Thursday, 27 March 2008

Zaphod's first coats of gesso

After a long gap when I've been busy with other things (silver and writing mainly) I'm back working on poor neglected Zaphod.

The photo shows him with his first coats of gesso on. I use Anthony Dew's recipe, except I find I have to add a lot more whiting than he says, else it's way too watery. I don't put on a coat of size first either, as it seems to make the horse wet to no purpose.

It looks good in the picture, but in the daylight on the balcony I saw loads of little dents and gaps that I will have to fill with gesso. Surprising, as I thought I'd done a thorough job of filling and sanding.

The gesso is over the edge of his eyes (now fixed in with filler) and I will clean it off when the gesso layer is complete.


Anonymous said...


Zaphod looks exactly like my lines horse that I am restoring at the moment. I have lots of dents n my gesso too!


Lexi said...

Hi Janie,

Is your Lines a J&G or a G&J?

I tried filling the dents etc. yesterday with a very stiff gesso mix. Sanded and with more coats of gesso, I hope this will get rid of them.

I must also visit Rocking Horse Elite eBay group and look up all the discussions on gesso.


Anonymous said...

Hi Lexi

It's a G & J Lines horse, I'm now on my 15th coat of gesso and counting! I used a fairly thick coat for each. I think Gesso is like Marmite love it or hate it!


Lexi said...

Yes. I love it!

I haven't counted - probably just as well. I've now done two sessions, with patching and sanding in between, and will do another sanding/coating today weather permitting. Maybe six/seven on the body so far, two on the head and legs?

The dents are much fewer. Sanding is the worst bit, the dust goes everywhere, hence the need for fine weather to do it outside.

Timber Beast said...

Zaphod is gorgeous.

moneythoughts said...

Hi Lexi,

My name is Fred and I live in Cincinnati, Ohio. My wife, before she died, bought an antique rocking horse at an antique show in our city from an antique dealer in Pennsylvania. She paid a lot money, but did not know what she was doing. She was sick. I have the rocking horse, but have been unable to establish any information about this rocking horse that was said to be made in Pennsylvania. Do you know of any dealers around the world that might be able to help me. I called the antique dealer in Pennsylvania after my wife died, but he was little to no help. I doubt that it is worth anything near what she paid for it. I believe she was really taken; however, I would nevertheless like to sell it with more care than was exercised in its purchase. Can you help me?


Lexi said...

Hi Fred,

It's always worth knowing what you are selling - goodness, it might just be an Ayres! You can email me a photo and I may be able to help with identification ( email:

There are a couple of websites you could look at; one for rocking horse identification, with lots of links to other sites, and

Most rocking horse enthusiasts are very willing to advise.


Coralie Endean said...

HI Lexi,
I am restoring an old colinson and trying to rebuild 4 cheap lines knockoffs from the Philippines for my nieces for Christmas. I felicitate about the nails and car filler comments. I thought it might be easier to carve a whole new horse until I saw your site. Coralie

Lexi said...

Coralie, it's funny how one can never stop at one rocking horse.

I bet your nieces will be delighted. I longed for a rocking horse as a child, and never had one. Press on!