gold leaf?

a customer has requested a granite-top table with a "gold-leaf" finish on the legs and skirt. the granite i can deal with, but i've never done gold-leaf. can anyone give advice on what material to use, how to apply it, etc.? she freaked out a bit when i told her that the gold could be a couple hundred bucks, so now i'm potentially looking for "cheaper" options for "gold."
also, she wants wheels on the legs so she can move it when she cleans. the legs will be claw-foot, and i have no idea how to deal with the wheel issue. advice?
thanks in advance,
--- dz
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So she wants it to look rich with Gold Leaf and then wants you to attach wheels to it.... Hum..

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yeah, she's a little wacky. but i need the work, and the possible referrals. so... even though i disagree with her design skills (and taste), it is what it is.
Leon wrote:

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Don't write her off. She knows what she wants. I like gold leaf and am not offended by the casters. I've done several pieces in my own (contemporary) home with gold leaf and my wife and I are happy with them.
Boden
David Zaret wrote:

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I just started to study about gold leaf, an art unto itself, do a google there is a wealth of information out there haven't learned much to guide anyone at this point.
Good Luck, George

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http://pages.cthome.net/edhome
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This is not too difficult. Practice a little before working on the real project though.
The process basically consists of priming the surface with a sizing which dries and then becomes tacky enough for you to apply the gold leaf. The leaf (very thin sheets of almost pure gold) is carefully applied and burnished. The gold leaf comes in squares about 3+ x 3+ inches per sheet (25 sheets, or 284 sq inches run about $45.00.)
The process is quite easy if you don't hurry.
Woodworker's Supply has a good selection of materials as do others.
http://woodworker.com/cgi-bin/FULLPRES.exe?PARTNUM 9-860
Don't look at 24 carat gold (pure) use about a 23 carat material (the remaining 1 carat being copper and silver for improved ductility.)
I have seen claw foot assemblies with casters so you should be able to find them on the web.
Good luck, Boden
David Zaret wrote:

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There is a new tape out called "The Art of Gold Leafing" by Gene McCall. Gene is a highend furniture restorer in the Tampa area. This tape is the first in a series of skills in restoring an 1805 desk (very ornate). I paid $20 for the tape but have not watched it yet. I bought it so I could be on the list to get the rest of the tapes. I have seen parts of the tape and believe this will show goad leafing. The only contact I found on the tape is a web site address: www.genemccall.com. My only connection with Gene is attending a presentation at our local wood working guild. Terry

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Gold leaf isn't too difficult to apply. It's so damn thin that you need to do it in an area free of drafts though so you can get it where you want it. I assume you're talking about accents and not the entire table. You should be able to find lots of info on the web or just go to a local crafts store (e.g. Michael's) and they'll have everything you need. You just paint some stuff on that the gold will stick to. The gold leaf comes in small sheets (3"x3" or 4"x4"?).
Regarding the casters, try a supplier like Rockler. I just received a mag yesterday and see they have nice brass antique-looking ones for $30-$40 a pair.
--
Larry C in Auburn, WA

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After the sizing has set it will be somewhat tacky. Get in a draft-free area and pick up the leaves with a 3-4' wide artist's brush gently lay leaf across an area and use the blunt end of a stiff gold leafing brush to gently tap the gold into the grain. Pieces will fall off which you can catch on a piece of paper and use. It's time consuming and taxing to get complete coverage with no little voids. Eventually you'll get it done and then wonder why you didn't charge more! lol. I always say "never again". Art supply stores sell a variety of leafing colors from faux to real gold. Try fake first. And remember this: Don't sneeze! Glenn
* Re: Our address...From a Scot ballad, circa 1350: "Oh, my name is Little Jock Elliot, an' ( wha daur meddle wi' me?")
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Years ago FWW had an article on gold leaf. About 10-15 yrs? It should be on their cd.
wrote:

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Also there is "real" gold and an artificial gold colour leaf. If she is cheap, she may want the fake stuff.

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wrote:

Dead easy. I gold leaf a lot of details on pieces, especially contemporary Japanese-style or medievalana. First time I ever used gold leaf I was only about 8 years old - doing the lettering on the side of Dad's wagon. No idea how I managed it - I hate working vertical panels these days !
Gold leaf is rarely gold. These days it's anodised aluminium, which gives you a huge range of colours, including some golds and even variegated effects. Non-gold has a long history and "Dutch metal" (schlagmetal) is a form of brass. These are both cheap to buy, and it becomes a labour-dominated cost. Even gold is affordable, as you use very little weight of it. But learn the technique on aluminium first ! You may also find silver leaf, which gives a good art deco feel.
If you've any Buddhists nearby, especially Thai / Therevada Buddhists, then they're usually knowledgeable about buying (or selling !) gold leaf locally.
Surface prep is important. It needs to be smooth, and that often means an applied gesso layer underneath. A traditional recipe is rabbit skin glue and chalk whiting. Coloured gesso is called bole. You can buy all of these from Liberon, or even a local "Crafty World Shoppe". For modern work, car body filler works, and sands well.
There are two processes for sticking it down; water or oil gilding. Use oil gilding, with a commercial oil size. This is just an oil varnish mixture, that you apply by brush, wait until tacky, then apply the leaf.
Water gilding needs a traditional gesso and a lot of technique. However it allows better burnishing with real gold. The "size" here is just 30% alcohol solution, and the adhesive comes from softening the previously applied gesso. Timing of the gesso layer's drying and moisture control over the whole process are crucial.
Leaf application technique is fiddly, rather than complex. You will benefit from using the traditional tools of a gilder's cushion, knife and tip. The cushion is a rough-surfaced leather covered "palette" (easily made) with a thumb grip underneath and a wind shield of thin cardboard around it. The gilder's knife is a straight-edged palette knife, with a sharpened edge. A "tip" is just a wide soft brush, used for carrying leaf from cushion to workpiece. A cheap Japanese hake brush (or its Chinese / Indonesian clone) works, especially if you saw the handle off short.
After application, burnish. If you can't find an agate burnisher, talk to a vet dentist and scrounge a big dog's canine tooth (traditional too !). Burnishing is much easier with gold - it doesn't really work with aluminium.
I'm not even going to try and describe the brush. smoothing, burnishing and trimming process without pictures. But they're easy enough, there are plenty of books, and you need to practice a lot before going live. Pieces with well-defined edges are easy, a Japanese mon (family symbol) on a flat surface is hard.
Best book I know is "Framing and Gilding" by Paul Curson It's Australian, probably out of print, but grab it if you see a copy <(Amazon.com product link shortened)>
This isn't a book on framing. It assumes you already know that much. Issues on matting, glazing, framing and general woodworking are assumed - and for work at this level, that matting should probably be conservation grade.
What it does describe is the making or restoration of classically styled picture frames. Carved mouldings, mould-formed mouldings from "compo", all these techniques are covered. It's also a useful book for restoration work on furniture with these same moulding techniques.
To be honest, there are many gold leaf books out there. Try "Annie Sloan" if you're in the UK.
-- Die Gotterspammerung - Junkmail of the Gods
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very helpful. thanks to everyone who responded.
--- dz
Andy Dingley wrote:

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whooo! i know something else i wont be doing!
any opinions on the finish you would get with some gold paint, like the one at: http://www.duncanpaintstore.com/nmclay-bin/shop.pl/page=metal.htm/SID 69282853.9448
[no connection with any related businesses].
irax.
Andy Dingley wrote:

<snipped a lot of good stuff>
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wrote:

It looks like paint - it won't burnish.
Of course, if this dull gold finish is all you want, then go to it.
-- Die Gotterspammerung - Junkmail of the Gods
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