Sounds like some fancy school for teens. But no, it's just been my last couple days---and I'll get it out of the way right now: I did not succeed in creating a passable gilt edge. My first attempt was good-looking and shiny at one end of the edge, and kind of patchy with alot of egg-glaire spots at the other. I did, however, succeed in reacquainting myself with the whole process. It's been 8 years or so since Johnny Carrera and I gilt the edges for Get Me The President, and it really is not like falling off a bicycle. The learning curve is once again very steep and I will be repeating this set of steps at least 12 times for the project. By the end of it I hope to be a confident and competent edge gilder. I'll post these photos (and photos of the shiny, victorious edges) as an album to the left in the weeks to come.
Click on the photos below to expand them:
The text block is rounded (not backed!) and taped up in boards to protect the swell at the shoulder. I don't have a plough, but I do have access to a lovely guillotine (thanks Anna!). The edge is trimmed there-in.
The text block, taped up in its boards, is first sprinkled with French chaulk and jogged up flush in the gilding boards. These are put in the larger press, which resides in a tub or trough (thanks Reuben!). The chaulk is there to fill any tiny gaps between the edges of the pages.
And now the edge is first scraped, and then sanded to a polished finish. (I'm using 440 grit by the end of this.)
(6/19/08) Over the course of this project I've wound up using egg glaire to seal the surface of the edge. And for the egg glaire, I've switched from 1/2 egg white + 1/2 water, to 1/2 egg white + 1/2 vinegar. This holds true for the bole wash as well. I'm getting a much cleaner, harder edge.
The bole wash provides another layer between the gold and the paper's edge (which alone would be too soft to hold the leaf). It also adds some warmth to the gold's color. You could put a graphite wash on there if you wanted a cool feel to your gold.
And here's where I leave it. I'm too vain to throw up my first disaster, and this installment has already dragged on a bit. In the next go-round you can look forward to me nattering on about humidity, nose-breathing and how much oil is in my hair. The first and last points will be crucial!