re: Problem With Water Gilding

Post by Kent Smith » Sat Jul 27, 2013 9:40 am

I would be more concerned with the leaf itself. What brand, what type of paper is the book and does the leaf appear to have this texture in the book? This texture is most often seen when using patent leaf on glass using water size.


Kent Smith
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Re: Problem With Water Gilding

Post by Kent Smith » Sun Jul 28, 2013 5:52 pm

So which gold from ebay did you use? Could it have been transfer leaf?

Andrey Kolmakov
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Re: Problem With Water Gilding

Post by Andrey Kolmakov » Sun Jul 28, 2013 10:57 pm

I have used both.

erik winkler
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Re: Problem With Water Gilding

Post by erik winkler » Mon Jul 29, 2013 1:54 pm

Forget the ebay stuff.
Try one of these companies, they both have an office in Russia also.
Manetti
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Kent Smith
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Re: Problem With Water Gilding

Post by Kent Smith » Mon Jul 29, 2013 9:59 pm

I agree with Erik, especially if they have a local office they will stand behind the product. I am not familiar with Noris but Manetti is a time honored company. I cannot tell the source nor the handling care or carelessness with the Ebay gold.

The transfer leaf is a definite problem as the gold retains the pattern of the transfer paper on glass gilding. Some books of loose leaf gold which have been squeezed under pressure or too tightly packaged, will take on the pattern of the rouge on the paper. Cheaper paper also has talc mixed with the rouge which will result in a pattern in the gold that looks like dust. A pattern also will appear if the books of gold have been subjected to high humidity. I think one of these patterns is what we see in your gild. The quality of the gold makes a lot of difference in the final appearance of the gild.

Ron Percell
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Re: Problem With Water Gilding

Post by Ron Percell » Tue Jul 30, 2013 4:22 pm

Second batch of leaf looks like the Chinese leaf.

Many of the Manufactures over seas have replaced their supply chains with Chinese Gold Leaf. The problem with the "Janky" Chinese Gold Leaf is that it's fractured from how they press it. Those of you ordering these discounted Chinese Gold might soon feel the bite of the mighty imperial Dragon, when the gold starts falling off of your projects, maybe not as much in the window jobs, but more so soon on the surface gilds. We only use American Gold Leaf on our projects, and I suspect everyone will be switching soon with all of the reports that are coming in to me.

Did you use the powdered Gelatin or did you just find some capsules?

Some capsules are vegetable based and wont work. Make sure your gelatin is Pork or Beef.


Standard Silk Screening Ink for Back-up has worked for well for years, but with the VOC laws in the South Coast district limiting the amount to 250, has resulted in products that are not performing as they once did. Kristi and I have worked with the Air quality board for permission letters to protect products for Sign Painters, Gilders, Pinstripers and restoration artists, we also add back the needed chemicals for whats needed keep those dry/performance times and durability needed when removing the excess gild areas.

Good Luck!

Andrey Kolmakov
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Re: Problem With Water Gilding

Post by Andrey Kolmakov » Thu Aug 01, 2013 10:30 am

I know problem! Just too much gelatine. Now all right. Thanks, guys :)

Tyler Tim
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Re: Problem With Water Gilding

Post by Tyler Tim » Thu Aug 01, 2013 11:40 am

Happy to hear you figured out the issue... good luck with your progression on the glass panel.

Tim
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:

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