Thin relief design

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josvanr
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Thin relief design

Post by josvanr » Thu 04 Jul, 2019 8:47 pm

Hello!

I often see this type of designs on traditional frames:
1.png
1.png (36.46 KiB) Viewed 997 times
It looks like it is kind of drawn on top. It seems to me to be too thin and fine
to be cast and glued onto the frame. Anyone know how this is done?...

thnx and best regards,

Jos

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Re: Thin relief design

Post by vintage frames » Fri 05 Jul, 2019 12:46 pm

I see no reason why this isn't a compo relief casting. Anyone who has used compo will know how versatile it is. You can even buy the stuff from people like Gold Leaf Supplies -
https://www.goldleafsupplies.co.uk/gild ... ers-compo/
The beauty of compo is that it can take on several states depending on temperature. When hot it is like soft dough. As it cools it becomes quite plastic until it further cools and becomes a cement like material. The casting shown in the photo would have been taken from a shallow mould and pressed onto the frame surface with a light coat of diluted glue.
I don't suppose many high street, or back street, framers would need to use this stuff - although it can be incredibly useful for repairs etc. But if you are early in your years to picture framing then learning how to use this stuff and other skills can lead you into a much more exiting market. You'll get to handle some serious pieces of art and meet clients who are willing and able to pay for the many hours of work involved.
Good cheer to josvanr for posting about this. His curiosity will get him far.

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Re: Thin relief design

Post by Not your average framer » Fri 05 Jul, 2019 2:37 pm

Thin detail like this always used to be pressed into the wood with a heated roller, but there are numerous ways of doing this on smaller scale if you so wish. I've done stuff like this using a mixture of acrylic medium, or paint and sodium silicate. Sodium silicate is the active ingredient in isutmatic paint and it expands in a fire to extend the time taken for a fire to weaken the steel girders in steel framed building to give time to get people out alive, before the building collapses.

Detail like in the photo can be stenciled onto the bare wood moulding and heated with a hot air gun to expand the paint as it sets. This is also the way that "Gun Gum" paste seals holes in car exhaust pipes, or seals the joints between sections of the exhaust pipes, when a new exhaust is fitted. It's not rocket science, it's just that most people don't know how these things work, or how you can make it yourself.

Finishing the resulting moulding afterwards is no big deal and painting, or stain are still possible. Stain varnishes can be an easy option.
Mark Lacey

“Life is short. Art long. Opportunity is fleeting. Experience treacherous. Judgement difficult.”
― Geoffrey Chaucer

josvanr
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Re: Thin relief design

Post by josvanr » Sat 06 Jul, 2019 8:51 am

Thnx vintage frames, yes you are right I need to get some of this stuff. Will order it soon from the supplier you mention. Hm ok yes, I see, a bit like a cylinder seal from Sumeria. But then somehow find a suitable relief roller...

It does look like this particular design comes from a mould (or roller), because its not uniform in thickness everywhere: the lines are low in height and the flowers or buds are a bit thicker.

Aha Not your average framer, that sounds very interesting and simple. And its also simpler to make your own designs ! I've already found a supplyer and its only 7,50 per KG . I'll try this too.

Will get back soon with the results :D

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Re: Thin relief design

Post by josvanr » Sat 06 Jul, 2019 8:59 am

Hmm

they do seem to have a lot of these in choonkwah

https://www.aliexpress.com/popular/scroll-frames.html

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Re: Thin relief design

Post by Not your average framer » Sat 06 Jul, 2019 9:50 am

I'm not sure about those silicone moulds in that link. Experience tells me that it's going to take a long time sticking all those moulded bits in place. There has to be the right corelation between how long something takes and how much profit you can get from doing it. My golden rule is quick, easy, foolproof and a perfect outcome.

