What to do first? Gilding or silvering?

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Andrey Kolmakov
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What to do first? Gilding or silvering?

Post by Andrey Kolmakov » Thu Aug 28, 2014 9:48 am

Hi, guys! I have another question for you.Now I started to make a copy of the Victorian mirror.Started and stopped...The fact that the mirror giltly. And now I'm thinking what to do first.... Gilding ? Or silvering ? Any ideas?

Larry White
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Re: What to do first? Gilding or silvering?

Post by Larry White » Thu Aug 28, 2014 10:54 am

Its not impossible to silver over gilding or other painted work,
but it can be difficult, and risky.

I think its always best to plan out the steps as:
1) Any glass surface alterations such as glue chipping, acid etching,
sand carving, etc.
2) Any type of solution gilding work, then
3) Gilding, painting etc.
Larry White
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Andrey Kolmakov
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Re: What to do first? Gilding or silvering?

Post by Andrey Kolmakov » Thu Aug 28, 2014 9:41 pm

Ok! And if I first silvered, then take off a layer of silver in those places where i need to gild ? How it did the ancient masters?

Lee Littlewood
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Re: What to do first? Gilding or silvering?

Post by Lee Littlewood » Fri Aug 29, 2014 2:29 am

I'm not sure if the ancient sign masters did much solution gilding/silvering - you don't find much about it in old books. The mirror makers did some wonderful decorative work for bar signs and such.

In any case, Larry has the best overview. After you have done any alterations to the glass, and cleaned the glass very thoroughly, you can do solution silvering and/or gilding. Then you back up what you want to keep of the silver and/or gold and remove the rest with a chemical. You should be able to get 'silver stripper' from the same supplier that sold the silvering chemicals.
(I like to apply the silver strip with a foam brush, especially when working on site. It helps for cleaning out small letters and bottoms of letters.)

The nice thing about removing silver with a chemical is that it is a very gentle process, unlike the rubbing that removes gold leaf. The silver strip is water based and repelled by grease, so you can protect your metal with paint or fingerprints or even a felt tip pen. If you silkscreen the backup you can print tiny dots to make a halftone image and they will hold on against silver strip. Try that with BonAmi and cotton!
The solution gold is a little tougher to remove, but still way easier than abrasion.

I think that if you want to put down solution silver and solution gold on the same piece, you would need to put the gold on first just where you want it, then spray or pour silver over all. Larry, would that work?
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Larry White
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Re: What to do first? Gilding or silvering?

Post by Larry White » Fri Aug 29, 2014 8:15 am

I've done both gold deposition and silvering in the same process.

One way is to completely clean the glass, then isolate the gold
area with a bead of industrial strength hot melt glue, gild this
area with the gold solution, pour off, then silver the whole piece.
The silvering creates the mirror finish on the clear areas while
also depositing over the gold.

Another way to do it is to do the gold deposition over the whole
piece, then carefully wipe the gold out of the areas that you
want silvered, then silver over the whole piece.

Thirdly, its not impossible to re-register a vinyl mask over the
areas of the glass you want to remain clear, then silver the whole
thing (over the vinyl and all), then back up the silvering and
remove the mask to expose the clear areas which you can then
gild normally.
Larry White
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Andrey Kolmakov
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Re: What to do first? Gilding or silvering?

Post by Andrey Kolmakov » Fri Aug 29, 2014 10:37 am

Guys, i had in mind water gilding. Not gold solution. Can I first to do water gilding, and then to silver?

erik winkler
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Re: What to do first? Gilding or silvering?

Post by erik winkler » Tue Sep 02, 2014 8:05 am

If you use watergilding and water silvering, do the silvering first since the silverleag is stronger.
If you use chemically silvering and watergilding, do the chemically silvering first.
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BruceJackson
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Re: What to do first? Gilding or silvering?

Post by BruceJackson » Fri Oct 17, 2014 2:03 am

If the design dictates doing gilding with leaf or painting first, then you can but you need to protect it from the chemical silvering.

You do this use by painting an isolating coat over the back of your decorative work. Something that can stand up against the alkaline solution.

Traditionally, they used bitumen based coating...aspaltum, or hard black stain (black japan). You can use this stuff as a back-up coating on your gold leaf. Another suitable method is to do the decorative paint work, or backing-up using epoxy inks or paints. These can cope with alkaline.

I had to do a mirror once which had a painted/gilded design in the centre with indistinct edges that blended smoothly into the mirror. I used water-gilded silver leaf behind my design and the transition to chemical silver was surprisingly almost seamless.

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