Beaded Frame & Water Gilding Experiments

23 Karat gold leaf

Definitely keeping busy, how in the world did I ever find time to work a “regular” job?  Our house has a bigger yard which requires more maintenance than we’d planned on but having a separate studio for Diane and a free standing shop for me more than makes up for that.  Continuing to experiment and try to hone my water gilding skills after taking the workshop from Charles Douglas.  These two sample pieces feature 23kt. gold leaf with slightly thinned Japan Black to offset the gold.  The carving is a sample piece for a client.  The molding is the profile made for me by Barger Moulding here in Phoenix, just re-0rdered from them.  That design allows space for carving and is pretty traditional, I really enjoy creating my own profiles whenever possible.

Molding sample, Veritas small plow plane, and Flamed Oak box.

This is one of the more interesting profiles I’ve created.  It’s a two piece design and the beads are formed using a Veritas small plow plane with beading cutters installed .  When I posted this picture on Facebook, it got lots of response.  Probably as many asked about the plane and box as did about the moldings!  If you’d like to know more about the plane and the box here’s a LINK to the creation of it.  To make this profile I used 1-1/16″ Basswood that I get from Peterman Lumber.  The outer piece has two, 1/4″ beads plowed into it and then the groove is cut for the spline.  The groove for the panel is cut at the same setting on the tablesaw.  The panel has one bead which is set back a bit from the edge, it’s trimmed at an angle later.  The critical part is to locate and cut the angle on the outer piece so that it aligns perfectly with the thickness of the panel.  Trial and error with a protractor is how that’s figured out — no CNC or computerized gizmos for me!  Forgot to mention that the panel is finished with a smooth plane prior to cutting the bead.  The rabbet is cut after the pieces are joined to leave a lot of surface so they can be clamped sight edge to sight edge as shown below.  The size of this frame is 16″ x 20″.  The spline is MDF to eliminate any concerns about movement as there would be using wood.

Tinted Grey Base Coat

The finish for this frame will play off of the palette used by the artist (Diane Eugster).  The painting is a landscape from the Sonoran Desert which has a deep, blue green hue.  Not being a colorist I get some assistance from Diane.  It began with a grey burnisher sealer which is tinted with Mixol to get the base coat color.  Once this is brushed on and burnished it’s top coated with slightly thinned Japan Drop Black.  Timing is critical and the goal is to just have the base coat ghost through and be exposed more around the sight edge.  There’s a lot of texture in the painting that is a goal of the frame.  There’s a certain time when the paint is at just the right stage of drying where it can be burnished with a 100% cotton rag wrapped tightly around my finger. This will eliminate most of the brush marks and just barely expose the base coat.  It’s a dance of how hard and long to burnish without pulling off all of the black. In my opinion though, this hand worked finish trumps a mass produced, sprayed on finish applied by a robot and probably somewhere off shore!

My current project is another carved frame, again in black.  For this painting the base coat will have a reddish brown base coat.  Ironic that now that I’d like to get into more precious gold gilded frames the market is leaning towards black!


About woodworksbyjohn

I'm a retired woodshop teacher. I build one of a kind furniture pieces and custom picture frames. You can see some of my currently available work, boxes, carvings through my Etsy store: Contact me about your project -- always up for the challenge of unique work.
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