When the gilder has made his decision as to the number of lays that will be required, he selects one lay, and proceeds with it through the whole length of the moulding before he begins another portion of the width. If the necessary lay be . about 3/4 or 7/8 in. wide, he cuts the leaf which is spread out on his cushion into 4 strips; if it be about 1 in. wide, he cuts the leaf into 3, regulating the division of the leaf of gold according to the width of the lay. It is not often that a larger piece than half a leaf is used at once, The gilder has at hand a pan with clean water, and 2 or 3 camel-hair pencils of different sizes. With one of these pencils he wets a few inches of that part of the moulding which is to form his first lay, talcing care not to wet much beyond that lay. The water is to be allowed to remain pretty full on the. surface, after some of it has been imbibed by the gold size. The gilder then takes his tip in his right hand, and lays it on the slip of gold, which slightly adheres to the hairs; whence he places it on the moulding, with particular attention to straightness of direction.

It frequently happens that the hairs of the tip will not take up the gold; in such case it is usual to rub the hairs between the cheek and the palm of the hand, by which their power of taking up the gold is increased. When the gold is laid on it is blown forcibly, to expel as much of the water as possible from beneath it, the dry camel-hair pencil being used to press down any parts which fail to adhere. Another portion is then wetted, and another piece laid on, lapping about 1/8 in. over the end of the former piece. Thus the gilder proceeds, piece after piece, until the one lay is carried down the whole length of the moulding, he then proceeds with another lay joining the former. In doing this he has to observe that the water must be made to flow a little over the edge of the former lay, but not so as to wash it up, or break away the edge; the second lay must lap a little over the first, and therefore the water must likewise extend over the first lay. Thus he proceeds with all the lays into which he has found it necessary to divide the width of the moulding; every piece, lengthwise, lapping over the piece previously put on, and every lay lapping over the previous lay. The moulding is then set aside to dry.

There is a particular state or degree of dryness, known only by experience, in which the moulding is is in a fit state for burnishing. The burnishers used by the gilder are either of flint or agate, generally the former; the steel burnishers employed by the jeweller would not do for the gilder, Burnishers of different forms and sizes must be employed, in order to adapt them to the part of the work which is being burnished; they are generally crooked or curved near the end. When the burnishing is done, those parts which have not been burnished are weak sized, that is, they are wetted with water in which a very little clear piece of size has been melted; this helps to secure the gold. When dry, the gold is wiped carefully with a piece of soft cottonwool, to remove rough or ragged edges of gold; and there are now visible a number of little breaks, holes, and faulty places in the gilding, arising from the impossibility of laying on the gold quite soundly and perfectly. These defective parts are repaired by the process of faulting, which consists of cutting up a leaf of gold into small pieces and laying them on the faulty places, previously wetted, with a camel-hair pencil.

If the defective part is on the burnish, it is necessary to be careful not to wet any part but what is to be covered by the gold, as it will stain the burnished gold. When the faulting is dry, the gold is again carefully wiped, and finally wetted with finishing size. This is clear size of a certain degree of strength, laid on the matt parts with a pencil, and completes the process of gilding. When a glass frame is to be gilt, the joiner's work is generally quite completed before the gilder begins, and great care is required in whiting such frames, to prevent filling up the corners with whiting, and giving them a clumsy appearance. For this purpose, modelling tools, such as chisels, gouges, and crooks, are used to clear out the corners from time to time, and preserve the original sharpness and clearness of the several parts.

Composition For Moulding

(a) The following is used by gilders; - Mix 14 lb. glue, 7 lb. rosin, 1/2 lb. pitch, 2 1/2 pints linseed oil, 5 pints water, more or less according to the quantity required. Boil the whole together, well stirring until dissolved, add as much whiting as will render it of a hard consistency, then press it into a mould, which has been previously oiled with sweet oil. No more should he mixed than can be used before it becomes sensibly hard, as it will require steaming before it can be used again.

(6) Make a very clear glue with 3 parts Flanders glue and 1 part isinglass by dissolving the two kinds separately in a large quantity of water, and mix them together, after they have been strained through a piece of fine linen to separate the parts which could not be dissolved. The quantity of water cannot be fixed, because all kinds of glue are not homogeneous, so that some require more than others. The proper strength may be found by suffering the glue to become perfectly cold; it must then barely form a jelly. The glue is gently heated, then mixed with saw-dust sifted through a fine sieve. The moulds are then oiled with nut oil, and the glue is pressed into the mould, covered with a weighted board, and then set to dry near a stove. When the casting is dry, it is to be trimmed.

Burnished Gilt Frames

When new burnished gilding requires varnishing, white hard spirit-varnish is used, or yellow gold lacquer. Old burnished work must he cleaned with great care. First remove the dust with a badger-hair brush; afterwards clean the gilding by passing a clean sponge dipped, in gin and water, lightly over the surface, wiping off the moisture with a very soft dry sponge or silk handkerchief; then apply the varnish, and finish.