ITHACA, N. Y. 14853
Fine Arts Library
Cornell University Library
The art and science of gilding; a liand bo
3 1924 016 205 316
The original of tliis book is in
tine Cornell University Library.
There are no known copyright restrictions in
the United States on the use of the text.
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The Art and Soence
A HAND BOOK OF INFORMATION
FOR THE PICTURE FRAMER
Practical instructions in the art of gilding picture
frames. Information that will enable anyone
to finish frartMs in
GOLD AND SILVER LEAF, BRONZE
AND DUTCH METAL
Formulas for compounding the different materials
used; also receipts for mixing and handling
compo, and the making of cement molds,
together with much vahwhle infor-
mation acquired through more
than a quarter of a century
in the gilding btisiness
Compiled and published by
FORD & jkitmj^axjk:
190-196 Edinburgh St. Rochester, N. Y.
Copyright 1909 by Ford & Mimmack.
During the past few years, we have received many re-
quests from retail picture frame dealers for information
that would enable them to do their own re-gilding. Books
have been written on the subject; but nothing practical
has ever been published. Having followed the trade of
Picture Framing and Gilding for nearly thirty years, we
have put into this little volume some of the knowledge
acquired; and have endeavored to explain the different
processes used by gilders.
In a factory, an apprentice has to work about four
years before he is looked upon as a competent gilder.
Even then, there is much necessary information that he
may not have acquired. Employers and foremen usually
keep secret many of the formulas, and give the workmen
the materials mixed, ready for use.
In this book, all of these formulas are given, with ex-
plicit directions for compounding them ; and with its aid,
one with ordinary intelligence and a few weeks of prac-
tice, can do very creditable work. The beginner will
doubtless be awkward and clumsy, especially in handling
the leaf ; but a little practice will soon overcome the dif-
ficulty. As no special aptitude is required, anyone can
The Art and Science of Gilding
become a good gilder. Besides instruction in the pro-
cess of laying Gold, Silver and Metal Leaf, and the use
of Bronze, valuable information is given for restoring old
prints and engravings which may have become discolored.
In addition to the formulas used by gilders, we give in-
structions for making the composition (usually called
compo) from which the ornaments are made. When do-
ing re-gilding work, this is a necessary article to replace
missing or to repair broken ornaments.
Preparing Ornaments for Burnishing 20-21
Applying Oil Size 22-23
Laying Gold Leaf on Flats 24-25
Laying Gold Leaf on Ornaments 26-27
Applying Finish Size 30
Laying Gold Leaf for Burnishing 31-32
Burnishing Ornaments 33
Burnishing Hollows and Beads 34
Gilding New Work 3S-36
Matte Gilding 37-38
Gilding with Dutch Metal 39-40
Applying Silver Leaf 41
Roman Gold Gilding 42-43
Gilding with Liquid Bronze 44-45
Bleaching Old Engravings 46-47
The Gilder's Tip, Use and Care of 48
The Cushion and how to use it 49
6 The Art and Science of Gilding
Cutting the Gold So
Stock Size 51
Gilder's Putty 52
Thin White S3
Thick White S4
Shellac Clear Coat for Regilding S5
Clear Coat for New Work 55
Rabbit Skin Glue Size 56
Glue Size for Gold Burnish Work 56
Gold Burnish Size 56
Oil Gold Size 57
Matte Gold Size No. i 57
Matte Gold Size No. 2 57
Gilding Liquor 58
Size for Roman Gold Burnishes 58
Size for mixing with Roman Gold 58
Liquid Bronze 58
Red Clay Size 59
Finish Size 59
Lacquer for Dutch Metal 59
Composition (Compo) 60-61
Composition Moulds 62
Cement Moulds 63-64
Solution for Bleaching Old Engravings 65
Brushes ; 66
Care of Brushes 67
Gilder's Outfit 68
The Art and Science of Gilding
In using the word "gilding," we do not refer to gold
plating ; but to the process of applying gold or silver leaf
to a moulding or frame, as it is practiced by the picture
frame manufacturers and dealers.
There are two styles of dull gold work; oil gold
and matte gold. (These are produced by different
processes which will be explained.) In contrast to these
dull effects is the bright or burnished gold.
In doing over old work, it is customary to burnish the
parts that were orignally burnished; but on new work,
the gilder has to select the parts that it is advisable to
burnish. Sometimes it will be the entire top of the
ornament ; but usually, to give the best effects, the higher
parts are selected.
On the smooth parts of the frame, the concave places
(called hollows) and the convex parts (called beads)
are the parts generally burnished.
It will be found that the hollows and beads are easier
The Art and Science of Gilding
to burnish than the flats, and the wider the flat, the
harder it is to accomplish good work.
As a great amount of the gilding done in retail
stores is the refinishing of old frames, we will take up
this class of work first and more in detail.
We wish to impress on the beginner as strongly as
possible, the necessity of preparing the frame. If it is
not prepared properly, good work cannot be done. It
is just as essential to have the preliminary work care-
fully executed, as any other part of the process. This
work, if slighted by the gilder, will in time come to
light ; and it will be necessary to regild the frame.
The Art and Science of Gilding
Regilding Old Frames.
The first thing to be considered is the condition of
the frame. If it be loose at the joints, it will be neces-
sary to take it apart and rejoin.
If any of the ornaments are loose, they should be
removed and glued on again; or, if missing, they must
If pieces have been broken off the ornaments, all
that may be necessary is to take a piece of soft compo
(Formula 20), dip it in hot water, and press it on the
broken place; then mould the compo, as near as you
can, to the shape required, using the fingers and a stick
or knife. It will be found that, by dipping the stick
in water, or by using saliva, the compo will work more
If so much of the ornament is missing that it is nor
practicable to mould it by hand, it will be necessary
to make a compo mould. (Formula 21.) The gilder
will then be able to supply the missing parts by using
this mould (See instructions for casting on page 60.)
This will do in nearly all cases; but when there is
a frame with the ornament missing from the entire side,
it may be necessary to make a cement mould to accomp-
lish better results. (See Formula No. 22.)
10 The Art and Science of Gilding
Next putty the mitres and all cracks that there may be
in the coating of whiting which covers the wood.
To do this properly, take a sharp pointed knife and
scrape or cut along the crack, making it larger, and
leaving it in a V shape, so that the putty may be pushed
down to the bottom.
Take a piece of putty (Formula No. 2) about the size
of a walnut. As the heat of the fingers will cause the
putty to gradually become dry, slightly moisten it
from time to time as needed. Most gilders use spittle
for this purpose.
The putty is put into the cracks with a putty stick.
This is a piece of hard wood, about four inches long,
one-half inch wide and one-eighth of an inch thick,
pointed at one end, rounded at the other and sharpened
on the edges. Fill the crack with putty, leaving the
top in a rounded shape, as the putty shrinks a little
In a very wide crack, the putty may check or crack
in drying. In such a case, it is best to cut away the
whiting down to the wood for at least three-eighths of
an inch on each side of the crack. Then glue a heavy
piece of canvas to the wood thus exposed. After this
is dry, fill in with putty, and smooth as we are about
The Art and Science of Gilding H
to describe. This canvas treatment is used only on
flats that persist in cracking, but it is not necessary
where the surface is ornamented. As the putty will in
most cases fill the cracks, it will seldom be necessary to
use this method.
Cut or ream out and fill with putty all the nail holes,
leaving the top of the putty rounded. This is done
so that there will be sufficient putty in the cracks and
nail holes to leave them flush with the surface after
they have been sandpapered and smoothed.
12 The Art and Science of Gilding
If, in regilding a frame on the style of an old-fash-
ioned mirror frame, where there are no ornaments, it
is found that the whiting is so badly cracked that it
is practically impossible to put it in condition for gild-
ing by puttying, it is advisable to entirely remove the
whiting, and coat it over again.