Quick and easy, does not mean it will look cheap, there's no future in thatI However we've all got to live and there's not a lot of point in doing something just for fun, when we need to be making enough money to be able to stay in business and get a worthwhile hourly rate for our trouble. All of these nice things we come across are the result of someone behind the scenes who has worked out how to make such things. Why can't that be us too!

Making the sodium silicate tough enough after making it expand needs the right amount of acrlyic medium, so don't use acrylic paints which are not thick enough, because the expanded forms will not be strong enough. I also use sodium silicate and PVA glue to fill gaps when repairing some things, or use Vermiculaite and PVA glue to fill deeper holes in things.

Vermiculite and PVA glue can be trowelled into holes with a pallet knife and won't shink as it sets and I'm you are using the thick woodworking PVA it will be surprisingly solid when it sets. Vermiculite is exfoliated volcanic rock and it's both flexible and highly absorbent. After soaking up the PVA glue and the glue setting it becomes much more solid and rigid. My vermiculite is not fine enough and I grind it down with a pestle and mortar.

As some of you may have understood from some of my posts, I'm the guy in my town, who repairs things for customers and the more skills that I have to offer my customers, then the more potential to keep busy and remain viable as a business. I'm not as much different from everyone else on this forum as you might be thinking.

I had to learn this stuff first, those who want to can learn and practice this stuff too! Like I keep saying "It's not rocket science". This is not new technology, it come from adapting techniques that are centuries old. The people of bygone ages could do this stuff, why not us? How did I end up doing this stuff? None of it was planned, a few customers brought me things to repair and I just fell into it. That's all.
Mark Lacey

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Re: Thin relief design

Post by Not your average framer » Sat 06 Jul, 2019 11:27 am

I also make my own moulds for more substantial ornamentation and it's not as hard as you may be expecting. Fist I have to carve a pattern to cast the mould from. I usually carve this from an odd scrap of Obeche, or a piece of MDF. MDF carves surprisingly easy. I have various proper wood carving tools, but a lot of the time I am using lino cutting tools, which are really cheap to buy and work just fine if the wood is nice and soft.

I stick the finished pattern on to a flat piece of MDF and give it two or three coats of yaught varnish. I then make up a box around the pattern around the pattern with four short piece of wood and cast the mould using mould casting resin. The mould realese coating is nothing more than brushing the pattern and the MDF and wood around it with a coating of thick washing up fluid.

Leave it to set overnight, pull out the pins holding the four bits of wood in place, remove these bits of wood and separate the mould from the pattern. Keep the pattern for future use. When you use the mould you will still need to employ a mould release (I use washing up liquid). Mould casting resin and conventional casting resin are two different things. Mould casting resin is a two part flexible silicone resin, but the casting resin is much more rigid. Don't get the two mixed up.

The casting resin is not opaque and it is normal to include some sort of filler in the resin to make it opaque. Pete Bingham showed me how to use powered poster paint, but I can't get this near me and I use paint pigment powder instead. I use chinese red mixed with etruscan red and if the top coat get distressed over time, it will still look right.

The moulds have a bit to much give for pressing in heated compo, so It really needs something that can be poured in, not pressed in. I have tried filling the moulds with various kinds of water based fillers, but I still come back to the two part casting resin, as the results are so much better. The finished casting can be made a little bit flexible by gently warming it, so that it can be form to the shape of the frame moulding on which it is too be glued in place.

I would not do any of this, if I did not have any other way of getting frame ornamentation, without having to make it myself. I like quick and easy, but this is not particularly quick, or easy. Fortunately, I don't need to do this very often. I Repair existing ornamented frames, using Plasticine to take impressions from other areas of the frame and mix up a two part filler called "Repair wood for good".

