Applying bole. Bole is a very fine clay, in various earth colors, that when mixed with hide glue becomes the base layer and adhesive for water gilt gold. The color above is a mix, to match the color on the original frame.
Water gilding. The surface is wet with the "gilding liquer", water and some alcohol to break the surface tension. The polished bole is wet thoroughly, and the gold leaf is applied by picking it up with the tip, that wide flat brush, and almost slapping it on to the wet surface. To make the tip grab the leaf, I rub a tiny amount of vaseline on the back of my left hand, then lightly brush the end of the tip over my hand before grabbing the edge of the leaf with the tip. Sounds simple enough.
When the gilt areas are dry, they are burnished using an agate tool. To test for dryness, the surface is tapped with the agate; when a hard click is heard, the surface is dry. Trying to burnish wet just destroys the leaf. Two different shaped burnishers on the bench.
Burnished gilding and stained wood, with the color sample to match to. Waiting for the finish coat.