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Gilders Mordant

 

Gilding mordant is the name for the water that is used to place the gold on the surface in both water-gilding and glass-gilding, and is of course why the process is known as ‘water-gilding’. There are two main recipes and I have listed them both here. 

The gelatine recipe can be used for both bole and glass, and the RSG recipe is used just for gilding on bole (water-gilding).  The addition of alcohol thins the water and helps it to run on the surface.

The following recipes are for the application of gold-leaf.  For use with heavier metals, silver etc., the gelatine and rsg amounts are doubled, but the water and alcohol quantities remain the same.

Gelatine Mix:

The gelatine mix is very clear, leaving minimum staining, which is why it is used to adhere leaf to glass.  It is also the method I prefer on bole.

  • Dissolve half a gelatine capsule into about half a pint of distilled water (I buy de-ionised water from the supermarket and this works just as well and is readily obtainable).  The water should be hot enough to dissolve the gelatine, but not boiling.  If it is boiling, it will burn the gelatine.
  • Add 2-3 dessert spoons of gin (or isopropyl clear alcohol, vodka or clear rum).
  • Gently mix with a spotlessly clean, metal spoon.  It must be done thoroughly with the gelatine, as when it first melts, it will stick to the spoon.  If not stirred enough, when you take the spoon out, the gelatine will be stuck on the surface.

RSG Mix:

  • Dissolve half a teaspoon of ‘10-1’ rabbit-skin glue into about half a pint of distilled water.  Again, the water should be hot enough to dissolve the glue, but not boiling. 
  • Add 2-3 dessert spoons of gin (or isopropyl clear alcohol, vodka or clear rum).
  • Gently mix with a spotlessly clean, metal spoon.

The water can be kept and used for a few days, but store in the fridge as it is organic.  I prefer not to keep mine.  After a while, especially on bole, the water will become cloudy and have bits of gold swimming in it.  This is the time for a fresh supply.  I make up a set amount and pour a small amount into a small porcelain bowl or glass for use, replacing as necessary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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