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VIDEO - 22ct Gold Tooling a Leather Spine

In the below videos, you will see Gerry tooling  22carat gold leaf onto the spine of a leather bound book.

There are many different types of leather, we mainly use Goatskin leather which is soft, and flexible.
To prepare the leather for gilding Gerry will apply a “size”. The “size” is a mixture of egg white, vinegar, salt, and glycerine,
it works as an adhesive which the gold leaf will stick to. The mixture will be applied onto the leather spine, and let dry for a few minutes.

While its drying Gerry will place the brass tool he chose onto to stove to heat up.

The 22ct gold leaf needs to be prepared next. Firstly he will need to sharpen his gilders knife with pumice powder.
He applies the pumice powder to the cushion, spreads the powder across the surface, back and forth, then removing any excess from his knife.

To move a sheet of gold leaf onto the cushion, he will lightly bang his knife to create a breeze, place his knife beneath the leaf,
and gently place it onto the cushion. It may crease as it is very delicate, he will lightly blow on it to flatten it out.
He will then cut the 22carat gold leaf into small squares.

Gerry needs to cool down the brass tool to the right temperature, he does this by placing it in a cloth soaked in water.
Next, he applies a small dab of vaseline to the brass tool, this will enable the gold leaf to adhere to the tool.

Then the difficult part, Gerry will press the tool onto the spine of the book.

The key to tooling on leather is in understanding and working with the 3 variables - Heat, Pressure and Dwell.
The heat of the tools is fairly important, also how much pressure is applied and how long you stay in contact.

Any surplus leaf will be lightly brushed away with a cloth, leaving the gilded decoration on the spine.

If he is not happy with the tooling he may have to go over it again, which takes an extremely good eye and a steady hand.

 

 

Richard Percy Gold ToolingRichard Percy Gold Tooling

pictured above Richard Percy (now retired)


"A Life Worth Living" by Michael Smurfit

 

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