With all the ingredients prepared all that remained was to setup. Researching some of the different methods used to prepare flake white was very revealing. I think that I will probably try a couple of different methods, but to begin with I figured I’d start at the beginning.
The “Stack Method” is considered the simplest method for creating lead white pigment and it was also the most common until the 1880′s. Basically it consists of three ingredients being brought together: Lead medallions, vinegar and horse manurer (the metal is the base, the vinegar changes the metal into an acetate, and the manurer provides both the heat needed for the process to work and also the carbon dioxide gas which changes the acetate into a carbonate). At least that’s the theory … in fact the Stack Method still isn’t really completely understood and is notorious for less than perfect results with pigment that is pink or yellow, rather than pure white. My favourite science quote about this method described it as being, “happy-go-lucky”. This description alone was reason enough for me to try it!
It made me smile to realise that when I was looking for horse manure I had to choose who I should call. In the end, Henry was good enough to give me a big garbage can full. I’m also using some local apple cider vinegar which is hopefully strong enough. And, in setting up, I had some great helpers too.
At this point everything is setup; I guess we’ll see what happens in a week’s time!