Allander Framing
Bespoke Picture Framers and Gilders

61/63 Hyndland Street, Partick, Glasgow G11 5PS

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0141 357 1998

The Tradition

Today, as in times past, the art of water gilding is a traditional centuries old technique. It is a long and detailed process to which the artisans at Molduras Giner devote all of their abilities and expertise. To develop this skill takes no less than five years of apprenticeship. The result is unrivalled. Only through hard work and dedication to this time-consuming process, can all of the beauty be extracted from the noble materials. A moulding that has been water gilded is easily recognised for its transparency, its shine and the characteristic overlaps of the leaves.These qualities convert each moulding into a "unique piece". The results have never been equaled by any modern gilding technique.
To make our mouldings, we use a wood called "Ayous". The wood is kiln-dried and worked to avoid warpage. The wood is also treated to prevent infestation. Once milled, approximately seven coats of gesso - a mixture of clay, water and rabbit skin glue, are applied to the moulding. The moulding is now ready for water gilding.

The Technique

1 - Two/three coats of bole are applied.Bole, formerly known as Armenian bole, is specially formulated for gilding.
It is similar to refined clay. The bole must be allowed to dry for 24 hours. The moulding is then sanded to obtain a perfectly smooth surface.
2 - The moulding is moistened, section by section, with a mixture of water and alcohol.
3 - The leaf is then applied using cotton, gilders' tip or marten hair brush, depending on whether Sterling silver, metal or gold leaf is used. In the case of Sterling silver, an acid is also applied to enhance the overlaps of the leaves and to darken the silver.
4 - The leaf is rubbed with steel wool to highlight the colour of the underlying bole.The moulding is polished with alcohol and pumice stone. To extract the maximum brightness from the leaf, the moulding is burnished with agate stone.
5 - Finally, the moulding is varnished with shellac to provide a lasting protective shine and to prevent oxidisation.
6 - Depending on the desired finish, the moulding may be enhanced by antiqueing and/or applying a patina