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KingDavid

Gilding

Hello all and how you doin?

OK, so I've been reading many discussions here regarding the quality of the fittings provided in various kits, especially those relating to Baroque era ships, such as the Vasa, Sovereign of the seas, Soliel Royale Etc, made them look just wonderful (which probably didn't do any good for their stability on the high seas) as most of us know, the ships of that era were magnificently decorated and probably looked like a piece of art! done by first rate wood carvers and carpenters, the stern& bow sections were painted, decorated, and gilded. looking close on the stern&bow decorations of some of the models here,  I came to think of a new approach to these fittings. imagine any model decorated with real gold leaf !  so i was thinking, why not following those masters by gilding your own model? 

The process of gilding is a complex one, and there are various methods existing. it is a process that i am a little familiar with, so i wanted to share it with you here. ok, so it should be as follows:  

1. materials: some kind of hard wood to curve the decorations, (either pear, walnut, cherry etc), a finely ground gypsum called "Gesso", real gold leaves (thin sheets of gold) costs around 50$ (usually comes in very thin foils in a kind of a 'booklet'), rabbit skin glue, few fine brushes.

2. applying process: 2.1 first of all, it is best that the fittings are re-made of wood  2.2 the wood decorations must be well smoothed and polished. 2.3 then the Gesso powder must be mixed with water, in order to create a viscous paste/solution.

2.4 the Gesso, should be applied directly on each fitting, with a fine brush, applying it gently until each piece is totally covered, but still shows its original features. 2.5 let each part to dry COMPLETELY, and then smooth it with send paper until it's super smooth! 2.6 ok, we are now close to the actual gilding! it is better to dye each piece with either yellowish mixture    ( in order to improve the gold reflection) 2.7 applying the rabbit skin glue and immediately afterwards applying the gold foil on the piece. this process if done correctly is promised to create a shiny and glossy outcome.

this process was brought to you in a very shortened and summerised way, just for sake of introducing it.

Now, i know this idea is extremely outlandish..but maybe someone would like to try it...

David     

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This is the usual method of traditional gilding, David. These days gesso comes ready-mixed as an acrylic-based compound. Art stores are a source for gesso. For a highly reflective finish, rabbitskin glue is good, but it is important to have a dust and blemish-free surface. For a slightly duller finish, use gilders' varnish. At small scale, a highly reflective surface obscures fine detail, but it's a matter of personal taste.

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Thanks for your comments and contribution, at first i wanted to write down the process in full detail, but it seemed to lengthy for a first post...but what you say is true...and there is a lot more that can be added to this topic such as.. (i.e burnishing process , kind of gold that could be used, controlling the reflection...)  

Canute and mtaylor like this

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