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Silver finish for furniture

full close silver leaf table

Silver finish is quite popular in furniture finishing. Some peoples like the silver as the finishing color for the whole surfaces or as the accent at furniture product. There are many models of silver finishes can be generated according to the furniture style. A silver finish with a clean appearance, neat and high gloss can be applied to the contemporary-style furniture products. It will give furniture product with elegant appearance, luxurious and expensive. Conversely an antique silver color with color and glaze application also can produce antique furniture with also be attractive and beautiful looked. Silver is also widely used in combination with the other finishing colors. The silver as accents and highlights in the transparent or paint finish furniture will make the more alive and attractive looked to the furniture product.

Silver leaf finish 
The silver leaf is the finishing materials is specially designed to make high quality silver finish. The process of applying the silver leaf is more complicated than the application of silver paint.  But silver leaf can produce more lively and interesting appearance finish than the silver paint. Silver sheets are also available in many types and quality that will determined the finishing looked. The leaf is attached to the surface using special glue which is known; as gold leaf sizing. The process of silver leaf finish is very similar with the process for gold  leaf finish, but with the used silver leaf instead of gold leaf. 

Here is the step by step process of silver leaf finish
  •  Application of base coat.
Base coat is used to form the base of color and also to produce the smooth surface as a base for silver leaf. Apply 2 layer or 3 layer base coat on the wood surface. Then wait until the base coat layer is dry. After the base coat is dry, usually all the problems and imperfectness in the unfinished products will be more visible. Uneven surfaces, the existence of holes, dent, gaps or sand and scratches mark  that is difficult to be detected in the unfinished will appear and clearly visible after the application of base coat.
After base coat application the touch up on this surface can be done more easily. Put putty to fill  every holes, dents and gaps.  Let it dry, then do a good sanding to make smooth and even surface.

  • The  2nd base coat application.
The first base coat application is usually not enough to produce a smooth and even surface and color. The wood fibers will rise and harden to produce a rough surface. The touch up and sanding that is done on the first base coat will produce a surface with uneven color. Another layer of base coat usually is necessary to produce a smooth surface and even color.
Apply the 2nd base coat 1 or 2 layer wet coat evenly to all surfaces. Wait until the base coat is dry, if a flat surface is obtained then we can continue the process with the application of silver. But if a flat surface is not obtained yet, we need to repeat the application of base coat. 
  • Application of glue.
Special glue is needed to attach silver to the surface. The glue, known as leaf glue sizing is applied to the surface evenly. There are several ways to apply glue to the surface.  The glue can be applied by spray, brushed or by dab with a cloth. The glue application should be done carefully since it will affect the appearance of silver finish looked resulted. The way of glue application will form pattern when it is dry. The glue pattern such as brush line or dab pattern will be looked at the silver finish appearance. If you want to make antique looked, the glue application by brush or rag may good option, but if you want to get smooth and clean finish the glue is better be sprayed to make an even and smooth surface.
Once the glue is applied evenly then wait until the glue is dry. Place the glued product in a room which is clean and dust free. Dust and dirt on the surface will block the surface making that the silver leaf cannot well stick to the surface.

silver leaf is attached on the glued surface

  • Annealing the silver leaf.
Wait until the glue dry before you start sticking silver leaf. Usually it takes about 30 minutes to make the glue is dry and ready to be silvered. Put the sheets of silver one by one and press with brush or cloth until it is well attached to the surface. Do this process of attachment until the silver leaf fully cover the entire surface.
For a finishing with clean, even and fully close silver color, the silver leaf application should cover the entire surface. Some touch up is needed to solve the parts that are still not covered by the silver. Reapply the glue on the open parts and pasting the silver leaf until the entire surface is covered by silver color.
For silver with antique finish some open parts is usually is accepted. For antique finish the silver layer is usually need to be sanded trough to show the base coat underneath. In this case the open parts will even help to make more antique effect.
  • Application of clear coating.
After the base coat surface is coated with silver leaf in accordance with the needs of the next procedure is the application of clear coat. Clear coat is applied to protect and coat the silver underneath to make a smooth surface. Dry spray or medium dry spray technique many times is better option to apply the clear coating on the silver leaf instead of 1 times wet coat application. Silver is like a metal surfaces with little absorption of finishing material. Too thick coat is highly risk of sagging.  

 first silver leaf application will leave some open parts
  • Application of glaze
Glaze can be applied if necessary. A glaze application will form more life and antique looked for the finishing. Glaze can also be used to form the impression of antique and dirty when necessary. For a clean and even finish, then the glaze is not required.
  • Application of top coat.
Top coat is the final finishing layer which serves to protect its underneath finishing and to form the finishing gloss. Wait until the glaze is completely dry and apply a wet coat layer of top coat with the required sheen.

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