Cleaning Gilt Frames

Gilt frames may be cleaned by simply washing them with a small sponge, wet with urine, hot spirits of wine, or oil of turpentine, not too wet, but sufficiently to take off the dirt and fly marks. They should not be afterwards wiped, but left to dry of themselves.

Re-Gilding Frames

(a) Take a sponge and some clean water, and wash the frame well; let it dry; procure some water-gold size; make some thin size from dry hide or parchment; mix enough warm with the gold size to enable you to work it on the frame with a camel-hair brush; give it two coats; when dry, rub it over with a piece of fine sand-paper; it will then be ready for gilding. When the frame is covered, rest it on its edge to drain; when perfectly dry, dip a pencil into water, and wipe the gold over with it; it will take the particles of gold off, and make it appear solid. For any parts hot covered, take bits of leaf with a dry pencil, and lay on as before, then give the whole a coat of clear parchment size, brush the back edges over with ochre, and the frame is then ready.

(6) The tools required for the job are the following: a pint basin with a lip, two moderate sponges, and two small finger sponges, three fitches, one flat, 1/4 in. wide, one round 1/4 in., and one 3/8 in. or 1/2 in., round.- We will count these three one set, for sizing. You will want another set for whiting, another for claying, one fitch for skewing, one small sash-tool for washing off, and one about 1 in. diameter for duster; a gilders' cushion, a gilders' tip, a camel-hair dabber, a gilders' knife, some fat pipeclay, some prepared whiting, some plumbago, oil gold-size, crystal size, or parchment cuttings to make some, two agate burnishers, one round, about the diameter of a goose-quill, and one oval, larger, or about double the above on the broad part, and some composition made of glue, whiting, and linseed oil. The picture taken from the frame, dust well, and proceed to wash off with clean water, not letting your brush hold too much, to make your work too wet. When washed off let stand by for some time to get dry and steady. Now is your time to make all ornamental work good, or repairs.

To work the compo you will need two pieces of brass wire, one about 1/4 in. and one about 1/8 in. full, bent in the shape of an f, the ends being flattened to form a kind of trowel in miniature, such as used by artists in clay modelling. Make your compo warm, and work it well, that it may not work lumpy. Having some hot glue, dab some upon the sore place, press your compo upon it; in a few minutes you may proceed to shape it to correspond to the rest of pattern. Having made all things ship-shape, that which is to be matt, i.e., the bottom of design, is to be laid down with gold size very sparingly, and after that has been gilded, if the prominent parts or that which is in relief is to be burnished, is to be sized and clayed; then, after being allowed to dry, another coat of weak size; this is allowed to dry. When you are about to lay the gold on, wet it with clean water. The oil gold-size will take 2-5 hours before it will be fit to receive the gold, and will depend, in a great measure, upon the weather. This oil gold-size is composed of prepared linseed-oil, very finely-ground litharge, and stone ochre. The cushion-knife and tip can be dispensed with, although these and the dabber are all held in the hands when laying on the gold by the professional.

The cushion is a board about the dimensions of a half-sheet of note-paper, the back half of which is walled around with a piece of parchment about 2 1/2 in. high; the floor of the cushion is wash-leather, as it is usually called, pre-, pared with red chalk; on the under side is a strap to strap it upon your thumb, or the gilder's thumb of the left hand, the hooded or walled part projecting oyer back of the hand, the fingers being curled. The tip is placed between the second and third finger, and the knife between the little finger and next, and the dabber between the forefinger and thumb. He takes a book of gold and shakes out three or four leaves into the hood - pell-mell as it would seem to the uninitiated, places the book down in a safe place, takes the knife and picks up one of the leaves and tosses it about, gives it a puff of wind from his lips, and there it is spread out upon the cushion without a wrinkle in it. He then proceeds to carve it up into the shape or size pieces that he sees most convenient to cover his job. He then returns the knife to its proper place, and takes the tip, which is some long badger-hair between some card for a handle.

