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Just wanted to share this technique I'm enjoying so covering an under-painting with carefully torn silver or copper leaf. I'm just loving this, and how the light changes on the surface from different perspectives.
I've tried a couple different Urethane to see what might be clearest and remain flexible on a canvas.
After using a marine spar urethane on a fiberglass sculpture I treated I'm sensing this will be the strongest, but for interior use, probably over kill.
I wonder if anyone might have something they'd suggest as a good sealant for, especially the copper leaf which tarnishes so fast. I want to keep them glistening.
Thanks all.

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Thanks for the info. Even though I have yet to try it, outside of framing, I've been interested in leaf for some years and always enjoy a new perspective on this material.
Dear Michael, Stretch your canvas over untempered masionite , because the tempered masionite is tempered with oil and may bleed through the canvas and through the ground. Also you might want to make your own gesso using a cake maker's sieve (you know the one with a squeeze handle) and rabbit skin glue (no this isn't an Easter Joke) and use distilled water to eliminate any metal that maybe dissolved in your household water which could stain the ground, like iron oxide (rust). Strain the heated glue solution over a cheese cloth sieve to remove any foreign particulates, I assume you want to have a smooth ground, so sand down the surface with 400 grit sand paper or even 600 grit. The masionite backing eliminates the flexing of the canvas and can also be used on shallow curved surfaces covered with canvas either duck or linen for rounded effects. Build up six or eight layers of the glue ground mixture sanding between each coat and you will get a glass like surface. I size my canvases with a straight glue size before applying the ground on both front and back. An acrylic gesso will lift up with moisture whereas rabbit skin glue will only get sticky. Shellac is water proof and only is soluble in alcohol, try a 3 lb. cut of white shellac which is the basic commercial cut and you can dilute it to suit your needs and apply the shellac with cheese cloth folded into a triangle which is the way French Polish is applied to furniture. I use canvas stretched over maisonite for my encaustic paintings as well to avoid fracturing the wax surface and crazing. You might want to color the ground with dry pigment like the gilders do with their yellow terra-cotta boles which makes the leaf richer and minimizes the leaf tears allowing them to be buffed with agate burnishers to get a rich polished gold shine. I don't know if it will work with metal leaf it may work on copper leaf although I have never tried it. Liver of sulfur will darken the copper and copper sulfite will turn it green. If you are going to use Tung oil or Urethane make sure you have a UV additive in the varnish, boats in Marinas get a clouded or milky look when exposed to UV rays in daylight and show that they don't have any additive and you wouldn't want that. Good luck and tell me what happens, I would like to know. All the best, you friend, Donald
Great technique info Donald...I really appreciate it, am printing it out.
I haven't used a masonite backing but I can see many benefits, especially as I rub the leaf. I like the light weight of the stretched canvas but I know the masonite will certainly be more substantial which is a good thing. I think you're right there. Other great info too. Thanks!


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