Gold gilding

Darrmann39

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This is just a general question about how they went about gold gilting in clocks hundreds of yrs. Ago. I have like 5 different gilded clocks, couple japy freres, an Ivanhoe Waterbury, a Seth Thomas and they are all really worn. I got some rub n buff but not sure how to go about rubbing it on such detailed figurals will it come off heated from being rubbed? Seems I'd also have to use a brush to get in all the crevices and grooves.
Any advice?
Then my real question out of curiosity, I understand the process of how gold gilding works using the glue and sheets of gold but is that how they really did these? Seems an awful labor intensive way to do it. Or was there a way they dipped these figural to achieve it.

16431470839114422975631277939019.jpg 16431470991915758836304350520199.jpg 16431471160626611873375568451395.jpg
 

FDelGreco

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In the "old days" they mixed gold with mercury to make an amalgam that was rubbed on the clock. Then the clock was heated until the mercury boiled off. Those that did it regularly in the past lost their teeth and hair, and then their lives at a very early age due to mercury poisoning. But the look is not reproducible by plating or other ways. I suggest that you gold leaf the clock -- with glue size and gold leaf. It is a lot of work but the results are worth it..

Frank
 

Darrmann39

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In the "old days" they mixed gold with mercury to make an amalgam that was rubbed on the clock. Then the clock was heated until the mercury boiled off. Those that did it regularly in the past lost their teeth and hair, and then their lives at a very early age due to mercury poisoning. But the look is not reproducible by plating or other ways. I suggest that you gold leaf the clock -- with glue size and gold leaf. It is a lot of work but the results are worth it..

Frank
That's what I was wondering, it would look beautiful I'm sure. I'm kinda thinking about it but am worried about so many hard to get places. I think I'll order a kit and do some practice pieces on some small ones.
 

Jim DuBois

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I recommend you ascertain if your clocks are made of bronze or spelter. IME spelter was not fire gilt. I also question that many of these clocks were gold-leafed in the traditional style using rabbit skin glue and real gold leaf. At least a couple of your clocks appear to be "production" level clocks, those produced in quantity for a lower cost audience, made later, as compared to bronze file gilt clocks. There are people who reproduce factory-style finishes on these clocks and it is usually done in paint, not gold leaf.
 

Darrmann39

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I recommend you ascertain if your clocks are made of bronze or spelter. IME spelter was not fire gilt. I also question that many of these clocks were gold-leafed in the traditional style using rabbit skin glue and real gold leaf. At least a couple of your clocks appear to be "production" level clocks, those produced in quantity for a lower cost audience, made later, as compared to bronze file gilt clocks. There are people who reproduce factory-style finishes on these clocks and it is usually done in paint, not gold leaf.
I can't say about the japys I haven't really messed with them yet I'll add a pic of the top of one that shows something about George. Maybe you can tell from the finish , but I saw an original ad for the Ivanhoe which said it came finished with gilt or bronze. I imagine that means splelter
The Seth Thomas I took a small spot off with a dremel wire brush and it was what I almost thought was copper I imagine it's bronze

20220123_122327.jpg Screenshot_20220115-193810_Chrome.jpg
 
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rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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This is just a general question about how they went about gold gilting in clocks hundreds of yrs. Ago. I have like 5 different gilded clocks, couple japy freres, an Ivanhoe Waterbury, a Seth Thomas and they are all really worn. I got some rub n buff but not sure how to go about rubbing it on such detailed figurals will it come off heated from being rubbed? Seems I'd also have to use a brush to get in all the crevices and grooves.
Any advice?
Then my real question out of curiosity, I understand the process of how gold gilding works using the glue and sheets of gold but is that how they really did these? Seems an awful labor intensive way to do it. Or was there a way they dipped these figural to achieve it.

View attachment 692160 View attachment 692161 View attachment 692162
You can distinguish bronze from spelter, also called white metal, an alloy using zinc, by scratching it in an inapparent area. Bronze will have a copper color, spelter a more silver color.

