Thursday, February 25, 2010


Today was a good day!
I got an early start, and proceeded to 'prep' the frames.
'Prepping' is basically wetting down the frame(s) with a
soft hair brush.
This raises the grain of the wood. The frame will dry in
about 20-30 minutes.
We want to raise the grain. When the frame has dried,
I sand the frame with 120 grit sand paper.

This is an important procedure, if you don't do this, the
wood grain will ghost through and has an undesireable
You have to look at the frame. Sometimes I will wet and
sand twice. (Some wood has a pronounced grain, and
wants to raise more.)
Once the frame is sanded, I tape off the inside that is
not to be gesso'd.
In the mean time, I have the jar of gesso that I made
the other day, melting down in a double boiler.

I brush on the gesso from the corners to the middle.
I try to do this in one long stroke. Not like Huck Finn
painting the fence. (If I need to use a few srokes, then
Once the frame is painted I let it dry. I do this three
times.(depending on the profile, or detail carvings)
I can discuss this more on another post~

When the frames are bone dry, I can start sanding.
I'll usually start with 220 grit, but 180 may be needed.
Again, depending on the look, I will sand from 220, to
320, to 400, to 600! (I stop at 600 because any higher
and the gold tends to get a plastic look.)
I have and can sand up to 1500 grit. But not always!
Once my frame(s) are sanded, I wipe it down with a
paper towel, to clean all the dust from it.
Then, with a horse hair cloth, I polish up the frame
and it will take a luster almost like glass.
If I do not have a horse hair brush, then a paper towel
will do.( A brown paper bag will polish gesso too!)

Gesso is the base foundation in water gilding.
Your frame will only be as good as your gesso coat.
So make it pretty, and it will sing forever.
What you see in the picture is Daves frame, with the
liner. My frame for Richard. And two wooden plates
that I plan to surprize you with.
I like surprizes, don't you!?


Jan said...

There are many steps to Gesso the frames and plates that I never even thought of! Bill I don't mean to sound stupid but where do you find horse hair cloths and brushes? I can appreciate you getting an early start. This is very interesting~~~

Judy P. said...

This is very interesting, and it makes me respect the amount of detail and expertise you need!

Gilberto said...

Well explained Bill, by now, I now as mucho as you, which has nothing to do with that doing thing. We will see
Have a god night, Friend.

billspaintingmn said...

Thanks for commenting evryone!
Jan I get my horse hair cloth from my supplier
of gilding products out of New York. Sepp Leaf
is their name.
They are not paying me to say that by the way!
(Stupid?? That's the smartest question you could have asked!)

Judy! Thank you, practice, practice, practice!

Gilberto! Thank you! I hope this is helpful!

Charles Pompilius said...

This is very interesting information. I always seem to make a mess of projects like this, but I don't have anywhere near your expertise.

Sheila said...

Didn't know this thing about wood grain. Didn't know this is quite a involved process in just the prep work! No wonder in this age of instant everything, this is becoming a lost and rare art. Maybe you should write a book. This blog is already an outline for it.

billspaintingmn said...

Charles! Thanks! I have a passion for gilding.
I have a designated wet-n-dry vac for this very procedure.
Things can get messy, so I do stop and clen up
to keep ahead of the mess.

Hi Sheila! Thank you! A book huh? well, I'll blog for now : )

Celeste Bergin said... seems like so much work! No wonder these kind of frames cost a small fortune! They are looking good.

billspaintingmn said...

Celeste! Small fortune!? Actually when you concider what a (regular) frame costs to have made, gilding is money well spent!
And if you know a gilder,(wink-wink) he might just get a deal to you so you can see what it does to your beautiful art!!