Gold-leaf is laid on with Gold-size, the best of which - and most commonly at hand - is that thick surface Oil which floats on the top of Yellow Paint, when kept standing for a few months in a Painter's pot.

A Coating of this Size is first laid on; and when tolerably dry, which it will be in the course of 7 or 8 hours, the Leaf is put on.

If the object is being re-gilt, it ought to be scrubbed with soap and hot water, before laying on the Size.

Gilt Figure-heads are sometimes covered on putting to Sea, [p 54] and kept so, for preservation, during the cruize; but it has been found that the chafe of the Cover does more harm than good.

After all, Gilt is not much in character in a Ship of War, except for the Figure-head. The Service requires something less tawdry, and of a more durable character.

Metal-lead is sometimes passed off for Gold-leaf, but it may easily be tested by dropping on it a little Aquafortis, which will turn the Leaf to a greenish colour, if not genuine.


Ground, the darkest green, upon which while damp, by means of a piece of Chamois Leather, put on the Gold-dust.

Black stain for wood.

Into a Gallon of Vinegar, put half a Pound of Iron-rust, and let it remain for at least ten days; but the longer the better. Then add one Pound of Lamp-black, and a quarter of a Pound of Copperas. Stir it up occasionally for a few hours, and it will be fit for use.
Alexander D. Fordyce: Outline of Naval Routine.
Smith, Elder & Son, London, 1837. pp 53-54.

Transcribed by Lars Bruzelius

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