Composition Gold Leaf in Bookbinding
For many years I blindly followed the idea that the only metal leaf used in bookbinding was genuine 23 carat gold leaf, I wasted many thousands of pounds doing this in my humble opinion.
Of course genuine gold leaf must have a place in the workshop, I still use it a lot, but now composition gold leaf also has a firm place on my bench.
Anyone who has used ordinary cheap imitation gold foil will tell you it looks nothing like real gold leaf, any experienced bookbinder will tell you this.
For years I stuck to what I had been taught as an apprentice which was;
Gold foil was for cheap work and real gold leaf was for best work.
It wasn't until I tried composition gold leaf that I found a much more convincing alternative to gold foil, and a much cheaper alternative to real gold leaf.
The problem with gold foil is that it looks cheap, if you don't know this as an experienced bookbinder be warned, it does look cheap, it is cheap after all, your gold tooling will look the same as the gold used in mass produced food packaging, hardly the image a craftsman should want to foster.
I started using composition gold leaf 14 years ago, I now use it instead of gold foil, I also use it on full leather bindings. It has to be handled the same way as real gold leaf, but the effects are well worth the little effort involved in using it.
As composition gold leaf has to be handled in the same way as real gold leaf, you will obtain invaluable practice which will help you when it comes to using genuine gold leaf.
It used to be a widespread practice...it still is in France where I live...to varnish the covers of a book, while this is no longer such a widespread practice owing to changes within the attitude of bookbinders, you do have to apply a coat of thin varnish or lacquer to the gold to prevent it from tarnishing.
The shade of gold leaf I supply is a very close match to that of genuine 23 carat gold leaf.
There is a manual which is specificaly aimed at those wishing to gild onto leather, such as book binders, which is available at no charge from the download page.