To remove the whiting, take a large pail of saw-
dust and pour water on it until the saw-dust becomes
thoroughly soaked. Put the frame on the floor, face
side up, and pack the wet saw-dust two or three inches
thick, upon and around the whiting to be removed.
Allow this to remain for at least two days, occasion-
ally pouring water on the saw-dust, to be sure that it
remains thoroughly wet.
Then with a knife scrape off the whiting, and after
doing so, allow the frame to become perfectly dry
before applying the whitening.
First, rejoin the frame, as the soaking will have
made that necessary. Then give the frame a liberal
coat of thin white. (Formula No. 3, using brush No.
7. When dry, give five heavy coats of thick white
(Formula No. 4, also with brush No. 7), and have the
first coat of thick white smooth and heavy. The sec-
ond coat must be what is called a tap coat; applied
The Art and Science of Gilding 13
by tapping the thick white on, instead of brushing it
on. This will produce a rough eifect, and serve to
make the third coat (which is put on like the first,
thick and smooth) adhere better. The fourth is a tap
coat, like the second, and the fifth and last, a smooth
coat. Allow each to dry before applying the next.
After these coats are dry, the frame will be ready
for smoothing. A piece of pumice stone, shaped the
reverse of the moulding on the frame, will be needed.
Before soaking the frame to remove the whiting, shape
the pumice stone by taking a piece of sandpaper and plac-
ing it over the moulding, face side out. Then by rubbing
the pumice stone on the sandpaper, the shape required can
soon be obtained.
Next, take a bowl of water and brush (No. 8).
Wet the frame well, and dip the pumice stone in the
water before using; then rub it over the frame until
the whiting becomes smooth and shapely.
After allowing it to dry, smooth it again, first with
No. I and then with No. o sandpaper. Brush off with a
duster, and the frame will be ready for the preparations
used in gilding.
1* The Art and Science of Gilding
First, select the parts which are to be burnished. The
parts chosen must be well sandpapered, leaving none
of the old gold or bronze on the surface. Sandpaper
until the composition is quite clean. If this is not
done properly, the thick white, which is the first pre-
paration for burnished ornaments, is liable to crack
or chip off when the burnisher is applied.
As a riile, the flats on old frames will not permit
of either burnish or matte work, owing to the age of
the preparation, and the fact that these flats show the
cracks more than ornamented surfaces. Hollows, beads
and flats on regilding work, must be in first-class con-
dition if they are to be burnished or laid in matte.
If not in good condition, they would be better laid in
oil, then the cracks will not show so plainly.
On new work, the flats, beads and hollows will re-
quire no thick or thin white, as they are well prepared,
and will need no attention on the part of the workman
except puttying the mitres, and sandpapering smooth.
The Art and Science of Gilding ^5
After the ornaments to be burnished are well sand-
papered, place the cup of thin white (Formula No. 3)
in a pan of water, and heat until melted.
Take a brush (No. 7) and go over the entire frame.
Do not apply this thin white as you would apply paint,
but dab it down in and around the ornaments. The
tops of the ornaments will take care of themselves.
After the section of frame is well covered (but not
flooded), do not work over again. Allow this coat
Now melt the thick white (Formula No. 4) by let-
ting it stand in fairly warm water; but do not allow
it to become hot. The thick white is now used for the
tops of ornaments that are to be burnished, and is
applied to the ornaments by using a brush (No. 3).
Put it on thick and smooth, practically flowing it
on; yet not so thick that it will run off the ornaments.
Give two coats of the thick white, and be sure to
allow the first coat to become thoroughly dry before
applying the second. These two coats of thick white
are to be applied only to the tops of the ornaments
that are to be burnished, the ornaments having already
received a coat of thin white.
When the coats (one of thin white and two of thick
16 The Art and Science of Gilding
white) are dry, which will take about one-half hour,
take a brush (No. 8) and a bowl of cold water. Dip
the brush in water and apply it to the ornamented
part of the frame; brush it hard, down around the
ornaments and take up with the brush the whiting
that is thus washed off. Squeeze the whiting out of
the brush and dip in the water again, continuing this until
all of the ornamented parts of the frame have been
treated. Take up with brush all surplus water.
While thus dabbing or rubbing the ornaments with
the brush, use the other hand to rub the tops of all
ornaments, particularly those to be burnished. This
aids in smoothing, also in keeping the original shape
of the ornaments. In smoothing the flats, it is advis-
able to use a damp cloth instead of a brush. Then ser
the ' frame aside to dry.
Wheii the frame has become perfectly dry, sand-
paper all parts that can be easily reached with No. o
sandpaper, giving the parts that are to be burnished
an etxra treatment with sandpaper No. oo. In sand-
papering ornaments, be sure that they are not flattened
by continuous rubbing; but take care to work the
sandpaper so as to retain the shape of the ornaments.
, The' frame must be dusted carefully, particularly
around the ornaments. It is advisable to first turn the
frame down> and knock lightly on the back with a
The Art and Science of Gilding 17
piece of wood, then dust with a brush (No. 12), which
should be kept for this purpose only.
After removing the frame, take a wet cloth and wipe
off all the dust from the bench. This is better than using
a duster, for it dampens and settles the dust; while, if a
duster is used, it may send the dust all over the room,
sticking to any frames that may be ready to gild.
It is advisable to do all the preparing and gilding
in a room as free from dust as possible; and, in case
it is necessary to sweep while preparing work for gild-
ing, cover with paper the frames and preparations,
until the dust has settled.
18 The Art an d Science of Gilding
When the frame has been well dusted, it is ready
for a coat of shellac (Formula No. 5). It is necessary
to cover with shellac all parts of the frame, excepting
those parts that are to be burnished. If this is not
done, the whiting will absorb the oil size, and the gold
leaf will not adhere.
Apply the shellac (Formula No. 5) to the ornaments
first, leaving the flat parts of the frame to be shellaced
last. To put it on the frame, use a brush (No. 11),
and apply by dabbing it down and around the orna-
ments. The gilder should be very careful to see that
none of the shellac gets on the parts to be burnished.
Should it run over on these places, wipe it off with
the finger. It is best to first take a brush (No. 2)
and cut around the parts to be burnished with the
shellac. By doing this, one may use the larger brush
with less care in shellacing the remainder of the frame.
Do not flood the ornaments with shellac; but cover
them well, using care to get down, in, and around
them; then wipe up the shellac so there will be no
runs. When the ornaments are finished, and the flats
ready to be shellaced, there must be no runs or partly
shellaced places which would show badly when gilded.
When shellacing flats, start at one corner of the
The Art and Science of Gilding 19
frame, and draw the brush to the opposite comer, lay-
ing the shellac as smoothly as possible.
When the frame is perfectly dry, examine the flats
closely, also down, in and around the ornaments. If
the shellac has soaked in, or some places have not
been covered, give these parts a second coat. This
can be done on ornaments without going over the
entire frame, by using a smaller brush; but, if any
part of the flat surface is not properly covered, it will
be necessary to go over all of that flat again. It is not
advisable to try to patch flats with shellac, for they will
show very plainly when laid in gold. Bear in mind
that flat surfaces on frames must be shellaced as smoothly
as possible in order to secure good results.
After the frame is coated with the shellac, take a
piece of cheese cloth, wet it in alcohol, and wipe off
thoroughly all the places that are to be burnished; for,
in shellacing the frame, some of the places to be burn-
ished may have been touched with the shellac. If not
removed, these parts will chip off when the ornaments
20 The Art and Science of Gilding
Preparing Ornaments for Burnishing.
The ornaments are now ready to receive three coats
of burnish size. Place the cup containing the gold
burnish size (Formula No. 9) in a pan of warm water.
If this is allowed to become hot, it will pin-hole; so
be careful to heat it just enough to melt it. Stir the
size while in process of melting, and after it is melted,
remove it from the pan of hot water.
