Author Topic: What finish to apply over metal leaf?  (Read 246 times)

Offline Percy

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What finish to apply over metal leaf?
« on: September 09, 2019, 09:00:06 PM »
As the topic subject suggests, I am hoping to get some advice for the best finish to go over the top of gold leaf to give it some protection. I have an idea to apply gold leaf to a few sections of an oak bowl, so want something that will give a non-shiny finish but will help seal the gold leaf. I was thinking of trying a spray lacquer, but I haven't used this stuff before, and other brush on lacquers I have used all seem a little glossy for the finish I was after. I normally used oil or wax finishes, but I don't think any of these will be right for the job. Anybody have any bright ideas?

Offline bodrighywood

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Re: What finish to apply over metal leaf?
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2019, 09:39:22 PM »
You use a lacquer that is made for it. You can get it here If it dries shinier than you wish gently go over with a high grade abrasive .eg. 1200 or nyweb.

Pete
« Last Edit: September 09, 2019, 09:40:54 PM by bodrighywood »
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Offline Percy

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Re: What finish to apply over metal leaf?
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2019, 10:04:07 PM »
Thanks Pete. Looks like that should work a treat. I'll post a photo up of the finished piece when/if it works out!

Offline bodrighywood

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Re: What finish to apply over metal leaf?
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2019, 10:09:39 PM »
Are ylou doing the inside, outside or both?

Pete
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Offline Percy

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Re: What finish to apply over metal leaf?
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2019, 11:06:48 PM »
The gold leaf is to go onto a design on the rim of a bowl. In theory I could apply the lacquer to the rim and use another finish on the rest of the bowl, but I'm not sure this wouldn't look odd?

Offline bodrighywood

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Re: What finish to apply over metal leaf?
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2019, 08:11:17 AM »
To be honest I have only ever put the lacquer on leaf so don't know how any other finish would react. Personally I would do that first as it's function is to protect the leaf. I would also beware of buffing on a wheel as that could generate heat and not sure how that would affect the size? Bottom line I'd lacquer first then apply any other finish though if you are doing it by hand there shouldn't need to add finish to the rim afterwards anyway? Leave the lacquer for a good few hours after applying as it can seem touch dry but still be tacky.

Pete
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Offline Percy

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Re: What finish to apply over metal leaf?
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2019, 08:36:29 AM »
I had another look at the website that you recommended to see what other finishes they sold for use on gold leaf, and it turns out that shellac is a traditional sealer  on gilded work. This might work better as its a finish that I've used a lot, and I know I can use it on the rest of the wood without a problem (it's also something I already have, so I wouldn't need to buy any new finish). I think I might do some test pieces first to try different finishes out.

I think I'll seal the piece with shellac and re-sand it before gilding, then do the gold leaf work, and apply more shellac over the top to seal everything and see if that works.

Thanks for your help on this Pete. Much appreciated.

Offline bodrighywood

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Re: What finish to apply over metal leaf?
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2019, 08:57:29 AM »
I haven't used shellac so be interested to hear how you get on. Sounds like a good alternative though

Pete
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Offline Derek

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Re: What finish to apply over metal leaf?
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2019, 09:03:23 AM »
Not long ago I applied some brass leaf to a piece I sealed the wood with acrylic sander sealer and once the leaf was applied, I used acrylic lacquer over the top These are the chestnut ones no reaction so far and that was on the 22nd of July.
I did try a test piece before committing to the final work which is something I try to do if in doubt

« Last Edit: September 10, 2019, 09:05:05 AM by Derek »

Offline bodrighywood

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Re: What finish to apply over metal leaf?
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2019, 09:07:21 AM »
The lacquer (don't know about the shellac) helps prevent the leaf from peeling and also, with metal as opposed to gold leaf, limits tarnishing to some extent. Acrylic sealer couls wellhave the same result as some of the lacquers are acrylic based. Often same things by a different name. As I am selling mine within weeks of making I need to be sure though LOL

pete
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Offline Tim Pettigrew

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Re: What finish to apply over metal leaf?
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2019, 02:18:30 PM »
There is a very relevant piece by Richard Findley titled Going for Gold in October's issue of Woodturning (issue 336, pages 23 - 28).

Offline Percy

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Re: What finish to apply over metal leaf?
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2019, 08:38:30 PM »
Thanks for all the help. In the end I went for thinned shellac as a sanding sealer, then applied the gold leaf, and then more shellac over the top. I don't usually use shellac on turned pieces as it is a bit too glossy, so I took a little of the sheen off with 0000 steel wool. I was a little gripped the steel wool would damage the gold leaf, but I was gentle and it was fine. I've added a picture, although it doesn't really do the gold bits justice. They really catch the light and look great.
I don't usually use gold leaf, but I found I had a bit left over from a job making ring boxes from a few years ago so I thought I would experiment. The idea for the decoration came from Hayley Smith's bowl that is in the Ray Key Collaborations book.