Spelter was used extensively towards the end of the 19th into the 20th century as a cheaper alternative to and imitator of bronze. Used for everything from clock cases to statues to mounts for furniture to grave markers (some place on the Forums I posted a salesman's sample of a cemetery memorial offered by the "White Bronze" company.

Gold finished bronze, bronze d'ore, was typically not gold leafed. It was fire gilded using a technique called ormolu which employed an amalgam of mercury and ground up high carat gold. The process was expensive, labor intensive, and due to Hg vapors, absolutely toxic to the workers. I believe there is one company in Europe that still does it.

In imitation of bronze d'ore, spelter was given a gilt wash. Cheaper and it lent itself to mass production. Again, not gold leaf nor ormolu. And as is true with bronze, spelter also received other surface treatments or forms of "patination". Again, an effort to imitate bronze.

I suspect your clocks, especially the Ansonia (?) figural clock, are spelter and would have been given a gilt wash, not leafed or fire gilded. Over time, the surface of these clocks develop signs of wear from dusting, handling, etc. It also darkens with exposure to the air, nicotine, smoke from lamps and fireplaces, and so on. Also, why so many pieces like that were slathered later with gold paint, often derisively call "radiator paint".

My advice is to leave them be. There's no sin in something that's old looking old with honest signs of age.

RM

Saw your posting after I posted mine. They are referring to options for the patination. Doubt the ST is bronze?
 
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Thomas Sanguigni

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Taking these pieces apart is also something that is a bit complicated. Most has thread sizes that were unique to their work shops. Keep and preserve the studs and nuts. I've worked on some that have missing pieces, and it can be a nightmare trying to resize and tap a new thread.

I have been successful using Rub-N-Buff quite a bit. Some pieces are not suited for it, but others sure are. If you would like to see some photos let me know. A small stiff set of artist's brushes makes the Rub-N-Buff look great followed by a good lacquer.

Maybe, Jim might let us know who did the restoration work in Salt Lake. :)
 
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gmorse

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Hi Darrmann39,
Isn't there a silver gild or copper gild also.
Yes, but they refer to a gold coating over a silver, copper or any substrate other than gold, (brass is one of the other common metals in watch cases); gilding specifically means the application of gold, which, as has been mentioned earlier, can be done in several different ways. Historically, the hazardous mercury method was used on metals, (still not entirely defunct, see the link to Dirk Meyer above), but on wood and other materials, gold leaf can be used, including large pieces such as turret clock dials.

Regards,

Graham
 
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FDelGreco

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There are several varieties of gold leaf that could make your clock look whatever way you want it to. You can get gold leaf in 24k, 23k, and such all the way down to 10k, The lower the amount of gold, the less brilliant it is. You can also get varieties of rose gold, Champaign gold, as well as silver leaf. You can get both real and imitation leaf. I get mine from :
.
 
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T.Cu

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"...In imitation of bronze d'ore, spelter was given a gilt wash."

Do you know how the "gilt wash" was achieved?
 

Armando Alcaraz

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This is just a general question about how they went about gold gilting in clocks hundreds of yrs. Ago. I have like 5 different gilded clocks, couple japy freres, an Ivanhoe Waterbury, a Seth Thomas and they are all really worn. I got some rub n buff but not sure how to go about rubbing it on such detailed figurals will it come off heated from being rubbed? Seems I'd also have to use a brush to get in all the crevices and grooves.
Any advice?
Then my real question out of curiosity, I understand the process of how gold gilding works using the glue and sheets of gold but is that how they really did these? Seems an awful labor intensive way to do it. Or was there a way they dipped these figural to achieve it.

View attachment 692160 View attachment 692161 View attachment 692162
If you do not plan to sell, or disclose that the Gilding has been redone, here is what I have done. I recently discover Gilding Wax. It comes in a multitude of colors and brands. It really does a nice job bringing the glamour of your clock. You can use your finger or a heavy bristle brush and re-gild your loving clocks. If you are repairing for resale, you would have to disclosed that you used Gilding Wax and not gold leafing or metallic material.
 