Take a brush (No. 3) and dip it into the size. Do
not wipe the size off the brush in the edge of the cup,
but use the quantity of size which naturally adheres
to the brush.
Flow this on to the tops of the ornaments to be
burnished. Do not flood it on so thick that it will run
off on the parts that are not to be burnished; but give
the ornaments a heavy coat, letting each coat dry be-
fore applying the next. It will take about fifteen
minutes for each coat to dry.
If flats or hollows are to be burnished, do not use
the burnish size as freely as on the ornaments, but
be particular to lay it as smoothly and evenly as possible,
after the manner of applying paint.
When the third coat is dry, take a small piece of
No. 00 sandpaper and rub it on the face of a larger
piece. This will remove the heavier sand from the
The Art and Science of Gilding 21
surface. Then take the smaller piece and split it —
that is, separate the two layers of paper by peeling oif
the back. This will leave the sandpaper thin, and it
will work better on the burnished parts, as the thick
sandpaper might cut through the size. Sandpaper the
parts to be burnished with the split sandpaper, which
will not remove the size, but will smooth it and give
it a polish.
22 The Art and Science of Gilding ,
Applying Oil Size.
After sandpapering, dust the frame, which is then
ready to be given a coat of oil size. (Formula No. lo.)
For this purpose, use brush (No. 7). Do not apply
the oil gold size as paint is applied; but dab it down, in
and around the ornaments, using as little oil as possible.
It will be found that it requires very little oil to cover a
good sized frame.
All parts should be carefully covered, but the thinner
the oil is applied, the better will be the result If too
much oil has been applied a skin will form over it,
leaving wet oil beneath; and, when the gold is applied,
this skin will break and cause trouble. Do not use the
oil too freely, but be sure that all parts are covered.
Look oVer the frame, and if any hairs from the brush
are found sticking to it, carefully remove them.
After the frame is oiled, take a cloth that is free
from lint, and moisten it with benzine. With this,
wipe off all parts that are to be burnished, but do not
let the cloth touch any of the oiled parts which are not to
be burnished; for, if this happens, the gold will not
stick. When the burnished parts have been carefully
wiped, set the frame away out of the dust, and leave
for about 16 to 24 hours.
It is advisable to oil the frame in the afternoon and
The Art and Science of Gilding 23
leave it until the next morning. It can be gilded any
time during the following day.
If one wishes to oil a frame on Saturday so as to
gild on the following Monday, omit the Japan dryer;
then the oil will not dry so quickly.
2* The Art and Science of Gilding
Laying the Gold 03sr Flats.
The frame is now ready to be laid in oil gold, or, in
other words, the dull dead gold. Before doing this,
we would advise wiping off once more the parts to be
burnished, using a cloth free from lint, and wet with
benzine. The reason for this is, that some spots' of
oil may have been left on those parts, and unless they
are removed, the burnishing will not come out bright
When this has been done, take a book of gold leaf,
and blow a few leaves out on the back of the gilder's
cushion. (See pages 49 and 50 for instructions
for handling cushion and cutting gold.) It is best to
blow out but one or two leaves at first, until one has
become accustomed to handling it and has acquired the
knack of picking up a leaf with the point of the gilder's
knife, placing it on the front of the cushion, and blow-
ing it out flat. The gold can then be cut any size
In blowing out the gold, do not blow hard or long,
but place the mouth over the centre of the leaf, and
about four or five inches away. Give a light, sharp
puff, about as strong as is necessary to blow a crumb
from the end of the tongue. This will become easy
after a little practise.
The Art and Science af Gilding 25
It is customary to gild the flats first. For a flat
surface an inch wide, cut the gold about one and one-
fourth inches wide. This will allow for putting it on
unevenly, as one undoubtedly will at first. If one were
to cut it the exact size to cover, and did not get it on
true, it would be necessary to lay on another full-sized
piece, and that would take more gold than if a little
were allowed for unsteadiness. Of course as one
becomes more expert, one can cut closer to the size
26 The Art and Science of Gilding
Laying Gold on Ornaments.
After cutting the leaf of gold to the size required,
as instructed on page 50, place the hairs of the tip on
the piece of gold which is to be used, and it will adhere to
the tip. Be careful to hold the tip squarely and evenly
when bringing it in contact with the gold; then lay
the piece of gold flatly and as evenly as possible on
the place it is to cover. The gilder will probably be
very awkward at first, and will make many slips, but
it becomes easy after a little practice. Next apply the
second piece, allowing it to lap over the first at least
one-quarter of an inch.
After all flats or smooth surfaces are covered, lay
gold on the ornaments. This does not require as much
care as when laying the flats ; as the laps will not show
so plainly on the uneven surface. However, it requires
more gold leaf to gild an ornament, than it does to
gild a smooth, flat surface.
In applying the gold leaf to ornaments, do not put
the leaf on flat as one would on a flat surface; but
hold the tip so that one end of the leaf will strike the
ornament first; then allow the balance of the leaf to
come down, in and around the ornament. This will
cover the ornament better, and in the end, not as much
gold will be used as if the leaf were laid flat.
The Art and Science of Gilding 27
When the frame is covered with gold ,take a small
piece of absorbent cotton and press down the gold on
the flat, smooth surfaces only.. For wide flats use brush
No. 13, and starting at the leaf that was laid last, draw
the brush gently over the gold. The weight of the
brush will be sufiicient pressure. Should the brush be
drawn in the opposite direction, it will raise the laps
of the gold.
For pressing down the gold on the ornaments, use
brush No. 13; hold it perpendicular, and press the
gold down fairly hard. It will then be necessary to
apply a second layer of gold, to the ornamented surface,
as the first layer will not entirely cover the ornaments.
This second layer of gold should also be pressed down
with brush No. 13.
28 The Art and Science of Gilding
The frame is now ready for skewing. Skewing is
brushing off the loose particles of gold leaf and, at the
same time, brushing them on to the places where the
gold has not adhered, so that the entire surface will
Skewings are the particles of gold which have been
Take a clean piece of paper, at least a foot larger
each way than the frame. Put it on the bench and
on it place the frame. This paper is to catch the
particles of gold (skewings) that .fly off during the
process, and to give a clean surface on which to brush
Use brush No. lo and work on the flats first. The
gold has already been pressed down. Go over these
parts with the brush, using a rubbing motion, just enough
to remove the loose particles and smooth the gold. On
the ornaments, first use brush No. 14 to break up the
gold, then with brush No. 10 rub over gently, and dab
down and around them, using a downward and at the
same time, a brushing stroke.
This will make the gold smooth, and at the same
time brush out loose particles. Places will now be
found which the gold has not covered. To cover these,
The Art and Science of Gilding 29
brush together the skewings on the paper; and it will
be found that, by placing the brush on them, and
squeezing the hair together with the finger and thumb,
many of the skewings may be picked up. Put these
on the places which are imperfectly covered and skew
over again. Keep close watch of the tops of the orna-
ments, to see that the gold is not being rubbed off
when skewing the hollows.
When the frame is well skewed, take the brush No.
14 and dust out all particles of gold on to the paper.
Gather these up and put into a cardboard box for
future use. It will save considerable gold leaf if the
skewings are saved and used in gilding other frames.
They may be used to gild cracks in the leaf; also
places around the ornaments which cannot be reached
when laying the gold with the tip.
Do not try to cover a space one-half inch square or
larger with the skewings. If this is done, the work
will look cloudy. On such a place it is always better
to lay a piece of gold, and then brush in with skewings
Take brush No. 14 and dust off all loose gold. Next,
look carefully at the places to be burnished, and if
there are any particles of gold on them, wipe off with a
cloth wet with benzine, taking care that the cloth does not
touch the parts that are not to be burnished.
30 The Art and Science of Gilding
Applying Finish Size.
