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The Goldleaf Process
 
GOLD LEAF MANUFACTURING PROCESS
Gold Leaf (also known as Gold Foil) imitation, unlike the authentic gold leaf that is made from real gold, imitation gold leaf is made from brass or copper and tin alloys, but the process is very similar on both metal leafs, as well as for silver leaf (silver foil).

The following is an overview of the process involved in the manufacturing of gold leaf.

 
1) Melting into bars
  Proportioned gold (or the indicated metal depending what kind of metal leaf is being elaborated) is put into the crucible and molten into gold liquid under high temperature, with micro-silver and copper elements evenly poured in. Then, with dregs filtered out, gold liquid is poured into the measured iron groove for cooling, resulting gold bars.
 
       
 
2) Bar pressing
  The thick gold bars are then pressed by machine to become thin golden belts which are cut into gold leaves as thin paper.
 
       
 
3) Belt cutting
  The gold belt is cut by machine into squares of 90 x 95 mm. Since the weight of these squares should be basically the same, their length has to be constantly adjusted according to the difference of the thickness of the water-box belt. Each wad with 144 pieces is taken as a unit for adjustment.
 
       
 
4) Softening the gold pieces
  Each wad of gold pieces cut off from the gold belt will become soft after having been heated and annealed by the heat-treatment furnace.
 
       
 
5) Hand hammering
  The softened 90 x 95 mm gold pieces in square are hammered by a 1.8 kg hammer at three intervals by the worker, each requiring no less than 980 times for expansion (each interval requires heating for softening in order to be expanded) into gold leaves of 120 x 120 mm in square and 0.025-0.028 mm in thickness.
 
       
 
6) Manual cutting of leaves
  Gold leaves are cut into small pieces of 30 x 30 mm, commonly called “spills”. Each gold leaf of 120 x 120 mm is cut into 16 tiny spills.
 
       
 
7) Incubating
  A piece of black gold paper of 10 cm in square is put into the incubator for heating, in order to expand gold quickly after spills are installed as the next procedure.
 
       
 
8) Layering with black paper
  Tiny spills are put into the black gold paper of 100 x 100 mm, commonly called “Kaizi”. A spill is put between each piece of black gold paper, until 2304 layers are filled with spills.
 
       
 
9) Electric furnace
  “Kaizi” with spills will be put into the electric furnace to be processed by constant temperature, in order to ensure the “kaizi” will not be affected by the temperature and moisture in natural space.
 
       
 
10) Machine hammering
  Tiny spills of 30 x 30 mm will be hammered by machine about 3000 times, so as to be expanded to be 50 x 50 mm. Then big spills of 50 x 50 mm will be further hammered by machine about 2000 times to be expanded into 100 x 100 mm.
 
       
 
11) Second layering
  Kaizi will be put into the black paper of 195 x 195 mm. Each kaizi is placed between each piece of black gold paper, until 2304 layers are filled with it and packed in a craft paper bag.
 
       
 
12) More hammering
  The paper bag, hammered by machine for 3-4 minutes each time, will be unwrapped to release the heat generated in the hammering process. Then, the paper bag will be wrapped again to be hammered by machine for nearly 2 hours (about 21000 times). After this, gold leaves of 100 x 100 mm will be expanded into foils of 200 x 200 mm with workmanship. The requirement of even thickness and softness should be met (to be able to be twisted into powder). If the requirement cannot be met, hammering should not stop until qualified level is reached. The extra part going beyond the size of the black gold paper should be scrapped away as rejects.
 
       
 
13) Papering
  With goose feather, the worker gingerly takes out the gold foils with workmanship from the black gold paper piece by piece. Then, they will be arranged into piles of gold foils and put into paper in the shape of square foils (a piece of paper is put between each foil). Each set will consist of 100 pieces and the cut off pieces will be used as fringe foils.
 
       
 
14) Inspection
  Through inspection of the finished product warehouse, unqualified products will be rejected for further improvement. Qualified products will be bond into 10 sets (1000 pieces) and wrapped into a small bag with desiccating agents inside. Then, the bag will be wrapped and sealed with plastic for preservation.
 
 

 
 
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