Working at the frame
Working at the frameThe various stages of the frame making have a very precise order. Each of them is extremely important and must be carried out with great accuracy, because any of them may affect the quality of the final result.
The carving: at this stage the rough frame is shaped according to a very precise design. The initial block of wood is carved with the gouge, which eliminates some parts of the wood in order to get to the original pattern.
Preparation of the Object: in order to prepare the wooden object to the subsequent stages of gilding, it is necessary to make various preliminary operations. First of all the wooden surface must be “carteggiata” with a fine grain sandpaper until the frame won’t be perfectly smooth in every part.
The “invito” and the “ammanitura”: these two operations are needed to prepare the area to be gilded to the following stages by making it perfectly smooth without any irregularities, since such defects can influence the uniform brilliance that the gilded object must show. This result is obtained through the drawing up of a glue layer, called rabbit glue or “colletta” (this operation is the “invite”) followed by the application of various hands of plaster made up of appropriately mixed rabbit glue and plaster.
After that, the edges, the beats, the curves and every type of work on the frame must be made smooth, as the drawing up of plaster might have obscured such parts of the frame with its accumulations on the frame.
Drawing up the Bolus: natural bolus is a clay material that once collected is cleared from impurities and dried. The powder is mixed to rabbit glue to obtain a smooth consistency. The main characteristic of bolus is to retain water, so that it helps the gold leaf to adhere to the surface. The bolus’ color is very important, because it affects the color of the gold leaf and therefore of the finished frame. The finest is red bolus. Bolus is mixed to hot rabbit glue and drew up on the surface with a flat brush. Usually the framer draws up three hands of bolus, and between one hand and the other he has to wait that the hot bolus is completely dry.
The gilding process: the crucial phase is the application of gold leaf. The precious metal is hold in a booklet of 20-24 leaves of approximately 8x8, 9x9 or 10x10 cm. The gold-leaf must be settled on the gilder pillow and cut with a gilder knife’s firm cut. The frame part to be gilded has to be watered to prepare the surface to receive the gold leaf. Then, the gilder pallet must be loaded with electricity shuffling it on a cheek or on the hair, so that it immediately adheres to the leaf as soon as it touches it. At that point the leaf is moved and put on the frame surface so that the gold leaf adapts completely to the frame pattern. Air bubbles under the leaf must be eliminated by tapping the surface. You can also use a cotton flock to help the leaf to better adhere to the surface.
The polishing process: this procedure is used to make the gold leaf become polish. In order to have the typical brilliance of gold come out, it’s necessary to rub the frame in every part with the appropriate polishing tools called “brunitoi”. The “brunitoio” is made up of a wooden haft with an agate stone on the top. The rubbing by this stone makes the gold-leaf get to the requested brilliance.It is recommended to wait at least a day after the gilding before starting the polishing. This allows the bolus to dry perfectly and avoids that the gold leaf breaks down during the friction. The waiting time may obviously vary depending on the humidity and the temperature of the environment. In order to achieve an optimal result from polishing, it is necessary that the movement of “brunitoio” on the surface is without shots or breaks, but with a light and continuous pressure
The “Velatura” process: at this stage all the operations have the purpose to protect the gold and to mae the gilded surface look older. The latter is necessary, on the one hand to give the chromatic level of the original standard to the new gold, on the other hand to make a gilding work look older by giving it a pleasant patina that reduces the brilliance of gold and makes it warmer and more mellow .
These qualities make every frame a unique piece!