Now coat the parts of the frame that are gilded in oil
gold, with finish size Formula No. i8. Use brush No.
9, and, when once the gold is covered and partly dry, do
not go over it again with the brush. If this is done, it
will look muddy and will pull up the gold.
Do not allow this finish size to touch the places to
be burnished: in case it does, it forms a coat which is
brittle and is liable to chip off when the burnisher is used.
After the finish-size has been applied, allow it to
dry; then give the parts of ornaments to be burnished
two more coats of gold burnish size (Formula No. 9,
using brush No. 3) and allow the first coat to dry before
applying the second. After these two coats have been
applied, do not sandpaper, but allow them to remain
as they are. When the last coat is on and thoroughly
dry, the gold may then be laid for burnishing.
The Art and Science of Gilding 31
Laying Gold for Burnishing.
For this purpose use brush No. 4. This is a double
brush, made by fitting a quill camel's hair letterer on
the end of the handle of a camel's hair lacquer brush.
The combination is called a "Gilder's pencil."
With the larger brush, apply the gilding Uquor (Form-
ula No. 13) to the gold size that is on the ornaments,
while keeping the smaller brush dry, and using it only
for tucking the gold around the ornaments to be burn-
ished, in case it should adhere to the top of the ornament
that is not to be burnished.
Take the cushion and cut a piece of gold (as in-
structed on page 50) a little larger than the ornament
to be burnished, and pick it up on the gilder's tip. In
picking up the gold, use as little of the tip as possible.
If the piece of gold is one inch wide, do not allow the
hair to catch on the gold more than one quarter of
If right handed, hold the cushion with the left hand,
and with the right, use the tip to pick up the gold.
Then place the tip with the gold on it between the first
and second fingers of the left hand. It will then be
in good position to take quickly with the right hand when
Thoroughly wet the gilder's pencil in the gild-
32 The Art and S cience of Gilding
ing liquor. (See Formula No. 13.) Apply it to the
ornament to be burnished. Do not brush it hard, but
flow the gilding liquor on freely. As, soon as this is
done, take the tip which already contains the gold and
apply it to the ornament. Do this as quickly as pos-
sible, as the gold must be on before the gilding liquor
dries off. Do not attempt to put this liquor on all the
parts that are to be burnished, and then lay the gold;
but put the liquor on one or two places, and then apply
the gold as quickly as possible.
In applying the gold, do not let the tip come in con-
tact with the gilding liquor that is on the ornament;
for, if it does, the gold will stick to the tip and cannot
be handled. It will be found by practise that the gold
can best be applied to burnished parts by a light, quick
The motion might be likened to that which one would
make in testing a hot flat iron. One would not let
one's finger rest on the iron, but would give it a light
quick touch. It is just such a stroke as this which is
used in laying gold for burnish.
Then, when proceeding, use the smaller brush on
the gilder's pencil to push down the gold wherever
it is necessary.
After the gold is laid on the ornaments to be burn-
ished, set the frame aside and allow these parts to
become thoroughly dry. This will take from one to
three hours. When dry, it will be ready to burnish.
The Art and Science of Gilding 33
The burnish is produced by rubbing with an agate
burnisher, using a forward and back motion, and bearing
on hard enough to bring out a bright burnish. If too
little pressure is used, it will not burnish, and too much
pressure will rub off the gold. A very little practice
will enable one to get the desired result. The agate
burnishers are made in many shapes, suitable for dif-
ferent kinds of work. It is best to have two or three,
but one of the medium size, with a crook, can be made
to answer most of the requirements of the picture frame
gilder. First burnish the ornaments. Do not allow
the burnisher to touch the oil gold, for if it does, the
gold will come off.
After the ornaments have been thoroughly burn-
ished, brush off the loose gold with brush No. 14.
Places where the burnish gold size is not covered may
be found at the edges of the ornaments burnished. In
such cases, cover these places with a fine quality of
bronze. (Formula No. 16, apply with brush No. i.)
34 The Art and Science of Gilding
Burnishing Hollows and Beads.
The concave parts of a moulding are called hollows;
the narrow raised parts, whether round or square, are
called beads. On new work, the flats, hollows, and
beads do not require any preparing with thin or thick
white. Go over them with sandpaper and dust thor-
oughly ; then prepare with gold burnish size as described
in preparing ornaments for burnishing. That is, use
two coats of gold burnish size (Formula No. 9).
To apply this to hollows and beads, use brush
No. 3. For flats use brush No. 5. Then
smooth with No. 00 sandpaper, as instructed on page 20.
After smoothing, dust thoroughly, and give two more
coats of gold burnish size. Remember that the last two
coats are not to be sandpapered or smoothed. In ap-
plying gold burnish size to flats, hollows and beads ;
have enough size on the brush to cover the hollow or bead
from one mitre of the frame to the other. Beginning
at one corner, draw the brush lightly and gradually bear
down, so as to give the section as even a coat as possible.
Lay the gold in the manner described on page 32.
The Art and Science of Gilding 35
Gilding New Work.
When a frame is first gilded, the gilder generally has
to put on it certain preliminary work that it was
not necessary to mention when giving instructions for
regilding. When a new frame is given to the gilder,
he should first turn it face down on the bench, and see
if the outside bottom edge has been chamfered off. If
not he should either plane it, or sandpaper the rough
edges of the whiting. The ornaments should be looked
at closely. Many places may be found, where they have
not been glued to the frame properly, and a space will
show between the ornament and the whiting. These
places should be filled with putty. Often the ornaments
will be found to be rough and imperfect; then it will be
necessary to sandpaper them. This must be done care-
fully, and the ornament kept as near to the original
shape as possible. When reaming out nail holes for
puttying, see that the whiting has not been cracked by
the joiner when he nailed the frame together. Such
cracks should be cut out and puttied as described on
page 10. It should not be necessary to put thin white on
the flats, as they are always supposed to be in first-
class condition when they leave the factory; but from
now on, the process of preparing a new frame is the
same as that of an old frame for regilding. Thin white.
36 The Art and Science of Gilding
thick white, smooth, sandpaper, dust, &c., but instead
of using shellac clear coat Formula No. 5, use glue
clear coat Formula No. 6. This is applied hot. Place
the cup in a pan of water and heat, use brush No. 6
and apply hot. Dab it down in and around the orna-
ments, and see that they are well covered. If they are
not well covered, the oil size will soak into the compo
and the gold will not stick. When applying, do not work
over the clear coat many times, for it chills quickly and
may foam, and then would leaVe a rough surface when
dry. Wipe the clear coat off places that are to be
burnished. This can be done with the finger as it is
being applied. If a little is left on it will not cause any
trouble, unless it should foam. When clear coating
ornaments that are close to flats, wipe off the
flats before the clear coat that gets on them is dry. The
flats must have a coat, but not until the ornaments
have all been coated. It is applied to the flats, as one
would paint, starting from one mitre of the frame, draw
the bnish along the flat to the next mitre, using plenty
of clear coat, and taking care to have it hot. If it should
foam while being applied, add three or four drops of
turpentine. Shellac clear coat Formula No. 5 can be
used on new work, but Formula No. 6 is preferable.
'After the clear coat is dry, proceed the same as in re-
gilding old frames.
The Art and Science of Gilding 37
Matte gilding is used only for plain parts which have
no ornamentation, flat surfaces, hollows and beads.
If a plain lining is to be matted, it must be done
before it is nailed to the frame. Never try to gild a
frame in matte that has two or more sections, after
the parts have been put together. Gild and finish each
section separately, and nail together afterward.
First, make sure that the flats are well sandpapered
with No. 00 sandpaper; and well dusted. With brush
No. 5 give the surface that is to be matted, two coats of
gold burnish size. When each coat is dry, prepare
some No. oo sandpaper as described on page 20 and
smooth the gold size. Do not try to remove it, but
give it a burnish effect.
