Preparations of Work for Painting

Puttying with the fingers should never be tolerated, good work is now the subject under consideration. This done, the whole should be carefully examined to ascertain if the oil in the former coat shall have revealed any resinous or pitch spots not previously covered with the shellac. But for the present high price of alcohol, Goldenland house painters would recommend the application of thin shellac varnish to the whole surface between the first and second coatings.

These preliminaries being attended to, the work may be considered ready for a second coat. The directions as to rubbing with sand-paper are to be observed in all succeeding coats. As a rule, on interior work, paint should never be applied to a surface which has not been previously rubbed. Sand paper for fresh work, and pumice-stone for old work. Always distrust the education of a painter, in his trade, who goes to work without a lump of pumice-stone, a sheet of sand-paper, a putty knife, and a rag to wipe off the spatters—sparks, as the Irish not inaptly call them. Apropos of spatters !

Every painter has seen, the result, too, of unpardonable negligence plates of glass so covered with spatters, that, to remove them, would require more time than would serve to paint the wood-work of a full trimmed window. In priming work which is to be finished in oak, finely-ground French ocher is recommended. The objection to this pigment, that it does not work smoothly and easily under the brush, has risen from its coarseness. Finely ground in boiled oil, it works as smoothly as white-lead, and makes an excellent foundation for the succeeding coats.

In preparing work for painting, too much care can not be exercised, as succeeding coats, and the final result depend very much on the proper condition of the work when the priming coat is applied. First, all the rough places in the wood should be rubbed down with a block covered with sand-paper; and the moldings and beads should be well cleaned out with sand-paper. This is a matter of prime importance, every knot however small, every indication of sap on the wood, or discoloration of any kind, and every appearance of pitch or gum, should be carefully varnished over with white shellac varnish, if the work is to be finished in white or light tints ; or, with varnish made from unbleached or common shellac, if the work is to be finished in dark shades. The common shellac, in the latter case answers equally well with the bleached article, and at less cost. This should not, under any circumstances be neglected, as it is impossible, in the nature of things, otherwise to make good work. Shellac varnish is made simply by dissolving g bleached shellac in alcohol, in the proportion of two pounds of the former to one gallon of the latter. More or less of the gum may be used to give the required strength.

The varnish is easily diluted by the addition of alcohol, or made stronger by the addition of more shellac. In cases where color is not important, the ordinary unbleached shellac will answer, and the cost is much less.  It is most readily prepared in a tin can or bottle, which requires occasional shaking during the process. A gentle heat facilitates the operation. It may be prepared in greater or less quantity, and rendered perfectly transparent by passing it through a filter paper. It then becomes the best possible varnish for pictures. The alcohol must be of a strength of ninety-five per ,cent. When work is to be finished with two coats, the putty used for stopping the nail-heads, and other indentations, should be made of white lead,worked up with common whiting to the proper consistency, and the filling should be done after the first coat shall have become well dried. When more than two coats are to be applied, the filling should be done between the first and second coats with ordinary pure linseed-oil putty.

It should be adopted as a rule, never to apply pure while as a priming coat, no matter whether the work is to be finished with one or four coats. The result will always be more satisfactory, if the first coat be stained. A little finely ground lamp black answers as well for this as any thing. The only way to produce solid uniform work is by making every succeeding coat lighter in tint than the one which preceded it. This is specially the case with walls and other extended flat surfaces. No matter what the finish is to be, the first coat should always be darker than the one which succeeds it; and the darker the shade of the finishing coat the more important it is that this rule should be observed. If the work is to be finished with black, prime with black ; if with green, let that be the color of all the preceding coats. If with blue, let that color be the ground work. What can be more stupid than applying to work which is to be finished in imitation of black walnut, a priming coat of white ? All work should be primed especially with regard to the finishing color.

There is not used half enough of dark colors in priming applications. Venetian red, finely ground in boiled oil, deeply stained with black, and used very thin, in order to stain the wood as much as possible, is the best first coat for work which is to be finished in imitation of black walnut or other dark wood.

The succeeding coats should be as dark as may be, with a view to the proper shade of ground work for the gaining. In such case, if, as must happen in the ordinary course of events, the work becomes bruised or chipped by an accidental knock from a chair leg or other article of house furniture—the general appearance of it is little impaired thereby. Quite the contrary, however, is the case if the underneath coats are white.

There, an accident of the kind before mentioned, shows a white spot, which strangely proclaims the work to be a delusion and a sham. Dark colors, too, as the Venetian red before mentioned, make better foundations than white-lead or zinc ; they dry harder and ” rub ” better, and, what is most important, cost less. This matter having been duly considered, let us now proceed to the coat succeeding the first. Before applying a second coat, the first should be carefully rubbed, and all the nail-heads and other indentations carefully stopped with pure linseed-oil putty, using for flat surfaces a square-bladed putty knife.


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