The Plasticine is place in the deep freeze for a while and it goes rock hard, so the filler can be pressed in hard into the mould. you might think a mould release is not necessary with Plasticine, but this often is not true and I still use the washing up liquid as a release agent and save plenty of time by doing this. After sanding the back flat and smooth, I glue it to the frame with the water based version of "no more nails".
Mark Lacey

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Re: Thin relief design

Post by vintage frames » Sat 06 Jul, 2019 3:11 pm

Fascinating insight into NYAF's casting. Full applause there and who would have thought of using washing up liquid as a release agent. I could have used that recently when I virtually destroyed a nice little Hogarth frame using some very out of date resin casting and spray release agent. The mould stuck fast and pulled off the decoration from the frame. Now I use fresh two part polyurethane mould rubber and pro release spreay from Tiranti.
On production casting I use warmed compo into a 12 inch polyurethane mould, and it is so..so very boring! Say I have half a dozen frames, each about 8 feet circumference, and each needs a decorative beading or "lambs tongue" detail. That's over 48 castings to make and that is full-on, all day!
What's wrong is that you can't be doing anything else when casting. It's into the microwave, wait 30sec or so, knead the warmed compo untill it's consistent, press into the mould, wait 2 to 3 minutes, release from the mould, sit down and carefully slice off the casting, lay to one side then gather up the waste, scrunch it together and then back in the microwave for the next casting. Fun, isn't it? You can see where the money goes in all this.
But then in the factories, all this is done with a casting wheel on long lenghts of moulding and sprayed with a finish that in the end - looks horrible.
So it's back to the misery of the workshop.

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Re: Thin relief design

Post by Not your average framer » Sat 06 Jul, 2019 4:32 pm

I did not invent using washing up liquid as a release agent, it's not a new technique. I learnt it from Pete bingham, but later found out that it's popular with other user's as well. I don't know how old the technique would be, but probably goes back to before the 1960's. I would not think that this washing up liquid method would be suitable for conventional compo, because of the water content in the washing up liquid ruining the compo.
Mark Lacey

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Re: Thin relief design

Post by vintage frames » Sat 06 Jul, 2019 4:46 pm

Absolutely right there about washing up liquid - you couldn't use it when working with compo. I was only referring to it's use as a release agent for resin casting where I'd be taking the original mould from a frame.
With compo I use linseed oil brushed into the mould before pressing in the compo.

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Re: Thin relief design

Post by Not your average framer » Sat 06 Jul, 2019 5:20 pm

I have given some thought to making casting rigid moulds that you can press warmed compo into using an arbor press. I know people use arbor presses to do this, because I've read about it. However removing a rigid pattern from a rigid mould is maybe not so easy. I've never tried this, but if I could figure out the best way to do this, I'd be tempted to give it a go.

I don't think I would make my own compo, because I can buy it ready made from "gold leaf supplies" and as many other members already will know, I like quick and easy, plus if somebody has already done the difficult and messing bit, that will do me nicely.
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Re: Thin relief design

Post by Framemaker Richard » Fri 12 Jul, 2019 3:25 pm

Hi Jos,

This image shows pastiglia, it's just thick gesso loaded on a brush, which is then painted on to a pencil drawn design on the flat gesso surface.

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Re: Thin relief design

Post by vintage frames » Fri 12 Jul, 2019 5:08 pm

I think I tried that once - made a complete mess of it. Brilliant to see you back again!

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Re: Thin relief design

Post by poliopete » Sat 13 Jul, 2019 7:42 am

"Brilliant to see you back again"

Hear hear : :clap:

Peter.

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Re: Thin relief design

Post by josvanr » Sat 10 Aug, 2019 2:28 pm

Hmmm 'pastiglia'.. that's one good clue for further search, thnx! According to wikipedia they also used bags with a small opening in it to apply the gesso, like icing on a cake :) Will try that too (and just orderd a kg of sodium silicate..)

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Re: Thin relief design

Post by josvanr » Sat 10 Aug, 2019 6:06 pm

'Pastiglia'... you mention the term and here I find the guy giving a demonstration:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhymqoqgD7c

I think he draws the pattern on the bare frame and then prays over a
couple of coats, giving it the 'rounded' look..

gonna try that tomorrow ! :)

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Re: Thin relief design

Post by josvanr » Sat 10 Aug, 2019 9:11 pm

Couldn't wait anymore, so I went over to my studio and did some tests.

