Removing old gold paint

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Removing old gold paint

Postby grahamg » Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:25 am

Hi all, it's been a while since I've been here, but I have a new gilding project to work on. I've just bought this frame which is apparently late 18th/early 19th century French. It's been historically overpainted with gold paint which I would like to remove to see what the original gilding is like. I've never had much luck removing the stuff - does anyone have any tips?

Thank you!

Graham
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Re: Removing old gold paint

Postby prospero » Tue Apr 18, 2017 2:44 am

I've had this problem before. The trouble is that whatever you use to remove the gold paint is likely
to remove the original gilding. White spirit might shift some of it, but it would be a extremely tedious
job given the ornate bits. Acetone would be quicker but it would strip the frame down to the gesso.
Try white spirit on a soft rag and rub gently to see if the paint comes of without effecting the gilding
beneath. It's worth a try. If that doesn't work I fear you are stuffed. :cry:

Essentially, whoever thought it was a good idea to slap on a coat of paint ruined the frame.
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Re: Removing old gold paint

Postby JFeig » Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:44 pm

Oil gilding will not survive removal of a top layer of paint. Water gilding will survive the removal of a covering of paint. Powdered gold and metal mixed in a vehicle will have mixed results depending on the vehicle (varnish, rabbit skin glue) .
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Re: Removing old gold paint

Postby grahamg » Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:39 pm

Thanks for the suggestions. Acetone works a bit, but not great. Turpentine and white spirit don't work either. Time to try something even stronger...
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Re: Removing old gold paint

Postby JFeig » Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:46 pm

methylene chloride based paint stripper (gel type)

Note a very dangerous chemical. Wear proper respirator and gloves for safety. It is easy to control with cotton swab application. Neutralize with naptha.
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Re: Removing old gold paint

Postby prospero » Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:57 pm

grahamg wrote:Thanks for the suggestions. Acetone works a bit, but not great. Turpentine and white spirit don't work either. Time to try something even stronger...


Blowlamp? :shock:

It all depends on how well the paint has grabbed onto the gold. Often the original finish would have a
coat of sealant and would have acquired a layer of muck. The paint would just be sitting on the surface
rather than forming a hard bond. But as the frame probably had a patchy finish the paint may have got
a firmer grip in some places. The ornaments don't help.
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Re: Removing old gold paint

Postby Framemaker Richard » Fri Apr 21, 2017 2:02 pm

Use a paint stripper like nitromors and neutralise with white spirit, as JFeig pointed out, if there is water gilding under the paint it won't be effected by solvent. Just work carefully with scrapers, brushes, anything that will get the paint out of the recesses. Can be a long and slow process but pretty standard stuff for anyone who has restored more than a few frames. The compo will be pretty resistant to solvents but eventually will soften if you work over and over the same area too much.

Frame looks late 19thC or early 20th to me, kind of like the Frinton Gallery frame of the Victorian/Edwardian period.
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Re: Removing old gold paint

Postby grahamg » Wed Apr 26, 2017 12:01 pm

Thanks Richard,

Yes, I wasn't convinced by its age, but it's a nice wee frame. In the end I've just regilded it as although nitromors worked it was impossible to get out from all the details.

Be interested to see that Frinton frame, unfortunately I can't find it on their new website,

Thanks,

Graham
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