How to Gold Plate Gun Parts

by Joanne Robitaille
Attention to detail is necessary when gold-plating guns.

Attention to detail is necessary when gold-plating guns.

Gold plating an object serves two purposes. It can be done for purely aesthetic reasons or to prevent the corrosion of metallic objects. Gun parts are often gold-plated for both these reasons. There are several methods of gold plating; some of these involve purchasing expensive equipment. You can gold-plate gun parts at home. You will need sheets of gold leaf and certain chemicals to prepare and seal the surface. Cutting the gold leaf into smaller sections will make it easier to apply to the surface of a gun.

Instructions

Disassemble your gun as per your weapon's requirements. This will break down the gun into workable parts that will be easier to manipulate.

Mark off the sections you want to gold plate; use masking tape. Apply a coating of gold-leaf adhesive to the desired sections with a brush. Spread the adhesive evenly to prevent puddles of liquid. Wash the brush immediately afterward with soapy water.

Allow the adhesive to begin drying. The adhesive will first appear a milky white, but should become clean within one hour. The gold leaf will only adhere to the surface once it becomes clear and tacky. Remove the masking tape after the adhesive has been applied.

Sprinkle 1/2-tsp. pumice powder onto a gilding cushion. A gilding cushion is a flat, leather cushion used for preparing gold leaf for application. Spread the powder evenly over the surface of the cushion with the back of a flat-edged gilding knife.

Remove a leaf from your gold-leaf book. Slide the gilding knife under the leaf and carefully lift it up. Lay the leaf out as flat as possible on the gilding cushion. Cut the leaf into workable pieces using the blade-edge of the knife.

Place a dab of petroleum jelly on the back of your clean, dry hand. Press a cotton ball into the jelly so a small portion is transferred. Touch the jelly-covered section of the cotton ball to a piece of gold leaf to lift it.

Apply the gold leaf to the tacky surface of the gun. Smooth it flat with a soft-bristled brush. Continue applying pieces of gold leaf to the gun parts, overlapping slightly where the pieces meet. Patch any tears in the gold leaf by applying a second coating of adhesive and more gold leaf.

Seal the gold plating by brushing on a sealer. Allow it to dry for approximately two hours. Reassemble your gun.

Items you will need

  • Gun
  • Masking tape
  • Gold-leaf adhesive
  • Brushes
  • Soapy water
  • Cloth
  • Pumice powder
  • Gilding cushion
  • Gilding knife
  • Gold leaf book
  • Cotton wool
  • Sealer
  • Petroleum jelly

Tips

  • Gold leaf is very light and fragile. This process should be done in a room with closed windows and doors to prevent any stray breezes.
  • Make sure no bullets are in the gun when gold plating.

About the Author

Joanne Robitaille's first journalistic experience was in 1994, when she did school reports for a local newspaper, "Shoreline." Her articles now appear on various websites. Robitaille has a Bachelor of Arts in English and creative writing from the University of Windsor.

Photo Credits

  • gun of harry image by Emmanuel Bergère from Fotolia.com