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Gold Leaf and Gilding

Gilding and Gold Leaf.

Interior Decorating>> Faux >>> Gilding

Gilding is a term that applies not only to the fixing of gold leaf but also to the fixing of all other leaf or powdered metals to the surface of wood, paper, stucco, glass, metals, textiles, etc. It also covers bronzing and bullion bars
Gold Leaf.
Gold is available in the form of leaf and powder.
Gold leaf is made by rolling thin sheets of pure gold, alloyed with a small amount of silver, copper or other metal, in presses and placing the thin sheets between vellum sheets, and finally gold beaters' skin, and flattening them out with hammers.

The hammering is carried out until the gold leaves are about 1/300,000 of an inch thick.

These leaves are cut into squares(of around 10 square inches) and laid between the pages of small books, the pages of which are powdered to prevent sticking.
Each book contains 25 leaves. The gold should assay at about 22 carats.

Color variation is mainly controlled by the kind and amount of alloy used.
Also the color of gold differs according to origin.

The range of color is from red, orange, extra deep, medium, deep, pale,citron, green, lemon and white. Lemon and white are worth less than red and orange.
Special gold leaf, for applying to exposed ironwork etc., is supplied in leaf about double the normal thickness.

For very delicate work extra-fine leaf is supplied in very pure gold not less than 23 carats. This is the most expensive.

Gold leaf for gilding glass is put in books without powdered pages and require careful handling and storage as they are easily ruined by dampness etc, causing all the leaf to stick together.

Transferred gold
is usually preferred as the gold leaf is pressed against white tissue paper which it adheres to until pressed against a more adhesive surface.

Ribbon gold
is gold leaf cut in thin strips and transfer-pressed on a roll of thin paper.

This ribbon gold is made in various widths for line gilding and is usually applied by means of a gilding wheel.

Old-fashioned gilding wheel used on ribbon gold leaf.
Powder gold
is prepared from leaf gold; it is commonly supplied in the form of gold tablet or illuminating gold, the powder being mixed with weak gum water in moulds; or formerly as shell gold, the powder and gum water being dried in mussel or other shells.

Gold substitutes.
There are various alloys used to imitate gold; copper and tin; copper and aluminium; copper and zinc being one of the most common.

All gold substitutes need to be protected by a coat of lacquer to keep their lustre and prevent tarnishing.

Gold paint and liquid gold
are bronze powders held in suspension in a suitable liquid medium.

They need to be protected with a coat of lacquer or will soon tarnish on exposure to air.

Trade secret. You can make a suitable lacquer by whisking the white of one large egg in about five ounces of water.

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