Thursday, April 19, 2012

Don't Usually Multi-task but .......

     Currently I'm in the middle of two very time intensive projects.  One of them is the Acanthus Leaf carved panel for the newly remodeled kitchen and this is the other.  You may recall the workshop I took earlier this year from Ian Agrell, that was the inspiration for the carved panel.  I also started carving a reeded frame that I finally finished.  Here's how it looks:

Reeded Frame with Leaf

     The site size is 9" x 12" and the molding is 4" wide.  Like most picture frames the material is Basswood and it's some of the custom profile we had milled by Foster's Planning Mill.  I think I have enough 22 kt. leaf left to gild this frame.
     Why am I always attracted to labor intensive, technical things?  Doesn't matter if it's carving, gilding, building furniture, running 100 mile ultra's I rarely chose the easier things in life to challenge myself with.  There are so many steps to creating and gilding a frame and an error in any one of them can ruin the entire project.
    The step after the carving process is to gesso the frame.  Basically gesso is a a chalk and rabbit skin glue mixture that is painted on to the wood to completely seal it.  The glue  will be reactivated when the gold is applied by water which allows the gold to adhere to the frame.  Simple when you put it that way, however; it's never been simple for me.  Maybe if I did this on a regular basis rather than a couple of times a year I wouldn't  have to re-train myself each time.

     Here's the frame after about 7 coats of gesso ready for sanding.  One of the problems I'd had in the past is that the first coat of gesso would bead and seem to resist being applied to the wood.  I've had correspondence with a gilder in Seattle, Charles Douglas, and he suggested rubbing the first coat in with my fingers and it worked -- thanks!  Now if I can just figure out why the gesso wants to skin over between coats even though it's covered and the heat is a constant 100 degrees another dilemma will be solved.  In any case, I'll work on this while taking breaks from carving the panel.

Pfeil 28/6 Backbent Gouge
     The reeding on this frame was completely carved by hand so has some slight inconsistencies which I think adds to the charm and appeal.  I had purchased what is referred to as a back bent gouge and taken it to the class to learn how to use it.  After Ian showed me how and a bunch of trial and error to get an acceptable carve this frame is the result of that.
      Really beneficial to take that class, I would have fiddled around with it for a long time before getting these results.  Here's what that tool looks like, it's made by Pheil and the size is 28 mm with a #6 sweep.


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