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The Practical Mechanic:
Every Man His Own Mechanic
Broken Window, How To Mend It
Knowledge Must Be Paid For
Kinds Of Woods Used In Carpentry
Toosl Used In Carpentry
The Glue Pot
The Carpenter's Bench
How To Hold And Handle Tools
Divisions Of The Building Trade
Soldering And Brazing
Indoor And Outdoor Painting
Varnishes And Recipers For Making Varnishes
Polishing And Recipes For Polish
Wall Paper Hanging
( Originally Published 1902 )
Nearly all that has been said with regard to operations in the building trades is connected with construction, but here we shall speak chiefly of decoration. It has long been found necessary to protect wood and iron from the ill effects of moisture by a hard exterior coating impervious to wet; and hitherto the best preservatives have been found to be paint and varnish, through which no wet can penetrate as long as they remain in a sound state.
In doing work of this kind, it is much better and cheaper to buy paints and varnishes ready mixed. One very good reason why the amateur painter should do this is that the paint which he makes himself is apt to take a long time to get thoroughly dry and hard; and sometimes, even after the lapse of several weeks, it is still sticky.
Before beginning to paint, all dirt and projections, such as lumps of glue, etc., must be cleared away with the putty-knife and duster. Then, if the work be new, all the knots in the wood must be killed with knotting, to prevent the turpentine in the knots from oozing out and spoiling the appearance of the painting when finished. Knotting is a preparation of red lead, litharge, boiled oil, and a little turpentine; the amateur is advised to buy the " patent knotting," which may be obtained ready for use. After the knotting, which dries and hardens very quickly, is applied, the priming, or first coat, is put on. This is made of white lead, with some drying material, and a little red lead to harden it. It is made very thin with oil, as unpainted wood or plaster absorbs the paint very quickly.
The Several Coats of Paint.
As soon as the priming is dry, all holes made by punching in the heads of nails, cracks, etc., must be stopped with putty.
It is useless to attempt to do this before the priming has been applied, because putty will not stick to wood unless painted. After this has been done the second coat may be applied; and for new work the second coat of color should be made up chiefly of oil, because oil is the most efficient in stopping the suction of the wood; then a third, and even a fourth coat, may be applied. In lay, ing on the color, the brush should be passed backwards and forwards and in every direction, to spread the color evenly and work it well into the wood, in the earlier coats.
Finally, the brush should be drawn up and down, or backwards and forwards, as the case may be, in the direction of the grain of the wood, taking care to leave no marks of the hairs of the brush. In painting a door, or any piece of work in which part is sunk and part raised, the mouldings or any bead-work should be painted first with a sash tool, and then the panels, styles, and rails with a brush. No coat should be laid on a previous coat until that coat shall be perfectly dry and hard ; and before beginning to paint any piece of work, whatever may be the number of the coat, every particle of dust that may have settled on it should be carefully removed with the dusting brush.
The composition of the paint that is applied to old work, and indeed to wood generally, must depend upon the style or manner in which the work is to be finished. The first coat after the priming in new work should be paint in which the oil predominates over the turpentine: but for the first coat for old work the turpentine should be in excess of the oil. Paint mixed with oil in excess will present a shining surface when dry, but paint mixed with turpentine in excess will present a flat, dead, dull appearance. Therefore, when a shining surface is required, it is necessary that the under coat should be paint mixed with turpentine, the final coat being mixed with oil ; but when the finishing coat is to be " flatting," as it is technically called, it must be laid over an under coat or ground color mixed with oil.
Removing Old Paint.
When the surface of a coat of paint, that is to say, of any under coat, appears rough, especially in the case of patches in old work that have been retouched, the paint, when dry, should be rubbed down with fine glass paper until the roughness has disappeared. All loose paint, or paint that appears loose round the blister-marks, should be scraped away with a knife before the putty is put on. For cleaning old greasy smoke-stained paint limewash or limewater may be used. This kills the smoke or grease, on which no oil paint will ever dry and harden. Some will put a coating of weak size over the smoke and grease; the paint will dry on this, but it is very likely that it will soon crack and peel off.
It is not desirable to keep loading on coat after coat of paint on old work. It is better, when the incrustation caused by successive coats of paint has become very thick, to remove the paint entirely and begin de novo. There are various modes of removing paint. The professional painter will do it by the agency of heat, applying a flame to the surface of the paint; the heat soon softens the color, and it may then be scraped away with a knife.
Other Modes of Removing Old Paints.
Recipe. To Remove Old Paint from Woodwork. (1) Make a very strong solution of common washing soda, and apply it to the paint with a brush until the paint can be scraped away. (2) Apply naphtha to the paint in the same manner, giving it a second and even third damping with this substance until the paint yields. When soft enough scrape it away with a knife. (3) Slake 3lbs. of stone time in water, and then add to this 1 lb. of pearlash, and sufficient water to bring the whole to the consistency of thick cream. Apply the preparation with a brush, and leave it on the paint for from eighteen to twenty-four hours, when it will be found that the paint is softened and may be easily scraped off.
The amateur will find it necessary, perhaps, to do his painting work at intervals, often few and far between. If he leaves paint in the paint pot for some length of time, he will discover, much to his annoyance, on resuming work, that the paint is too hard and thick to be used. The addition of some oil and turpentine may save a little of it, but it will neither work pleasantly, nor, indeed, be worth using. , Whenever paint must be put aside, a little cold water must be poured on the top of the paint. This prevents the evaporation of the oil, and keeps the paint all right for future use by excluding the air and preventing its action in drying and hardening the paint.
The Care of Brushes.
Similarly, brushes not in use should have the bristles or hair kept under water, that they may remain soft and flexible. It is better, however, when the amateur painter does not know how long it may be before he uses his brush again, to wash the color well out of it by means of a little turpentine, and then allow the brush to dry. When kept in water for some time, the constant soaking will rot the string and the bottom of the wooden handle to which the bristles are attached, and the amateur, on commencing painting, will experience the annoyance of his brush snapping off short like the end of a carrot.
Various Coloring Substances Used in Painting.
It will be useful to the amateur painter to mention the various pigments or coloring substances used in painting to produce different simple colors, and to follow these with a list of colors that are produced by combinations of two or more of these colors. White lead, a substance highly prejudicial to the health, both of those who manufacture it and those who use it, is mixed with all colors to tone them down and produce different shades, lines, and tints. There are, however, other mineral whites capable of supplying the place of white lead, which have the advantage of being non-poisonous pigments.
It will be convenient to classify each set of coloring substances, whether mineral or otherwise, under the color which it yields when properly mixed.
In all operations of painting, varnishing, etc., it is of the greatest importance that everything used, whether slab, muller, knife, or brushes, should be kept thoroughly clean.