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Gilding Woes

Tue Mar 05, 2013 1:20 pm

Greetings! I'm trying out gilding edges for the first time, and I've run into a problem that none of my resources mention. I can get a nice shiny gilt surface on the edge, but when everything's done and dried and I try to separate the pages, much of the gold flakes off. I bent the book first, then went through page by page and un-stuck the ones that were still together. When I separated the pages, gold from one page would come away with the page next to it rather than staying on the top of its own page. Have any of you encountered this before? Suggestions?

I'm using an egg-and-vinegar glaire to seal the pages, then my orchre base layer, then another layer of glaire to stick the gold down.

Re: Gilding Woes

Wed Mar 06, 2013 2:20 pm

Yeah, this is insanely tricky. Without seeing exactly what you're doing it's difficult to advise. I wonder if your burnisher just wasn't quite warm enough. Have you experimented with the temperature?

I would suggest using a laundry starch size instead of glaire. As another member here recently pointed out, it's a much better adhesive for gilt edges and I find it to be completely fool-proof. Get the starch with no added silicone. Prepare it by mixing 1 level teaspoon in a 1/2 pint of water. Bring to a boil, then immediately remove from heat. Once cooled, apply it in the same manner as your glaire.

Re: Gilding Woes

Wed Mar 06, 2013 9:31 pm

Thanks for the size tip, Shea_M.

My burnisher (and everything else in the shop) has probably been pretty cold. I didn't realize that temperature was important. Do you know why it makes a difference? And what sort of difference it makes?

Re: Gilding Woes

Thu Mar 14, 2013 4:24 pm

I am currently experiencing the same woes as you but using a hand held electric gilding wheel. I believe the basic issues are the same though. Most would say it is a heat and or pressure problem or in your case a heat and or burnishing issue. I have found a binder formulary where he suggests adding more size or stronger size is a mistake and the issue is a base or a filler to work on that is at issue. So I am investigating using a filler prior to adding bole and glaire. I am trying to cheat right now with methylcellulose in hopes it will create a goo structure on top of the pages and fill in the gaps but am not opposed to going to a shellac base if it does not destroy the project.
The surface has to be rock hard, glass smoothe, flexible and yet bond to the gold/foil. May the gods help us all.