PatH

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If you do not plan to sell, or disclose that the Gilding has been redone, here is what I have done. I recently discover Gilding Wax. It comes in a multitude of colors and brands. It really does a nice job bringing the glamour of your clock. You can use your finger or a heavy bristle brush and re-gild your loving clocks. If you are repairing for resale, you would have to disclosed that you used Gilding Wax and not gold leafing or metallic material.
Armando, do you have a favorite brand and color(s) that you've used on clocks? Thanks!
 

demoman3955

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If you do not plan to sell, or disclose that the Gilding has been redone, here is what I have done. I recently discover Gilding Wax. It comes in a multitude of colors and brands. It really does a nice job bringing the glamour of your clock. You can use your finger or a heavy bristle brush and re-gild your loving clocks. If you are repairing for resale, you would have to disclosed that you used Gilding Wax and not gold leafing or metallic material.
i found something like that but its called paste. its like a super thick paint and can be applied by brush or finger, and it gets really hard once dried. This is close to the same that i bought, because the original is no longer made. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0027AAOYS?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2ov_dt_b_product_details
 

Armando Alcaraz

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Armando, do you have a favorite brand and color(s) that you've used on clocks? Thanks!
Rust-Oleum Metallic Accents Soft Gold Acrylic Metallic Paint (2-oz)

Premium Wax Metallic Finish By Craft Smart

Plaid Metallic Classic Gold Glaze 0.8 oz

Ive not used Rub and Buff, but they are the same thing. I use both finger application and bristle brush as well. I have been very pleased with the outcome. I stick to Classic Gold, Mayan Gold and Bronze. Hope that helps!!
 
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Jim DuBois

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If you do not plan to sell, or disclose that the Gilding has been redone, here is what I have done. I recently discover Gilding Wax. It comes in a multitude of colors and brands. It really does a nice job bringing the glamour of your clock. You can use your finger or a heavy bristle brush and re-gild your loving clocks. If you are repairing for resale, you would have to disclosed that you used Gilding Wax and not gold leafing or metallic material.
Armando, I am curious as to why anyone would need to disclose how they did restoration work or what products were used in such work? I have done some museum work where they wanted to know particulars but generally speaking no trained parties will confuse Gilding wax with properly done gesso and gold leaf work. The work speaks for itself.
 

Darrmann39

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If you do not plan to sell, or disclose that the Gilding has been redone, here is what I have done. I recently discover Gilding Wax. It comes in a multitude of colors and brands. It really does a nice job bringing the glamour of your clock. You can use your finger or a heavy bristle brush and re-gild your loving clocks. If you are repairing for resale, you would have to disclosed that you used Gilding Wax and not gold leafing or metallic material.
Yes rub n buff
 

Darrmann39

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Rust-Oleum Metallic Accents Soft Gold Acrylic Metallic Paint (2-oz)

Premium Wax Metallic Finish By Craft Smart

Plaid Metallic Classic Gold Glaze 0.8 oz

Ive not used Rub and Buff, but they are the same thing. I use both finger application and bristle brush as well. I have been very pleased with the outcome. I stick to Classic Gold, Mayan Gold and Bronze. Hope that helps!!
Rub n buff and paint are not the same. If you don't rub rub rub the rub n buff it doesn't get hard. Every time you touch it some will come off in your hands. Paint obviously gets hard by itself
 

demoman3955

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Rub n buff and paint are not the same. If you don't rub rub rub the rub n buff it doesn't get hard. Every time you touch it some will come off in your hands. Paint obviously gets hard by itself
Almost all the things in Rib n Buff are the same things that are in paint, except for wax as a thickener and metal pigment for the color. No mater what you use, Its still not the same as gold gilting or plating. It all comes down to choice at that point, and i doubt rub n buff will change the value any more or less then a paint or paste would.
Oil Varnish, Petroleum Distillate , Carnauba Wax8015-86-9, Kaolin Clay1332-58-7, Various Pigments
Hazard statements:
H228 Flammable solid. H315 Causes skin irritation. H319 Causes serious eye irritation. H334 May cause allergy or asthma symptoms or breathing difficulties if inhaled. H335 May cause respiratory irritation. H373 May cause damage to organs through prolonged or repeated exposure.
 

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