First I tried to draw using regular acrylic gesso but that didn't work. The gesso
can't be shaped into a nice domed profile if that is the correct expression. Then I searched
for 'pastiglia recipes' and found a post from someone using pva glue. Decided to try
and that works quite well. Brushed on the frame it forms a nice rounded relief.

I drew a couple of lines on an old piece of finished frame. Some lines using only
pva glue and a couple with burned sienna mixed in. I then sprayed a thin layer of
nitro lacquer on top and sanded lightly with steelwool. See images.

Gonna do some more tests tomorrow......



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Re: Thin relief design

Post by Not your average framer » Sat 10 Aug, 2019 9:42 pm

Have you checked out "Barbola", this was a popular way of producing moulded detail for fixing onto frames, mirrors, trinket boxes and the like. It first appeared in the very early 1900's and was made from a special type of gesso powder, which was later produced by Windsor and Newton in the 1920's, or 1930's and remained available as a Windsor and Newton product for many decades. It appears that it was finally discontinued somewhere around the 1970's, or even perhaps the 1980's.

Depending upon it's consistency, it can be either moulded, or even applied by paint brush, if you can get the consistency just right. Which I must add is not exactly as easy to do as you might think, without adding something to it and for me choosing the right thing to add to it, has not exactly been completely successful. When I use this, I sometimes want it to develop surface cracks which sort of works quite well with cooked wheat starch, but adding anything else to the mix to make it flow properly, while having enough body to preserve the impasto, tends to wreck the surface cracking effect.

I have not found a solution to this problem and as far as I can figure out, I don't think that there is going to be a solution. Authentic Barbola gets these surface cracks with age, but it originally was painted and varnished long before the cracks started to appear, which is a problem for me as I have to paint and varnish the Barbola after it has set and the cracks have already appeared. Customers don't mind paying the extra for something that matches the appearance of age, for something that's been in their family for generations, but the slightest hint that lacks that aged look and it just looks wrong. Sometimes you just can't win.
Mark Lacey

“Life is short. Art long. Opportunity is fleeting. Experience treacherous. Judgement difficult.”
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Re: Thin relief design

Post by Not your average framer » Sat 10 Aug, 2019 10:01 pm

I've just seen the photos of your attempt at brushing the decor onto the moulding above. That's pretty impressive for just a first attempt. Although the PVA gives the paint some extra body, I'm wondering if it will be a bit too glossy and not quite have that nice antique look that you get with something that thickens the paint, but also dries to a slightly less smooth finish, with a degree of mattness as well.

PVA mixed with some reasonable thick cooked wheat paste, usually does not set with a smooth glossy surface finish, but tends to be a rough to the touch and might enable a slightly dusty looking wash to be worked into that roughness, which can be wiped clean leaving a very slight and subtile suggestion of age. I know this works with just PVA and cooked starch paste, but I've not tried it with acrylic paint included in the mix.

Might be worth giving it a try to see how it works!
Mark Lacey

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Re: Thin relief design

Post by josvanr » Sun 11 Aug, 2019 9:08 am

I think this is developing into an obsession, sorry for that haha. Will blow over.
This would be a way to do it time efficiently:

https://youtu.be/ZoND8FQK_ow?t=469

stenciling already mentioned earlier, but this lady is using a different material.
It looks like an acrylic gesso with glue added to it.
Then one ideally would have to get one of those stencil cutting machines (scanncut etc).
Any one of you have one of these?

I cant find many useful references to the 'barbola'. But a few searches lead to cake icing modelling
paste. And why not, if it dries hard enough..

Yes the pva did dry very glossy, and some surface texture is needed for the rottenstone to stick to.
Will try more additives.....

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