Gilding (Conserving Incised Inscriptions on Stone War Memorials)

Gilding (Conserving Incised Inscriptions on Stone War Memorials)


Surface finishes such as gilding are often
found on incised lettering. This may have been originally, or subsequently applied as
a means of increasing legibility. Loss of gilding will tend to reduce legibility,
so if cleaning doesn’t improve this, regilding can restore it. Remaining gilding which is flaking should
either be consolidated or carefully removed back to a sound substrate. This is an example of regilding on a polished
granite where the condition of the existing gilding has been lost. Apply base coat, which may match the colour
of the stone. This helps to fill any pores or pits, smoothing out any unevenness. Apply gilding size or sign writer’s enamel. Apply gold leaf which should be at least 23
and a third carat quality. In general, gold paint isn’t suitable, but
if minor touching in is to be carried out, acrylic paints can be used. When dry, excess gold leaf can be carefully
removed to leave it within the incised letters. On hard, polished or honed granite, the excess
paint can be carefully scrapped away with a window scraper and finished with a very
fine abrasive, such as a cuttlefish bone. On softer stones, the size and gilding needs
to be applied very precisely, since scraping, nor rubbing back is an option.

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