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The right size – Michael Dresdner

Michael Dresdner

straight talk about wood finishing

The right size

Q: Here in my country there is only one kind of gold size; a waterbased size which is white in the can and cures colorless and gloss. We have to thin it with water and apply it with a little cotton ball. This process of applying the size takes a lot of time and sometimes is not satisfactory. Can I spray the size instead, or can I use high quality varnish as gold size?
A: Yes to both. Virtually all waterbased coatings spray quite nicely even without being reduced, and oil varnish can indeed be used as size. The key is to catch it just at the right point of drying, when it is dry enough to work on but still tacky enough to adhere to the leaf. Varnish itself is a mixture of drying oil and resin. Most oil based gold size is nothing more than long oil varnish. That means it contains slightly more oil than resin. You can even modify an oil varnish by adding a small amount of boiled linseed oil, about three ounces per quart, to the varnish to convert it to a long oil varnish.