A few steps to reach the objective.

1. Place the pot containing the soaked mass into hot water (max. 50°C). The ideal implement for this purpose is an electrically operated water bath with thermostatic temperature control.

3. You can also filter the chalk-sizing solution by forcing it through the fine-mesh material of an old pair of nylon tights. Lumps and other impurities then remain inside the stocking.

5. Smooth down filigree and other decorated surfaces with a soft rag, preferably made by tearing up an old linen sheet. Apply gentle manual pressure across the entire surface when doing so.

7. Ensure that the poliment is correctly bound with glue. This is the decisive factor on which the quality of the poliment gilding depends.

9. The most versatile tool recommended for novices in the art is a small horn-shaped polishing agate.

11. Brush the fully dried surface of the poliment with a poliment brush before applying the gold leaf, taking care to ensure that no part of the surface is left untouched. Apply firm pressure when doing so. This pressing action causes the base material to compress, giving the surface of the poliment a porcelain-like shine.

13. Wrap a rag soaked in white spirit around your index finger. Dip it in superfine ground pumice and allow a little of it to adhere. Gently and carefully rub the entire gilded and burnished surface of the object. The thickness of the gold leaf will be fractionally reduced, allowing the poliment base to shine through. The joins will also become visible. These are the regularly-recurring points on the surface where the strips of gold leaf overlap slightly to create an optically pleasing effect.

15. Walnut stain (Cassel brown dissolved in soda) can be obtained in granulate form from specialist suppliers. Dissolve the product in hot water. The strength of the solution is determined by the depth of tone required. The technique is to use a basic stain solution, which can then be altered by the addition of different stains, inks and pigments to achieve alternative varieties of depth and tone.

17. Beginners should try out their poliment gilding skills on small items first, before attempting to tackle larger objects. Sections of chalk-sized chipboard are ideal for practicing on.

2. To prevent the formation of air bubbles, stir the chalk sizing slowly and thoroughly.

4. Apply each layer "wet on wet" - i.e. without waiting for the previous one to dry completely. Add a little warm water to prevent the chalk sizing from thickening too much. This will make it easier to apply with a paintbrush, thereby ensuring that it goes on more smoothly. When diluting the solution, stir it very slowly to avoid the formation of bubbles.

6. Smooth the chalk-sized surface with great care. The more thoroughly and carefully this smoothing operation is carried out, the better will be the quality of the gilded surface applied to the chalk sizing.

8. Deeply recessed and therefore difficult-to-reach sections of decorative work (e.g. wooden items with filigree elements) are best treated with yellow poliment. This helps to ensure that any patches of surface that have not been gilded correctly with gold leaf are not so obvious, and thus do not have a negative effect on the general impression given.

10. The correct moment can also be determined using the so-called "knock test". Carefully tap the gilded surface with the polishing agate. If the tone produced is lighter than the dull one heard just after application of the gold leaf, test a small area at the edge of the surface to determine whether the gilding is ready for burnishing. If it is, begin with the burnishing of the entire surface. Note that it is difficult to burnish the gold correctly once the underlying surface is completely dry.

12. Never touch the poliment surface with your bare hands, as this can cause the surface to become smeared and lose the adhesive properties that are required for the application of gold leaf. Before proceeding any further, wipe down the entire poliment surface with an acetone-soaked linen rag. This will remove any traces of grease.

14. Always protect silvered or white-gold gilded surfaces with a coat of clear varnish (nitro- cellulose lacquer, zapon varnish). This will prevent the surface from harm caused by contaminants present in the atmosphere, such as the sulphuric acid produced by the hydrogen sulphide in the air. Apply the coating quickly, using a poliment brush reserved for this purpose. Clear varnish is easier to apply if it is first diluted with 5-10% butyl acetate.

16. A simply made-up basic shellac solution designed for this purpose consists of wax-free lemon shellac dissolved in a litre of ethyl alcohol.