Spinning goldleaf

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erik winkler
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Spinning goldleaf

Post by erik winkler » Fri Oct 17, 2014 6:25 am

Hello I have a question about spinning goldleaf or engine turned goldleaf.
I tried this and was not able to succeed.

I have a pieve of velvet around a ball and turn it over the gold.I use 3 hours mixtion and after 3 hours I apply the goldleaf and immdediatly turn the velvet on the gold: : nothing happens.
Does anybody know why?

Is my velvet to soft?
When I press harder still nothing happens, if I press even harder the goldleaf and size is ruined.
Or is there anything else I am missing here?

Thank you.
Realizing we are in the 2nd renaissance of the arts.
Learn, copy and trying to improve...
Still in the learning phase ;-)
Amsterdam Netherlands
www.ferrywinkler.nl
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pat mackle
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Re: Spinning goldleaf

Post by pat mackle » Fri Oct 17, 2014 12:41 pm

Hi Erik,
I'm thinking several things could play a part. Without actually seeing this problem first hand, I will say this.
I cannot see first hand the quality or texture of the velvet you have in hand.
I have used both velvet and velour fabrics with good success. I like to use them as a round disc shaped tool, turning them both by hand, or in a slow turning power drill.
Maybe your size is too dry(hardened) and thus the gold leaf is already fixed to a hardened glossy resin surface. The size should remain just the slightest bit pliable to
allow the velvet to lightly "comb" the surface of the gold size and the leaf as well. Overly hardened size may take the spinning somewhat, and with difficulty, but if the size is still a slight bit tender, will take it more dramatically.
Too much pressure(abrasion) will gall the gold leaf into the size and will kill the brilliance of the spun gild.
About your choice of spinning tool. Some gilders make a soft ball shape for their velvet spinner, which they turn by a twist of the hand. Others make a spinning tool that has a flat disc onto which they have attached the velvet. Sometimes these flat disc spinners are put into the end of a power tool and motorized at slow speed for spinning larger areas of gold. This also aids in keeping the "spins" consistent.
The gilder's past experience will guide him as to how much friction his gild can withstand without damaging/galling the gold leaf.

John Studden
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Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2004 11:40 am

Re: Spinning goldleaf

Post by John Studden » Fri Oct 17, 2014 4:36 pm

You will have a much better job with a good 12 hour size, the 3 hour has probably already dried not allowing the gold to move....or add a little 12 to the 3 hour for a longer open time....you can use a decent pressure with a drill without worrying too much.....
John Studden
Valencia Signs, California

BruceJackson
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Re: Spinning goldleaf

Post by BruceJackson » Tue Oct 21, 2014 7:07 pm

I agree with both earlier posts.

My guess would also be that the tack window has gone too far, possibly combined with using a very soft cloth. You are trying to achieve contrast within the spin, so it's better to gild slightly early or at the right "whistling tack" time, but not late.

I know English isn't your first language, so you won't know the term "whistling tack window", but it describes the time in which the size has set enough to not be sticky, but hasn't yet hardened...it is still soft and if you were to drag a finger over it, it would squeak, hence the term "whistle".

Another suggestion. Don't burnish the leaf prior to spinning, or if you do, burnish it only very lightly, just enough to remove loose gold.

I find it doesn't require much of a spin...just one revolution or perhaps even less usually seems sufficient

erik winkler
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Re: Spinning goldleaf

Post by erik winkler » Mon Oct 27, 2014 8:54 am

I am sorry for my late response, but somehow I did not got a notification that my questions has got replies.
Thank you Pat, John and Bruce.

All three of you tell me something completely different then I was thinking of: If you look at the the surface of some staineless steel plates they have also some circle scratching, I allways thought this scrathing was done in exactly the same way as in the gold, but because gold is much softer then stainless steel, not a grinding disck is used, but a velvet ball.
Now you I realise that the gold is not scratched but the size is grooved.

I use my size very very thin and I think that is the reason why I can not groove the size.
Another experiment with just a rough feeling cloth will not be neccesary then....?
Realizing we are in the 2nd renaissance of the arts.
Learn, copy and trying to improve...
Still in the learning phase ;-)
Amsterdam Netherlands
www.ferrywinkler.nl
www.schitterend.eu
www.facebook.com/Schitterend.eu

Lee Littlewood
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Re: Spinning goldleaf

Post by Lee Littlewood » Mon Nov 03, 2014 1:55 am

Eric, I think you have the correct vision - the size is grooved and the gold (being incredibly thinner than even the thinnest size you can lay down) just goes along for the ride. What I visualize is this layer of jelly-like material (the size) with a thin thin thin layer of gold laying on top. We know it is on top because if the gold goes down too soon, some size creeps through the pores in the gold and some brightness goes away - "the gold is drowned". Usually you are waiting till the very last moment you can apply leaf, so it will be the very brightest possible but still adhere - but if you are going to spin it you can lay a bit earlier, so that part of the process is actually easier than for straight burnished leaf (unspun). But then comes Pat's Problem - how soon to spin/what pressure so as to not scratch through into the jelly layer ("galling the leaf"). A big test patch is probably the best answer, and i try to put a patch down when I start and when I finish sizing, so that gives me my spinning test patch. I like to use a velvet pad in a cordless drill on high speed, with very little pressure - sort of a touch & go, touch & go rhythm. It is really nice if you can get a raking light on the gold so you can see the spins as you go, and then you'll see any scratching before it goes too far.
So, how long to wait? With a slow size you have weeks to do the spinning; with 3 hour size you may want to do it immediately so you can put clear over it, making it easier to outline and shade. But if it is late in the day I will usually let it sit overnight and spin the next morning - there is less chance of scratching but a danger of the jelly layer being too hard so it won't take grooves. Anxiety keeps us young.

An associated question is whether or not to put a clear protective layer over the gold. My feeling on gold leaf is that you try to NOT overvarnish it - the color is dulled and the longevity is compromised. But if it will be rubbed (as on a vehicle or boat) then I like to spin the gold first. My imagining is that the velvet makes a series of tiny circular dents in the gold, like a vinyl record but much smaller, and when the clearcoat goes over it the little valleys act as lenses. In any case, spinning makes up for some of the lost brilliance.
where am i? Now, when i need me...

Doug Bernhardt
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Re: Spinning goldleaf

Post by Doug Bernhardt » Tue Nov 04, 2014 10:05 pm

I agree with "almost" everything being said. I also have had poor results with a quick size which I rarely use to begin with. It seems {as Lee has alluded to} that sizes dry at various rates depending on climate and dryness in the air. For instance I have used a slow size in my shop one day and gild in the morning and on the next day go to another shop and in the same allotted time see the size long since dried out. I'd work at getting an open time that you can rely on and take it from there....Like almost everything in our business, just try not to find yourself in a bind by trying something un-tested with a deadline.

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