He whisks the tip over the hair upon his head or down his whiskers, and applies it to a piece of the leaf gold; it instantly picks it up like a magnet. By these means he conveys and deposits the gold where required, replaces the tip, and takes the dabber and dabs it down. Some will dab with the dabber between the little finger and next upon the right hand with the dabbing part outside, and will pick up and dab and cover a frame in a few seconds. After covering (see that it is all covered), let stand for an hour or two, and skew off. That is done by the skewing-fitch; the tool is held between the thumb and forefinger of right hand, and pressed lightly down upon the gold, and a slight skewing or twisting action is given to it, and the fine gold or pounce liberated by the action is skewed by the same action into the interstices and angles of the pattern that the dabber could not get at. Continue this action with the powder under your brash, until you have gone around your frame; then skew your gold powder off on to a highly glazed piece of paper and preserve.

When you commence gilding, the best plan is to spread a sheet of manilla paper under your work - this is a very highly glazed paper of a whitey-brown hue, and very tough; the parts to be burnished should have at least two coats of size and whiting and of clay before gold is laid on. Now for the dead and burnished work. Having washed and repaired mitres, etc, and set aside to steady or dry, have some No. 1 glass-paper and rub down with finger or cork rubber. Give one coat of parchment size and whiting; the size must not be too thick or thin, that it will not congeal at the ordinary temperature of the room or atmosphere. But the test of the thumb and finger is the best criterion to go by; if too thick, your work will peel off when placed in a warm room, or on a hot summer day. If new work, a coat of weak size first, next whiting and size; let dry and rub down. A second coat, dry and rub down, then a coat of clay, then drop down and go over with weak size, and set by to dry. When dry, see that there are no cracks or chance of its peeling off. Then, with clean water and soft brush lightly damp, and lay the gold on immediately after, and dab down. Let stand by to dry. The flat remaining dead, the hollow or bead may be burnished.

The burnishers here mentioned are curved like a horn that you can get into a hollow, a quirk, or over a head. When completed so far, yon may either size or varnish. It is usual to size matt and ornamented work, and dead upon mouldings. It is a great protection against dust. If not sized, it would soon be smothered in dust, and no dusting or washing would remove it or improve it. Now for sizing: Take a clove of garlic about as thick as a quill, and finely grind up with a little water. Mix with a couple of table-spoonfuls, let -settle and filter. Dissolve size in it and apply. This will lay the rough surface, and is said to protect it from that nuisance, fly-soils; but if you would like to varnish, that, you may remove the. fly-soils with impunity. Take 1/2 oz. gum-sandarac to 1/2 pint good spirits of wine, and in another small phial (about 1 oz.) put one pennyworth of saffron. Whan the former is dissolved and settled clear, pour off, and add some few drops of stain until of the desired colour; go over the. gold with a coat of very weak size, and, when dry, varnish and turn upside-down to dry free from dust.

To make the oil gohlsize - take, say, 1 lb. white-lead and red-lead, mix with J pint good' raw linseed: oily pour about gill boiling water into it; when well mixed up let stand for a day,; then add another 1/2 pint oil and well stir up twice a day (morning and night), and in a few days you will hare a beautifully clear, fat oil, almost colourless; this must be mixed or ground up with stone ochre and litharge, not as a paint but as a stain, and to render it siccative; this may, when prepared, be kept some considerable time, without drying, in a jar or gallipot, if covered with a piece of paper, dressing the top with oil, but will dry in a very little time when put on very thin, as for gilding, subject to the state of the weather. It may be ready in an hour, and may not be fit in 5 hours. Deep, extra deep gold, is used for the purpose. If you prepare your own whiting, it must be well washed, and remain to allow the coarse to settle a few seconds, and then decanted into another jar to settle; finally, make a tray of a square of blotting-paper double, pinch up the corners, and put upon a Bath-brick; pour the water off as far you can, and the thick into the tray.

The brick and paper will soon absorb the water, and your whiting, after the paper covers are taken off, will be free from grit, and may be placed in a jar or bottle fit for Use. Your plum* bago must be served the same, and your clay, and about 2 per cent. plumbago is mixed and washed with your clay, after being washed separate, and your clay is fit for use. By the Bath-brick the liquor is absorbed very readily, and preparations of this kind, and precipitates, filters, etc, reduced to a minimum of trouble. Your sponges you will find use for in case of swamping.