Burnished, or Water Gilding, will not bear being wetted, and is only fit for work to be always kept within doors. For this gilding the wood is first covered with 4 or 5 coats of whiting and size; and that the gilding should be perfect, it is necessary that there should be a sufficient body of whiting. When these are dry, they are laid oyer with a coat of gold size, made of Armenian bole, a little wax, and some parchment size. When the size is dry, a portion of the surface is wetted plentifully with clear water and a soft brush, and a leaf of gold is applied, so as almost to float on the water, when it instantly settles down and adheres to the size. Great care must be taken not to suffer any of the water to come over the gold, or a stain will be produced. When the whole is covered with gold leaf, the effect is what is called matt, or dead gold, and is the natural colour of gold not burnished. Such parts as are required to be burnished are rubbed over with an agate burnishing tool. Ornaments executed partly matt, and partly burnished, have a very rich effect, which is seen in most picture frames.
As already stated, burnished gilding cannot be cleaned with water, though oil gold may; but the matt portion of water gilding is so like oil gold, as not to be distinguished by an inexperienced eye; and it may be very desirable to know, in that case, by which of the two processes it has been executed, with a view to cleaning it when soiled by flies or otherwise. This may be ascertained by observing in some crack or crevice whether the gold is laid on a coat of whiting; and if there is no other method, a small scratch with a knife may be made in some unimportant part to ascertain the fact On account of the impossibility of washing water gilding without injury, it is necessary to take great care to protect it from flies, or other causes of soiling it, by covering it over with very fine net. Frames executed in water gilding are sometimes required to be regilt; this cannot be done without taking oft the whole of the whiting, and commencing the process again, which is expensive. When this is done, the frames may be either regilt in the water or in the oil manner; and as the latter is much the cheaper, it is sometimes preferred, although it cannot be burnished.
Japanners' Gliding is where ornaments are drawn in gold upon japanned work, and is often seen in folding screens and cabinets. The ornaments are formed by a camel-hair pencil, with japanners' gold size, made by boiling linseed oil with gum animi, and a little vermilion. When the size is nearly dry, gold powder or gold leaf is applied. In all cases where gold has been fixed on by means of linseed oil, it will bear being washed without coming of.