An adventure in Gilding

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Blog entry by Alan Young posted 07-13-2008 05:43 PM 1421 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I am working on a writing desk. After seeing John Frys cool ebonized and glided chair

( )
I decided to add some gilding to project using Sepp Mica Powders.

I started by gilding these applied carving pieces. I mixed the powder with Seal Coat and brushed it on.

I applied two coats letting the shellac base dry in between coats.
I was somewhat concerned that subsequent coats would dissolve the previous layer but I was please to find that these powers fill in quite readily. It is a matter of mixing the desired concentration. I have gone for a rather heavy mixture….

After playing around with the carvings I moved onto the legs. I taped off the areas that border the designated gilding segments-

I removed the tape and began applying a stain to the remaining areas. I am giving this a wash of a red mahogany stain.

I applied the stain with a small artists brush-being very careful to let the stain ease up to the gilded borders…I was happy to find out though that even if a good deal of stain washed over the gilded segments-the stain did not penetrate those areas. A paper towel or rag removed any stain on the gilded areas.

Here are the legs set into the case and the desk.

The glided drawer casing is glued in place. The other gilded carvings are taped on for now.

It’s a challenge to gild enough but not too much in a busy piece like this. The top will have profile that closely follows the perimeter of the casework-in other words I plan on just enough overhang or lip to allow for wood movement. The top will have a a fairly “busy” profile routed along it’s edge and that edge will receive a gilding as well.

Thanks for looking…

7 comments so far

View Woodhacker's profile


1139 posts in 3751 days

#1 posted 07-13-2008 05:53 PM

Alan, that’s really interesting I’ve never tried gilding, (or for that matter a project that would lend itself to gilding) but this adds a great touch. It’s obvious this is going to be a beautiful writing desk…can’t wait to see it completed.

Thanks for posting this.

-- Martin, Kansas

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3756 days

#2 posted 07-14-2008 03:49 AM

You are doing some great work. IT seems to me that the gilding really brings out the accents in a complex piece. I’m still a long way from accentuating details like you have, but its great to see someone else doing something so cool. keep up the great work!

View Taigert's profile


593 posts in 3869 days

#3 posted 07-15-2008 08:54 AM


What is this style called?

Where did you get the design or the design idea’s from?

-- Taigert - Milan, IN

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 4050 days

#4 posted 07-15-2008 02:20 PM

This is a very interesting pice of work.
Is it your own design or did you follow a plan?
Tell us more about the fluting.


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View Alan Young's profile

Alan Young

137 posts in 3749 days

#5 posted 07-15-2008 04:41 PM

Thanks for all the comments and questions…..

Here are some answers…..

The design is my own. It isn’t a reproduction but is a style that is reflective of older period furnishings.
I designed this desk around the two double curved corner panels. These panels were left over from a cabinet I designed and built a year ago:

The inspiration for the desk is a somewhat different matter. My wife was watching a movie and said
I should come and see the cool old furniture in the various scenes. I walked into the room and started watching. Indeed the settings were full of marvelous period furniture. The movie turned out to be the Jane Austen story Sense and Sensibility. I proceeded to watch the entire Austen series on PBS and decided it would be a great challenge to design and build a piece that could “fit in” one of those stories. So this desk is designed as “Mr. Darcy’s Writing Desk”,and to make a short story long I have been documenting the entire piece on my website.

Now about the Fluting on the legs. I entered this blog sometime back: It has some details and a link to many pictures of the jig I built.

I’ll post pictures of this when it’s all finished.


View John Fry's profile

John Fry

74 posts in 3729 days

#6 posted 07-16-2008 07:12 AM

That is looking great Alan!

Now I see where you are going with this. This is going to be an awesome piece and I can’t wait to see the top and the finished piece.

-- John, Chisel and Bit Custom Crafted Furniture,

View jeanmarc's profile


1899 posts in 3745 days

#7 posted 07-28-2008 07:35 PM

très belle pièce .ne trouve t on pas ses décorations peinte en laitons .je pense que sa donnerai un notre cachet
a ce beau bureau
.tres beau travail

-- jeanmarc manosque france

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