Dust thoroughly with Brush No. 12, then with a
clean cloth, wipe off all particles of dust not removed
by the duster. Take brush No. 5 and give the flats a
coat of matte gold size No. i (Formula No. 11), heated
hot. After this size is perfectly dry, lay the gold on the
same as described in laying gold for burnish (see page
32), allowing the gold to lap over at least one-eighth
of an inch. When applying the gilding liquor, use brush
No. 5; and do not wet the entire flat that is to be
gilded at once. Wet a small section, an inch or so
38 The Art and Science of Gilding
longer than the piece of gold, and be sure to apply the
liquor after laying each piece. Should the beginner
attempt to lay two or more pieces with one wetting, it
probably would result in dry lays, and such places
would have to be patched. After laying the gold, set
the frame aside to dry. When dry, take a wad of
cotton-batting and wipe off all loose particles of gold.
Then with brush No. 5 give the frame a coat of hot
matte gold size No. 2 (Formula No. 12). When dry,
apply a second layer of gold leaf as described above,
and when this is dry wipe off again with cotton-batting.
The frame is then ready for a coat of finish size (Form-
ula No. 18).
If, at any time, when laying matte or burnish gold,
a place called a "dry lay" is found where the gold did not
adhere, it may be patched with a small piece of gold.
Use brush No. i and wet with gilding liquor the size
that is exposed. Be careful, however, to wet only the
part that contains no gold. After it is dry, smooth off
with cotton batting. Flaws on burnished places can be
patched in the same manner.
The effect of matte and oil gilding is practically the
same. The matte is a little smoother, but as it takes
twice as much gold, the oil process is generally used.
The Art and Science of Gilding 39
Gilding with Dutch Metal.
Metal leaf and Dutch metal are names given to a
combination of copper, zinc, and other metals beaten
into leaf, and used as an imitation of gold leaf. As it
is difficult to obtain satisfactory results on smooth sur-
faces, this leaf is used mostly on ornaments; and as it is
not beaten out as thin as gold leaf, it is not necessary to
use a tip to handle it. When applying it to ornaments,
gilders usually pick it up with the fingers ; but when using
it on smooth surfaces, like the backs of frames, a stick
covered with velvet or plush is very convenient, and
helps to lay it smoother and quicker than if handled
with the fingers. This stick should be about two inches
by six, and one-eighth of an inch thick; with a piece
of velvet or plush around one edge.
When using this stick, the leaf is not blown out on
the cushion. A book of leaf is fastened to the cushion
as described on page 49, and the velvet edge of the stick
is placed on a leaf about one inch from the edge
of it. Then a slight puff of breath will blow a portion
of the leaf so that it will lap over the edge of the
stick; then it can be picked up and applied to the frame.
The preparation for gilding with metal is the same
as for gilding in oil with gold, except that you will
require a diflferent oil — one that is made for the purpose,
40 The Art and Science of Gilding
called "Metal oil." This oil is heavier, and does not
dry as quickly as that used for gold. Aside from that,
you will proceed just the same as you would in laying
gold. After the leaf is applied, do not shellac, but go
over the frame with a lacquer, using brush No. ii.
This is to protect the metal and give it the rich gold
color desired. Either buy a lacquer for the purpose,
or make it yourself. (Formula No. 19.)
The Art and Science of Gilding 41
Applying Silver Leaf.
To finish a frame in silver leaf, proceed the same
as when gilding with gold. It would be better to have
the clear coat Formula No. 6 a little stronger. Equal
quantities of stock size and water will be the right propor-
tion. After laying the silver leaf, give the frame two
good coats of shellac. If the silver is not well coated,
it will tarnish. If the flats are more than one-fourth of
an inch wide, it would be better to lay in matte.
As silver leaf is thicker than gold and requires more
oil on the tip, have a piece of mutton tallow, and brush
the tip across it occasionally. Do not use this tip for
On many silver frames, a black color is put on the
background of the ornaments, and the finish is then
known as "oxidized silver." This black color is gen-
erally made from lamp black mixed with a weak glue
size. Some gilders put a little blue gold size in it,
thinking that it makes a better color . Brush it into
the ornaments, and when they are dry, wipe off the tops
with a soft cloth. The glue size must be very weak, or it
will be difficult to wipe it oflF without taking the silver
42 The Art and Science of Gilding
Roman Gold Gilding.
Roman gold is the name given to a very fine grade of
bronze powder. It is a bronze that not only gives a fine
matte finish, but can also be burnished like gold.
While treating of this class of gilding, we would
advise the gilder not to attempt the regilding of old
frames in this finish; as the result would not be sat-
isfactory. Gilding with Roman gold should be done
on new work only.
Prepare the frame the same as for gilding in gold;
that is, putty, thin white, thick white, smooth and sand-
paper; but do not clear coat or shellac. After it is
dusted, give the entire frame a coat of red clay size
(Formula No. 17 with brush No. 6). (This red clay
can be purchased from J. J. Heins, 6 Sullivan Street,
New York City.) After applying the red clay, heat the
Roman gold powder (Formula No. 15) and apply with
brush No. 10, taking care to get the bronze down, in and
around the ornaments. Give the frame two or three
coats of the Roman gold, or enough to cover it well.
After it is dry, take brush No. 15 and rub fairly hard over
the frame in order to remove all surplus bronze. See if
the parts are well covered ; and if not, coat over again un-
til they are. Then take a piece of sandpaper, No. o, and
remove the bronze from the places which are to be bum-
The Art and Science of Gilding *3
ished. Dust the frame and give these places two coats
of burnish size (Formula No. 14, brush No. 3), as
instructed on pages 20 and 21. When dry, give these
parts two or three coats of Roman gold (Formula 15,
brush No. 10), and when these are dry, burnish, as de-
scribed on page 33.
The frame must now be given two coats of banana
liquid as a protective. This liquid is a sort of white
lacquer, and is for sale in all paint stores. It was
named from its peculiar odor, which is something like
that of bananas. Some dealers have put a very inferior
article on the market, and as it is necessary that a
good quality be used for this purpose, the gilder should
be careful to get the best. See page 67.
Apply this banana liquid with brush No. 10. Go
over the entire frame, burnishes and all. Use freely
and be sure that the frame is well covered. However,
take care that there are no runs on the flats. Brush
them over carefully and leave them as smooth as possible.
A word about this Roman gold powder. There are
many qualities on the market, and at many different
prices. J. W. Gillis Co. of Rochester, N. Y., import a
very fine grade, and are selling it to their customers.
It is the bronze from which they obtain their artistic
effects in Roman, Etruscan and antique gold. They
sell it for 50c per ounce, or $6.00 per pound.
44 The Art and Science of Gilding
Gilding with Liquid Bronze.
Gilding with bronze powder is the cheapest class of
gilding, and as it is very easy to apply, many frames
are finished in that way. While it cannot be recom-
mended where first-class work is desired, a very good
effect can be produced when it is properly handled. A
frame finished entirely with bronze will look cheap, but
if there is a fair amount of gold burnish on the frame,
and the right quality and color of bronze is used, a
result can be obtained that to the ordinary observer, will
pass for gold.
There are hundreds of bronzes on the market, of
every shade and quality, and as each dealer has
his own name for the different shades, it is not pos-
sible to indicate which should be used. A fine quality
of what is called "matte bronze" is best for frame
work, but the gilder must select the color that will best
secure the result he desires.
If it is intended to put gold burnishes on the frame,
these places should be prepared, according to instruc-
tions on pages 20 and 21, before the bronze is applied.
Then the bronze must be removed from these places
with sandpaper, before the gold size is put on.
First give the frame a coat of shellac (Formula
No. 5, with brush No. 11), and when it is dry.
