If you use fine silver, you don’t need to go through the annealing
and pickling steps, as there is no copper to be eliminated from the
surface. That’s the function of the annealing and pickling. Fine
silver is ready to go as is, with the possible exception that it
needs to be really clean for easiest and best results. Annealing and
pickling normally do that as well as removing copper. You can clean
the fine silver that way too, if you wish, or use any of the regular
methods of chemically cleaning the sheet, such as would be used
prior to photoetching. Note that this is normally more than just
soap or detergent, as most such, leave their own surface films.
Liquid detergent such as spray 409 or other such cleaner/degreaser
first, then pumice, scouring powder, or baking soda scrubbed into the
surface until water runs across the surface without beading up. Then
you’re good to go.
Also, do I have to use gum tragacanth, will the gold bond without
I’ve not heard of gum trag. being used, nor have I ever used it for
Keum boo (though I’m sure lots of people do Keum boo in varied ways).
Are you sure you’re not mixing up techniques, such as it’s use in
enamelling or granulation? I’d expect the use of ANY such adhesive to
secure the gold, to be a hindrance to bonding, not a help. The gold
must physically contact the silver, without intervening contaminants,
for a good bond. burnishing, of course, will tend to force
contaminants and foreign materials out of the way, but still, if you
can do the work without them being there in the first place, then the
bonding is more assured.