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I am building a new frame for an old mirror my wife purchased from a local shop a number of years ago. I know it's not an antique so I'm not too concerned about value. The old frame is rather battered and weak…I don't think it will last much longer.



When I went to pull the mirror out, it was in a second frame which I rather liked.



Whay I would like to do is clean this inner frame and apply goldleaf. Has anyone done this before? My wife picked up a goldleaf kit but is seriously lacking on instructions or tips. (again, sorry for the quality of the photos, I've come to find out that it is more the fault of the camera than the operator.)
 

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I have never done it myself, but I had an old foreman that did it…. I saw in a movie or somewhere of someone doing it. I know it is very expensive at $166.00 an ounce. My wife says they sell kits at the local craft stores… Lee Wards and Michaels and the better craft stores. I know it is put on in small sheets and pieces. She says it has a sticking quality to it and they used tweezers and Q tips…. I suppose any other tool that would do the job. Sorry I can't be of more help.

DAVE
 

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Yes I took a tour at a brooklyn frame making studio , They gave extensive classes for free on Gilding casting latex etc . Definitely Buy the sheeting stay away from craft stores order on line or if your in the area that class is free . I could get info. The gold leaf Has a static electric effect when "LAYING" it toward the frame , It Almost JUMPS off the brush , You'll need a GILDING BRUSH , You just wipe the fine hairs in sweeping motion , and lay the leafing on , you'll also want a polishing stone I forget the proper name , Basically a pen with MARBLE rounded stone on tip , to press in the gold and polish . If you're really interested in more of this process let me know and I'll help , with a few names and the name of that framing studio, and maybe a more detailed explanation. p.s. no tweezers on sheet leafing only brush and remember light hands"""" The sheet will just jump on the flat brush from static and will flow off easy after like two practice lays , spray bottle H2O brush , sheet leafing for gilding , and polishing tipped stone pen… When you're ready to start if you want to go this route , I'd be happy to help. Many here have helped me…only right to give a bit back.. my # 516-512-1071 gilding Q's
 

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http://www.gildedplanet.com/gildingtutorials.asp Much cheaper than that !! You can get a lot of gilding supply for 166.00 There's a good kit that will finish your frame from this web site , At 36 $ probably about 75 bucks you can have enough to learn with the tools you need as beginner and some left over . Just like anything prices accord to your liking or need. Well , good luck I hope you do this. It's rewarding each time you look at the frame. Just remember to put something as nice inside ! when your done .
 

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Doesn't look like you have a ton of ground to cover . How big is the frame? I see it's width and pattern , Looks like it's a good candidate for beginning gilding. get a polish "blending stone" with small rounded tip so you can press leaf into details , It'll be beautiful . Let me know how it goes , Patrick
 

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I'm not sure what type of kit she bought, but here's the skinny on what to do. First, you don't have to use real gold leaf. Instead you could use dutch metal which will look close to gold. Dutch metal will come in books a like gold leaf, but the leafs themselves will be larger size and thicker sheets than real gold. To apply the leaf first you put on size, which is a glue for leaf. Once the size has set to the point that it is barely tacky, but not sticky or wet then you can start to lay on the leaf. You don't have to be overly careful about handling and laying out the leaf (a lot of people are leaf nuts and go through a whole ritual on handling, blowing, fanning etc which may be fine if your working in a Chapel or church or lavish government building and using real gold and it has to be absolutely 100% perfect, but really isn't necessary for most work). You then take a badger hair brush or similar stiffer round bristle brush of appropriate size and pounce over the sheet of leaf you have laid on the frame. This adheres it to the size. Don't sweat wrinkles inthe leaf since you can work those out as you pounce and brush over the leaf. If you miss a little speck or two, put some scraps of leaf on there and pounce it in. You can/should overlap adjacent sheets slightly. The leaf will only stick where you have size. In your case where your working with a "dirty" frame you should first try to clean it up as best you can prior to applying the size since whatever is underneath will generally reflect through. However, it looks as those there is enough carving on there that it will help hide any minor blemishes. If your a bit daring you could use copper leaf instead and then use chemicals and various resists to give it a real cool patina and patterning. Check out ArtChemicals.com for some ideas and supplies.
 