The Art and Science of Gilding *5
a coat of liquid bronze (Formula No. l6, brush No.
lo). Then allowing each coat to dry before applying the
next, give a second, third or even a fourth coat of the
liquid bronze, if a very nice effect is desired. The last coat
should be thinner — ^that is, about one-half teaspoonful
of bronze to five or six tablespoonsful of banana liquid.
This liquid bronze must be flowed on evenly, and care
must be used to avoid runs on the flats. When the
last coat is dry, give the smooth parts of the frame a
coat of shellac (Formula No. i8). It is not necessary
to shellac the ornaments.
46 , The Art and Science of Gilding
Bleaching Old Engravings.
To know how to restore old engravings is alvyrays
valuable knowledge to the picture framer; and, if one will
follow our instructions and use our formula No. 23, one
will be able to restore to its former condition an engrav-
ing that is yellow and stained from age. This is a branch
of business from which a good profit may be derived ; as
the time and money expended is but a trifle compared
with the price that is charged for the bleaching. Most
old engravings, though very valuable are stained and dis-
figured and their owners are willing to pay well to have
them restored. Pictures which can be restored are:
Steel engravings, etchings and photo-gravures. It is not
advisable to try to bleach a picture that is printed on India
paper ; as the India paper is very thin and is mounted on
a heavier paper. If one were to try to bleach one of this
kind, the India paper would come off from the other and
there would be much difficulty in remounting it.
A pan about two inches deep and large enough to al-
low the picture to lay flat, will be required. One thirty-
two by forty-two inches, would be large enough for a
picture thirty by forty and of course would do for any-
thing smaller. A pan as large as this, should be made
of galvanized iron, and it must be made to hold water.
First, place the picture in the pan, face side up and
The Art and Science of Gilding *7
pour into the pan enough water to cover the picture.
Leave the water in until the picture is saturated; then
pour it oif. Next, pour into the pan a sufficient quantity
of formula No. 23 to cover the picture. Allow the pic-
ture to remain in the solution until the stains entirely
disappear. Then pour off the solution.
There should be a large bottle provided in which to
keep the solution, as it can be used several times. After
pouring off the solution, place the pan containing the
picture under a faucet of running water, and allow it to
wash for ten minutes. If running water is not con-
venient, put the print through eight or ten changes of
water. Remove the print from the pan, and place it on
a clean paper. Take a large piece of blotting paper and
absorb all the water possible from the picture. If de-
sired, it may then be mounted.
*8 The Art a nd Science of Gilding
The Gilder's Tip.
The gilder's tip is a fiat brush, about four inches
wide, with hair one and one-half to two and one-half
inches long. It is used to pick up and put the gold
leaf on the frame or article to be gilded.
Tip No. i6 is used for laying the gold on burnishes,
and places where only small pieces of gold are used.
Tip No. 17 for oil work.
The hair on this tip should always be kept straight
and smooth. The best and most convenient way to
do this, is to place it flat against the face, put the palm
of one hand against it and with the other hand draw
it away, thus straightening the hairs. Do this after
using; and when the gilding is finished, put the tip be-
tween the leaves of a book and keep it there until
Before using the tip to pick up gold, flatten it in
the same manner, but instead of the face, use the top
of the head, and draw the tip between the palm of
the hand and the hair. The hair of the head has more
or less natural oil, and some of it gets on the tip, which
causes the gold to adhere more readily. While using
the tip it is well to occasionally brush it across the
hair. This will keep it in good condition and make it
The Art and Science of Gilding *9
The Cushion and How to Use It.
The gilder's cushion is a padded board, usually about
five by nine inches, covered with specially prepared sheep-
skin. There is a leather loop on the under side with
which to hold it, and a parchment shield around one end
to form a protection for the gold when blown into it
from the book. Some gilders prefer to use a cushion
without a shield. A strip of leather three-quarters of
an inch wide is fastened across the cushion. A section,
one-fourth of an inch by three inches is cut out of the
strip, and by passing a match under the strip and through
the thread, with which the book is sewed, one or more
books of gold leaf may be fastened to the cushion. Then
with the gilder's knife the gold is taken ouf. of the book,
a leaf at a time, and blown flat on the cushion.
When using the cushion, the thumb of one hand — say
the left — should be put through the leather loop on the
underside. This leaves the fingers free to hold the tip
and knife. The most convenient way is to hold the tip
between the first and second finger, and the gilder's
knife between the third and fourth finger. After becom-
ing accustomed to this arrangement, it will be found
that when the gold has been cut and the knife placed be-
tween the fingers of the left hand, the tip is right there to
be taken back by the same movement. Before picking
up the gold, brush the tip once across the hair; and
when the tip is put back in the left hand, after applying
the gold leaf to the frame, the same movement will bring
back the knife to spread out and cut the gold.
50 The Art and Science of Gilding
Cutting the Gold.
To cut the gold leaf will require some practise and
patience. First place a leaf of gold on the front part of
the cushion and blow it flat, as described on page 24.
Now place the edge of the gilder's knife on the leaf
where it is to be cut, press down fairly hard, and push
the knife away from you about an eighth or a quarter
of an inch; then draw it toward you until it leaves the
gold entirely. If the knife is raised in the act of cutting,
and before it is through and away from the gold, it may
pick up the gold and cause trouble.
It is a good plan to draw the blade of the knife through
an empty gold leaf book, pressing, the book while doing
so. "A reddish powder, which is used to keep the gold
from sticking to the paper, clings to the leaves of the
book. This will also prevent the gold from sticking to
the knife. We would advise occasionally rubbing the
leaves of a book on the cushion, to prevent the gold from
The Art and Science vf Gilding 51
Formula No. i Stock Size.
This is a preparation that is used in many of the
other formulas ; and, as much of it is required, a quantity
should be kept on hand, ready for use.
For mixing, it will require a bowl that will hold at least
a quart. Fill the bowl three-fourths full of Heins' white
glue and pour on cold water until covered, then allow it
to stand until the glue is soaked. Place the bowl with
its contents in a pan of water, and heat until the glue is
thoroughly melted. Stir well, and allow it to cool.
52 The Art and Science of Gilding
Formula No. 2 Gilder's Putty.
Into a cup, put two tablespoons full of melted stock
size, and six tablespoons full of water. Place the cup
in a pan of water, and heat. Stir well. This is called
"putty size." Now put a pound or more of bolted whit-
ing in a box. A cigar box will do. This box should be
marked, so that it will not be used for anything but the
making of gilder's putty. With the fist, make an impres-
sion in the whiting deep enough to contain the putty size.
Pour the hot putty size into the impression, and with a
stick, stir the whiting into the putty size until it becomes
the consistency of thick dough. Rub some whiting on
the hands, take the putty up, and mix it evenly by rolling
it between the hands. After it is thoroughly mixed, take
a piece of cotton cloth; dampen it with water, and roll
the putty in it. This will preserve it for several days. A
crust that will form over it within a day or two, should
be cut off, and underneath will be found moist putty,
ready for use.
When puttying a frame, take a piece of putty about the
size of a walnut. As the heat of the fingers causes the
putty to gradually become dry, slightly moisten it from
time to time as needed. Most gilders use spittle for this
purpose. There is nothing poisonous in any of the
preparation used in gilding, so one need not be afraid of
The Art and Science of Gilding 53
Formula No. 3 Thin White.
Into a cup, put two tablespoons full of melted stock
size ,and seven tablespoons full of water. Place the cup
in a pan of water, and heat until melted and thoroughly
mixed. Then stir in four level tablespoons of bolted
whiting and strain through fine cheese cloth.
When applying this preparation, it must be kept hot.
There is no danger of it becoming full of pin holes, but
there are times, especially in winter, when it becomes
foamy. When this happens, add three or four drops of
54 The Art and Science of Gilding
Formula No. 4 Thick White.
