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Keum Boo adhesion issue on reticulated silver

Hi there! I have been struggling with applying gold leaf to reticulated Sterlium Silver. I have had some pieces work, with difficulty most of the time.

I have prepared the reticulated pieces by depletion guilding them many, many times, likely more than 10, starting with six rounds and found it not enough. I heat and scrub with a clean brass brush under water then end the series of heating with no scrubbing.

The way I learned this process, I use distilled water that the gold has been dipped in and then lightly heat, press and burnish. I find the gold often does not adhere fully, partially does then lifts off and gold becomes overworked.

Does reticulated silver take way longer to depletion guild than regular silver. I feel it should due to that amount of heating? It seems like a lot of work and I am getting random results.

I have tried changing many of the factors, such as buying a thicker gold sheet, starting with fresh pickle and clean tools. I have also tried avoiding the deep recesses and applying to slightly textured areas, usually with no adhesion.

I feel I am getting the amount of heat wrong, (have use torch and hotplate) the burnishing, too much water, or no water or the guilding. Or maybe all of the above :slight_smile:

Any advice on prepping the reticulated metal would be most appreciated. I have read the feeds on attaching the gold on reticulated surfaces try to methodical while applying.

I am guessing it does not work to reticulate fine silver…

Thanks, Nicolina

keumbo needs: hot plate that gets to 500-700F with no fluxuation, I use an UltraLite Beehive Jewelry Kiln with a brass insert to give a flat surface above the ceramic floor, clean metal, keum bo gold (not just any thickness will do (Alcraft or Rio sells it), agate or boro glass burnishers. I have not heard of using water (??) heat up your kiln/hot plate. when a bamboo skewer singes after running it across the heated surface, you are ready. place metal on hot surface and give it a minute or so to get to the right temp. use tweezers to carefully set your pre-cut gold piece on the metal. use one burnisher to hold while you experimentally tap the middle of the sheet with the other to see if it sticks. if it doesn’t wait and try again in a bit. when it does, burnish from the middle out to the edges making sure the edges are down. if the right conditions are met as in above, gold and silver LOVE each other and will bond like crazy. high relief is troublesome, low relief easier to adhere. I suspect your metal isn’t hot enough. If you have just a regular hot plate it might be hot enough but household appliances are built to sort of cycle in temperature, stay on, go off etc. so they don’t work well for keum bo. Also a long cord or extension cord can increase electrical resistance and hamper the heating. best resource and how I learned is Celie Fago. she sells a little but mighty book on her website or Amazon.! (phot shows KB on various textured fine silver metal clay) see next post


sorry didn’t get pic up there



Thanks for the beautiful photos and suggestions.

Will try again with your suggestions. So if the piece isn’t hot enough and not adhering do you remove or are you holding it on the piece till it sticks?

My main issue is the reticulation of the silver. I really wonder if the depletion gilding is not sufficient for this level of heating and the layer of fine silver is not enough.

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No experience with Sterlium silver, so not sure my comments will help. I have successfully adhered keum-boo foil of various thicknesses to both reticulated silver and sterling fused to copper - which creates a reticulated surface that isn’t as deep as the “real” sort. I use a kitchen hot plate with open coils so I can see that it hasn’t shut off automatically, with a thin gauge sheet of sterling over the coils if the work is flat. When depletion gilding, I heat, pickle, rinse and burnish with a glass brush. If using a brass brush, be sure to use it with soapy water to prevent any brass being transferred to the silver. When burnishing the gold onto the textured silver, I prefer the glass brush to gently push the gold into low areas. Results are greatly dependent on the thickness of the gold… I have several weights to work with. If the texture is very deep, I’ve had better success with several layers of thinner gold. I’ve also found that if I over burnish with steel, agate, or a glass rod (but not a glass brush), the heavier gold can lift off with the layer of fine silver attached to it, leaving the sterling exposed. Hope this makes sense. Sorry, no photos. I learned a lot from Komelia long ago, and from Celie’s excellent booklet.

hold till sticks