Gold leaf

 

 

 

 


Gold Leaf

      Gold Leaf is the traditional finish for crosses, weathervanes, domes, steeples, statuary, and finials. It can be found in the tombs of the ancient Egyptian Pharaohs, as it is used for its intrinsic beauty, rarity, malleability, and durability. We use only 23 1/2 karat genuine gold leaf and take special steps in the preparation of the surface on which the gold leaf will be applied, to insure years of maintenance-free service.  The gold leaf usually lasts 30 years and beyond when properly applied. Many of the older steeples that we replace still have parts of the gold leaf still intact after100 years. Campbellsville Industries is the premier gold leafing provider for exterior steeples and cupolas in America. Gold leaf has been called solidified sunlight, and it makes any object an architectural exclamation mark!

Gold leaf cross

Gold leaf cross Gold leaf Gold leaf

Gold leaf cross
Gold leaf

Gold leaf
Gold leaf cross


How Gold Leaf Is Manufactured


Melting


Ingot

Laminating

Pre-Beating

Beating



After Beating

Photos Courtesy of Manetti

A PRIMER ON GOLD LEAF

The durability of the gold leafed project is based upon several things:

 1)  SURFACE PREPARATION OF THE CROSS:   Campbellsville goes through elaborate measures to ensure a properly prepared surface to receive the gold leaf.  The metal is acid etched, detergent cleaned, primed, sealed with an exterior enamel, and then finally given an application of traditional slow oil size to receive the gold lead.  This attention to preparation ensures proper adhesion to the substrate below. 

 2)  GOLD CONTENT The gold content is a major consideration in the longevity of the project.  Gold leaf is manufactured in a wide variety of karats that can range from 12K to 24K.  Gold is the most noble of metals and in its pure state is totally resistant to corrosion.  A largely gilded dome or outdoor statue requires 23 to 23.75 karat gold leaf containing 96% to 98.5% gold.  The remaining percentage of the composition is the addition of silver or copper that lowers the gold leaf’s resistance to corrosion.  The copper or silver content in 23 to 23.75 karat leaf is so low that it has little effect, if any, on the corrosion resistance of the gold leaf.  The silver or copper alloys are added for tone or color.  Campbellsville uses an antique gold leaf that has a 23.5 karat gold, with a .5 karat addition of copper to give it an antique gold luster.  This assures you of a highly corrosion-resistant finish.

 3)  THICKNESS OF GOLD LEAF This is the third major consideration in the longevity of the gilding process.  The heavier the gold leaf, the longer it will physically stand up to the abrasive effects of snow, rain, and wind-blown dust and sand particles.  Gold leaf is very thin: 1,000 sheets would equal the thickness of a dime, or one sheet is 1/250,000th of an inch thick.  For an exterior gilding application, Campbellsville uses what is called a “double” weight gold leaf, which is heavier in weight than regular gold leaf, and weighs a minimum of 22 grams per 1,000 sheets.  Double gold leaf does not mean that the leaf is two times thicker than regular gold leaf; double leaf may be only 10% to 20% thicker than regular.  This additional thickness adds extra durability and longevity to the gold leaf process.

4) CARE IN HANDLING GOLD LEAF: The gold leafed item must be wrapped and handled carefully throughout the delivery to the jobsite, and during the duration of the installation process. The cross is inspected before it is wrapped at the factory and the protective wrapping should be left in place until the installation process is completed. The workers should not wipe the surface with cloths, gloves, or any foreign materials. Some larger crosses may receive a clear protective coating to help in the handling of the cross. It should be noted that the protective coating does not add to the life expectancy of the cross, as the gold leaf is more durable than the coating.

SPECIAL NOTE: Beware of companies offering exterior gold leaf in karat weights below 23 1/2K gold. We do not recommend gold of lesser quality for exterior use as it will not hold up to the elements, and could "turn" due to the other metals alloyed with the gold. Do not be mislead by companies offering gold leaf adhered to plastic film as a modern alternative to traditional gold leaf. Traditional gold leaf is unequaled in brilliance, and longevity by any other alternatives. It takes time to traditionally apply genuine gold leaf, and there are no shortcuts. You will not be disappointed with the results. Our customers are always overwhelmed by the beauty of gold leaf when they see their project for the first time, and you will be too!

Contact Campbellsville for a FREE estimate on your next gold leaf project at: 800-467-8135. You may e-mail your project requirements to us, or fax them to us at: 270-465-6839. You can contact your our local representative in your area for further assistance.

 

"24 Overlay it with pure gold and make a gold molding around it. 25 Also make around it a rim a handbreadth [6] wide and put a gold molding on the rim. 26 Make four gold rings for
the table and fasten them to the four corners, where the four legs are. 27 The rings are to be close to the rim to hold the poles used in carrying the table.
28
Make the poles of acacia wood, overlay them with gold and carry the table with them."
  - Exodus 25:12-13 NIV (Describing how to construct the Ark of the Covenant)

 

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