Yesterday I mentioned supports and described two that will soon arrive. Although the gesso board will come in nearly ready for use--that is, with its ground already applied, the birch panel will need attention.
Firstly, the bare wood will receive a coat of rabbit skin glue. (Note: Click on images for product details and a whole lot more. Natural Pigments really rocks!)
There are differing opinions on whether to use whiting with this first coat, but if so then only minimal whiting will be used. A second coat may use a richer mix. Fine Ground Calcite, aka Chalk, will be on hand. These first coats require something like a day each for drying.
After the second coat, I may then move to a regular mix of whiting and glue, a normal gesso recipe, or simply use a prepared gesso mix, Easy Gesso. I will be using the Extra Fine grade for a smoother finish. Any coats after the second are applied after a short setting time.
I have read in a few places that the building up of gesso panels from scratch is really not that formidable of a task. The process requires attention and patience but it sounds as though once one has the knack of it that many panels can be built up quickly.
I am rather short on details at this point, trying only to gain an overview before I move deeper into the details. Koo Schandler's book arrived today and will be my reference on details. More on that rich resource very soon!