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Greg Looks like you are about to learn a new skill. Take lots of pictures and document the process.

Training class will start in the summer. You will probably get lots of participants.
 

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Yea Pouncing is a better word ! What about the polishing stone pen , what's it called again ? You always need this to press in your leafing. Hmm badger brush there are a few different ways it seems . Size ? Man I have a horrible memory Well, I found a handful of step by step instructions : google Gold Gilding and Leafing .If any one is interested or will be in nyc contact me if you'd like to visit brooklyn framing and Gilding studio , they have about 15 full time wood carvers, gilders, casters, and more , I sat and watched them hand carve full ornamental Frames with chisel , and they teach you ant process you're interested in free for the day . Last saturday of each month .
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks Pat and Rich,

The inner frame that will show will only be about the width of the carving roughly about 3/4" That will have leave me with a 19.5" by 40" frame. I am building the frame from Cherry to match the rest of the dining room.

I was planning on cleaning the carving out with a little TSP and stiff nylon brush to get any loose grime out of the details. That will probably have to wait until Monday though (have an Easter dinner to got to right after church.)

I may take you up on your offer to call when I get closer. I have a few more questions, like is it ok to seal the piece with Shelac? Do I need to put down a primer first?

Take care guys and have a good day tomorrow, Be Joyfull in your work!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
BTW…this is a bit of atonement for my Woodworking Show purchases…which I still owe a post on. I'll try and do that when I get back tomorrow. Stepped up to a new table saw and a much needed jointer.
 

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Greg I agree with you on keeping the second frame instead on making the new one out of cherry. I think you can shelac the frame after you gold leaf it, at least they do on Trading Spaces!!! LOL
 

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Yea a badger hair brush may be a bit tough to find (especially since in Wisconsin we can't trap Badgers legally)...so any good mild to medium stiff round stubby brush will do (most are squirrel or goat hair today). They are often called mops or dusters and you use them to pounce/tamp the leaf and remove the skewings. I've never used an agate burnisher (a.k.a polishing stone pen) in the work I've done mainly because I patina the leaf with chemicals after application and typically am not after the bright metallic look…pouncing/tamping the leaf during application to the surface should work fine in the crevices of the carving on the frame…but then again it couldn't hurt to have a couple different sized burnishers on hand just in case for those nooks and crannies I suppose. I've never shellaced over leaf before but I think it would be just fine to do so. I've sprayed lacquer over it without problem. Probably wise to do a simple little test panel on a piece of scrap to refine your approach/finish before doing the frame. Plus it will give you a better sense/practice with the size (glue) tackiness, leaf application, etc. If you do decide to use something other than real gold, such as dutch metal, copper, or silver leaf you'll need to be aware that the oils from your fingers may leave fingerprint spots on the leaf.
 

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I've done gold leaf several years back and it's really not that hard….if you cover it with lacquer it about has to be sprayed on, dusting after dusting coat after coat until the gold is sealed to the extent that a heavy coat can be applied. What leaf I used was on a show Harley Davidson. I think if you go to Dick Blick http://www.dickblick.com/zz270/01/ you will find all the information and supplies you need. Dick Blick is a reliable company. As far as cost on a frame like you are talking about imitation leaf will work great and is not near the expense of real leaf, gold is was around $1000 an ounce last week. If you want to send me a PM with your phone number I'd be happy to explain what I know about the process….I'm just not a typist. ;{)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
John…good find. That is the exact kit that my wife picked up. as well as an additional pack of Gold leaf. I think I will try and find one of those thin badger brushes. I remember seen Norm do a show where a guest did gold leaf. I'll probably try it out a few times before I actually do the frame. better safe than sorry.
 

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Highland Woodworking in Atlanta, www.highlandwoodworking.com has a class on "Guilding & Gold Leafing" on May 28th, from 6 to 9 PM. Tuition is $75. Emphasis is on guilding & leafing and restoration.
 

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David Marks sells a good DVD on gilding and patination. It looks like he's also teaching a class on it at Marc Adams School.

One thing to note on the dutch metal Rich mentions is that it will oxidize if not sealed well. (Maybe Rich mentioned that too and I missed it?)

Here's one more site that has a good selection of gilding supplies and tools:
https://www.oldemill.com/~oldemill/store/index.php
 
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