Into a cup, put one tablespoonfull of melted stock size,
and three and one-half tablespoonsfull of water. Place
the cup in a pan of water and heat. After it is melted,
take the cup out of the pan, and stir in nine tablespoons-
full of bolted whiting and three tablespoonsfull of china
clay. Mix thoroughly, and strain through a very fine
cheese cloth. If unable to obtain china clay, use twelve
tablespoonsfull of whiting. To use this thick white,
place the cup in a pan of hot water, but do not have any
fire under it. As soon as it is melted, take it out of the
pan. Never allow it to become hot. If it is too hot
when applied to the frame, it becomes full of little holes,
called by gilders "pin holes." When the thick white pin
holes, add ten drops of turpentine, which will generally
overcome the trouble. However, if it continues to pin
hole, throw it away, and mix another lot. If one gilds on
top of a pin hole surface, the result will be very poor
work; work that would never be accepted in a first-
class shop. So be very careful to watch this preparation
The Art and Science of Gilding 55
Formula No. 5 Shellac (Clear Coat) for Regilding.
To one-half cup of liquid shellac, such a? can be pur-
chased at any paint or drug store, add one-quarter cup of
alcohol. Stir with brush before using.
Either orange or white shellac may be used. Many
gilders prefer the orange, as with that, any places that
have not been covered can more readily be seen.
If the gilder wishes to buy dry shellac and cut it him-
self, he should take a wide rtiouthed bottle and fill it
with dry shellac, then pour in enough alcohol to cover it.
This should be allowed to stand until the shellac is dis-
solved or cut. It will do no harm if it is shaken occa-
sionally. This liquid shellac will be stronger than the
shellac that is for sale, and it will be necessary to put
one-half cup of alcohol to one-half cup of shellac to get
the required strength.
Formula No. 6 Clear Coat for New Work.
Into a cup put four tablespoonsfuU of melted stock size,
and five tablespoonsfuU of water. Place the cup in a
pan of water and heat. Pour in one-half teaspoonful of
alcohol while stirring. Apply hot with brush No. 6.
56 The Art and Science of Gilding
Formula No. 7 Rabbit Skin Glue Size.
Into a large cup, put two ounces of rabbit skin glue, and
one-half pint of water. Let it stand until soaked; then
put the cup in a pan of water and heat until melted.
Formula No. 8 Glue Size for Gold Burnish Work
Into a cup, put four tablespoons full of formula No. 7,
and five tablespoonsfuU of water. Place the cup in a
pan of water and melt.
Formula No. 9 Gold Burnish Size
Into a cup put one tablespoonfull of Heins' gold burnish
size, (Blue Clay), and three tablespoonsfuU of water
Mix thoroughly before adding three teaspoonsfuU of
Formula No. 8. Mix thoroughly, then strain through a
very fine bolting cloth. When this preparation becomes
set or chilled, place the cup in a pan of warm water and
allow to stand until melted. Stir the size while in process
of melting and do not allow it to become hot, or it will
pin hole. A foam may form on it while melting. Four
or five drops of alcohol will cut this foam and prevent
The Art and Science of Gilding 57
Formula No. id Oil Gold Size.
Open a can of Heins' oil size according to the directions
which will be found on the outside of the can. There is
quite a sediment, which must be stirred, until it is well
mixed with the oil that floats on top. Then pour about
two teaspoonsfull into a saucer, and add about one-fourth
of a teaspoonfuU of Japan dryer. This will give a harder
surface on which to lay the gold, than would be obtained,
were the size alone used. Stir the Japan into the oil
Formula No. ii Matte Gold Size No. i.
Into a cup one-half full of water, put a piece of stock
size about the size of a pea, and one teaspoonfuU of
alcohol. Place the cup in a pan of water and heat.
Formula No. 12 Matte Gold Size No. 2.
Into a cup seven-eighths full of water, put a piece of
stock size about the size of a pea, and one teaspoonfuU of
alcohol. Place the cup in a pan of water and heat.
58 The Art and Science of Gilding
Formula No. 13 Gilding Liquor.
Into a tumbler, put eight tablespoons full of cold water
and three teaspoonsfull of alcohol.
Grain or denatured alcohol may be used in all of the
Formula No. 14 Size for Roman Gold Burnishes.
Into a cup put two tablespoonsfuU of Formula No. 7
and four tablespoonsfuU of w^ter. Place the cup in a
pan of water and melt. Then stir in four tablespoons
level full of Heins' Burnish gold size. Mix thoroughly.
Formula No. 15 Size for Mixing with Roman Gold.
Into a cup put one teaspoonfull of melted glue, Formula
No. 7, one-half pint of hot water and one ounce of
Roman gold powder. Stir until well mixed. If you
wish it a little stronger, use more glue.
Formula No. 16 Liquid Bronze
Into a cup put six tablespoonsfuU of banana liquid, and
stir into it one teaspoonfull of bronze powder. Mix
The Art and Science . of Gilding 59
Formula No. 17 Red Clay Size.
Into a cup put one tablespoonfull of Heins' red clay,
and three tablespoonsfuU of water. Mix thoroughly, be-
fore adding, four teaspoons fulls of Formula No. 8. Mix
thoroughly, then strain through a very fine bolting cloth.
To use, place the cup in a pan of warm water, but do
not allow it to become hot.
Formula No. 18 Finish Size.
To one-half cup of alcohol, put one teaspoonfull of
white shellac, cut as described in Formula No. 5.
Formula No. 19 Lacquer for Dutch Metal.
Cut orange shellac, as described in Formula No. 5.
Cut one teaspoonfull of powdered gamboge in six table-
spoonsfuU of alcohol, and one teaspoonfull of powdered
dragons blood in six tablespoonsfuU of alcohol. Then
to one tablespoonfull of the cut shellac and one table-
spoonful of the cut gamboge and one teaspoonfull of the
cut dragons blood, add four tablespoonsfuU of alcohol.
Mix thoroughly. The gilder may have to vary the pro-
portions a little, to get the desired color, as these in-
gredients are not always of the same strength.
Gamboge and dragons blood can be bought at any drug
store, in stick form, and should be broken up with a
hammer, before cutting.
60 The Art and Science of GUding
Formula No. 20 Composition.
This is the material used for making ornaments and is
generally known as compo. It is necessary to have two
pots. In one, put three pounds of Heins' white glue and
one quart of water. After it is thoroughly soaked, place
it on the stove to melt. Into the other, put two pounds
of rosin and one pint of rosin oil, and place it on the stove
to melt. After they are melted separately, allow the
rosin to cool for about fifteen minutes then put it into
the glue and mix thoroughly. Into a box large enough
for the purpose, put fifteen or twenty pounds of bolted
whiting. Bank this whiting around the sides to prevent
the mixture from sticking to the box. Then pour the
mixture into it and stir with a stick until it becomes the
consistency of dough, and thick enough to handle.
Sprinkle some whiting on a board or table, and knead
the compo until thoroughly mixed. In time the compo
becomes very hard. It is softened by subjecting it to the
action of live steam. In factories and in places where
it is in constant use, a steam box is used. Where only
used occasionally, a simple way is to make a stretcher and
cover with cheese cloth. Put the compo on this stretcher
and place it over a pan of boiling water, and over it put
a box to keep the steam in.
To make a compo casting, first oil the mould either
The Art and Science of Gilding ^1
with kerosene or crude oil. If the compo has been
steamed, put some whiting on a board or bench and
place the compo on it. Then work some of the whiting
into it, first with a stick and then with the hands, knead-
ing it thoroughly. Before handling it, cover the hands
with whiting to prevent it sticking to and burning the
hands. Roll out a sufficient quantity to make the casting,
and place it on the mould. Now take a piece of hard
wood two or three inches longer and an inch or two
wider than the mould, and an inch thick. This is called
a casting board. A press will be required. An ordinary
letter press is very good for the purpose. Moisten the
face of the casting board with a damp cloth and place it
over the compo on the mould then place both mould and
casting board in the press, the casting board being on
top. One learns by practice how much pressure is neces-
sary. After taking frorii the press separate the mould
from the casting board by striking one end of the casting
board on the bench or press. Have the mould under-
neath, and keep one hand under it to catch it. Pressing
once is all that is usually required, but if the ornament is
very deep it may be necessary to replace the cast in the
mould and press over again to obtain a good cast. This
should be allowed to harden for ten or fifteen minutes,
and it will then be in condition to be cut off with a sharp
carving knife. The ornament can be sliced from the
background and is then ready to be glued to the frame.
