Gilding @ Varnishing Stand

A re-purposed magnifying stand turned to gilding stand.
A re-purposed magnifying stand turned to gilding stand.

Previously I had built a gilding stand that is meant to gild gold chloride onto silver plates once it has done its fix and wash.

It was a simple conversion which I had it done with a Engineering marking tool by Silverline, a contraption that was laying around the workshop unused and re-purposed. I had used this design which respectfully emulated Mike Robinson’s gilding stand which could be seen at his website here.

A re-purposed Silverline Engineer's marking tool converted into a gilding stand.
A re-purposed Silverline Engineer’s marking tool converted into a gilding stand.

You could find it in various times on eBay, or something that could be picked-up at a local Sunday car boot sale. Though for to purchase new, to re-purpose would be expensive for this reason. Refer to the site that sells this here:

http://www.mackay.co.uk/Silverline-675336-Surface-Marking-Gauge-300mm-Precision-Tools-11220243753.html

The lower part of this contraption is stainless steel bars which were welded and drilled holes (M6 sized screws) to manage the balance of the stand in small adjustments. At much later stage, I felt this part wasn’t needed as manual adjustments are faster and much more ease.

This material is made of mild steel, hence I noted the gold chloride solution had begun to attach (or attack?) to the surface of the base in just few sessions of gilding. Do note that I had this sprayed with black teflon spray, just to add more resistance to heat to the material from warping or brittle from consistent heat application. Though not necessary, unless if you are using propane torch like Jerry Spagnoli.

Since I had given this away, I needed a new stand to work with, a visit to a car boot sale had brought me to this:

Gild_Stand02
Magnifying Stand: A “Made in India” cheap knock-off of antique magnifying/microscope glass. Though it is still made entirely of good brass!

Though this is such a dear looking thing, but it is a cheap mass produced item which I don’t mind converting this into a gilding stand. I had picked this up from local weekly car boot deal, and I noticed as well this may come up on eBay every now and then. Though I would not dare to convert anything of value such as real antique magnifying glass!

Taking these apart, most of the brass diameters are in the range of 6 mm down to 5 mm. The magnifying glass’ brass rod was at 5.2mm, which I easily find another brass rod at 5mm to do the job.

Looking out for brass rod scraps or one could find something like this in railway modelling stores, I took a piece and began to score a few cm at the end of it. This is to provide a firm area for the epoxy glue (which I will apply later) to have a grip onto the wooden bit it will be inserted into from spinning around.

A 5mm brass rod which I filed criss-crossed a few cm, in order for the glue to hold onto the wooden material it would be inserted into.
A 5mm brass rod which I filed criss-crossed a few cm, in order for the glue to hold onto the wooden material it would be inserted into.

Once the scores on the brass had been done, I prepared the wooden “U” shaped frame as a plate rest, the aperture or the spaces between are slightly larger by 2-3 mm on all side to make space for the plate to rest in.

The "U" shaped being glued and screws in being held tight by clamps for it to properly dried and stiff.
The “U” shaped being glued and screws in being held tight by clamps for it to properly dried and stiff.
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Two Screws were drilled into the sides (total of four), as a way of holding the plate in place. The brass rod is being inserted into the hole in the middle with epoxy glue. Make sure the excess are left (as a blob) being left alone, as this will help of the wooden holder from spinning or tilting around the brass rod.
Another was built to accommodate a quarter plate size.
Another was built to accommodate a quarter plate size.

The bottom part of the brass was pried opened and it was found to be almost hollow, only to have a few bits of cork discs which gives very little weight to the base. Though the base is made of brass, and it has a bit of a weight, this won’t be enough to stabilise the entire gild frame.

The brass bas of the magnifying glass.
The brass bas of the magnifying glass.
It was found to be hollow and only filled with a single cork disc.
It was found to be hollow and only filled with a single cork disc.

I had then used a cement filler (you can use plaster of paris, or any resin cast) to fill in that void.

The base was filled with cement filler and left to dry.
The base was filled with cement filler and left to dry.
Sand the excess filler with sandpaper to level the brass base. Refill any gaps or chipped area. Refine the sanding with 240 grit sandpaper to tighten the porous gaps.
Sand the excess filler with sandpaper to level the brass base. Refill any gaps or chipped area. Refine the sanding with 240 grit sandpaper to tighten the porous gaps.

The base was then coated, bottom and top surface, with Bonda Seal (which is a very tough plastic coating for marine boats), which I have to thank Mark Voce for recommending me with such fantastic material. This would be good coating which it claimed to be chemical resistant after 72 hours of drying time.

The frame were then sprayed with the same Black teflon oven spray to make it resist to heat. This is a great material as it will become more harden when heat is being applied to it.

the frames were sprayed with black teflon oven coat to make it into a heat resisting material. This would be helpful as the frames are made of wood and the activity of gilding involves fire & heat consistently runs around it.
the frames were sprayed with black teflon oven coat to make it into a heat resisting material. This would be helpful as the frames are made of wood and the activity of gilding involves fire & heat consistently runs around it.
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The stand is ready to be used once everything is tightened and the balance of the plate is checked with a spirit level, which I prefer to use the large turntable spirit level as its more clearer for me to use.

The verdict?

It works as it should for gold chloride gilding for dag plate. Not a problem with that.

For wet plate collodion varnishing? I prefer to do it by hand as I could feel if too much heat being applied. Though it might be useful to those prefer to hold the alcohol lamp rather than the plate which is the receiving end of the flame?

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