62 The Art and Science of Gilding
Formula No. 21 Composition Moulds.
These moulds are used when it is necessary to replace
ornaments that have been broken off and are missing.
Take a piece of soft compo, (Formula No. 19) at least
one inch thick, and one inch larger each way, than the
ornament that is to be copied. After coating the orna-
ment with crude oil press the compo on it, so as to get
as good an impression as possible ; then remove the compo
frwi the ornament and set it aside to harden. This will
take two or three days. The gilder will then be able to
supply the missing parts by using this mould to make a
castirtg, as described in Formula No. 19. If only a small
piece is needed, it may not be necessary to put it in the
press, as the ornament can be formed by pressing the
compo into the mould with the fingers.
The Art and Science of Gilding *3
Fdrmula No. 22 Cement Moulds.
First see that the ornament which is to be copied is on
a solid base. If the ornament is one by twelve inches, it
should be glued securely to a piece of hard wood at least
three inches wide, fifteen inches long and one inch thick.
Next prepare a box to hold the mould. This must also be
of hard wood (Maple is as good as any). It should be
about two and a half or three inches larger each way
than the ornament ; or about three and one-half by fifteen
inches for a one by twelve ornament; and one inch or
more in thickness. Dig out from this block an excavation
sufficiently large to take the ornament. For a one by
twelve ornament, the excavation should be at least one
and one-half by twelve and one-half, and one-eighth inch
deeper than the deepest part of the ornament. The
edges of the excavation should be under cut to prevent
the cement from pulling out of the box.
Into a three quart stew pan with handle, put three cups
full of orange shellac, one and one-half cups full of
rosin, one cup full of black lead, and three tablespoons-
full of pine tar. Melt over a medium fire, constantly
stirring with a stick. On a smooth board or bench, put
two cups full of powdered pumice. Form this pumice
with the hands into the shape of a dish, about seven or
eight inches in diameter, and into it pour the melted shel-
lac, etc., the contents of the stew pan. With two sticks
work the pumice into the cement, and when cool enough,
6* The Art and Science of Gilding
work with the hands until thoroughly mixed. Then put
into the stew pan and melt over again. Put a little more
pumice on the bench and repeat the mixing. It becomes
a mass that can be rolled out as one would roll out putty.
Roll out enough to fill the excavation in the box. Now
coat the ornament and the top of the box with kerosene.
Put the cement in the box and carefully press the orna-
ment into the centre of it. Take it out and see if it is
in the right place, then put it back again and place it in
the press squeezing it lightly. Do not leave the ornament
in the mould more than thirty seconds as the cement is
very hot and will soften the compo if it is left in too
long. After the ornament has been out for a minute or
so, put it back and squeeze again, this will have to be
done several times before the cement becomes hard and
After the first or second squeeze it will be noticed
that there is too much cement in the box. It will require
a hot iron to remove it (an old flat file is very good for
the purpose). Put it in the fire until nearly red hot, and
with it you will be able to scrape oflE the superfluous
When finished the cement should be flush with the
top of the box. This process requires considerable
patience and perseverance. This quantity of cement will
make about two moulds of the size mentioned. The
cement can at any time be melted and used over again.
Use care, however, not to bum it. If a mould should
crack, it can be softened by holding over fire and by
pressing over again.
The Art and Science of Gilding ^5
Formula No. 23 Solution for Bleaching Old
Dissolve three ounces of chloride of lime in hot water
and run through filtering paper. Then put it with five
ounces of carbonate of soda into five gallons of water.
If this solution is kept after using, it should be put into
a bottle or bottles and well corked, or it will loose its
strength. The chloride of lime and carbonate of soda in
powder form should also be kept in bottles. A better
plan, is to get a few cents worth of the lime and soda
from a drug store as required.
66 The Art and Science of Gilding
No. 1. }i inch Round Extra Camel's Hair Water
No. 2. 3-16 inch Round Extra Camel's Hair Water
No. 3. ^ inch Round Camel's Hair Lacquering
No. 4. % inch Round Camel's Hair Lacquering-
Brush with 3/i inch Round Camel's Hair
No. 5. Jfi inch Flat Camel's Hair Lacquering Brush.
No. 6. ^ inch Flat Superfine Artists' Bristle Brush.
No. 7. 1 inch Flat Superfine Artists' Bristle Brush.
No. 8. 1^ inch Flat Superfine Artists' Bristle Brush.
No. 9. -i/i inch Single Chisel Fitch Brush.
No. 10. 1 inch Double Chisel Fitch Brush.
No. 11. IJ^ inch Double Chisel Fitch Brush.
No. 12. 2% inch Flat Paint Brush.
No 13. 1 incn Camel's Hair Duster.
No. 14. 1^ inch Badger Blender.
No. 15. 2x8 inch Bristle Clothes Brush.
No. 16. lyi inch Camel Hair Gilders' Tip.
No. 17. 2 inch Camel Hair Gilders' Tip.
The Art and Science of Gilding 6'^
Care of Brushes.
Brushes which have been used in shellac,' or bronze,
should be cleaned in alcohol. Brushes which have been
used in size, glue or oil, should be well washed in soap
and water, and thoroughly dried before being used again.
A piece of paper wrapped, after cleaning, around the
hair of shellac and bronze brushes will help to keep them
To indicate the proper brush to use for each operation
in the process of gilding, is rather a difficult task. Cata-
logue numbers cannot be given, as each manufacturer
has his own method of numbering. The descriptions
given on page 66 should be sufficient ; but in most of the
smaller cities and towns, it is not always possible to get
what is required; and in such places, the beginner will
have difficulty in selecting the best for the purpose.
To provide for this condition, the authors have put in
a stock of brushes, and other articles that the beginner
will require, and will supply all who wish them. On the
following page will be found a list of articles, that we
have called "The Gilder's Outfit." This shows the
number of brushes that will be needed, and the approxi-
mate cost of each. Prices of other articles, such as Gold,
Silver, Dutch Metal, Bronze, Glue, Shellac, Banana
Liquid, etc., will be furnished on application.
68 The Art and Science of Gilding
The Guilder's Outfit.
I Gilder's Cushion $i 25
I Gilder's Knife (Single or double edge) 50
1 Agate Burnisher 85
3 No. I Brushes, yc each 21
2 No. 2 Brushes, 8 each 16
I No. 3 Brush 14
1 No. 4 Brush 25
3 No. 5 Brushes, 20c each 60
2 No. 6 Brushes, 17c each 34
2 No. 7 Brushes, 22c each 44
3 No. 8 Brushes, 27c each 81
1 No. 9 Brush 22
3 No. 10 Brushes, 32c each 96
2 No. 1 1 Brushes, 48c each 96
I No. 12 Brush 25
I No. 13 Brush 57
I No. 14 Brush 55
I No. IS Brush 25
I No. 16 Brush .., 20
I No. 17 Brush 22
1 Putty Stick 10
I lb. Oil Gold Size 75
I lb. Burnish Gold Size 75
This entire outfit will be sent by express for $9.75.
The articles have been carefully selected, and are all
of the finest quality. Any item will be sent by mail
(postage paid) on receipt of price.
FORD & MIMMACK,
190-196 Edinburgh Street, Rochester, N. Y,