Wall Painting Preparation

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.

For walls, the first coat should be as dark in shade, and as thin as practicable the object being to stain the plaster as much as possible. Indeed, if the whole mass of plaster could be stained through and through, it would be desirable to so stain it. The use of glue in wall-painting is of doubtful propriety. It should never, under any circumstances, be put on until after the second coat, and then rubbed on with a rag very lightly. In first-class work, however, its use is not recommended. Plaster, mixed with weak glue size, which prevents its setting too rapidly, is the best material for stopping walls preparatory to painting, and each coat of paint should be carefully rubbed with worn sandpaper before the succeeding coat is put on. For preparing walls, a small pocket trowel will be found a most serviceable tool ; or a trowel-shaped putty-knife, which is now coming into general use. The preparation of ceilings for white-washing, or laminating as the operation is sometimes pretentiously called, is an operation requiring some skill and knowledge of ” how to do it.”

A dirty ceiling which has been subjected to successive coats of white-wash, whether of lime, or whiting and glue size, can not be made solidly and smooth-ly white by additional white-washing. The mass has become spongy, and sucks up the water so quickly that the material cannot be evenly distributed. In such case, the only way is to begin anew—to go at once ” down to hard pan,” removing all the previous applications, by washing and scraping. This is best effected with a broad-bladed, square-pointed putty knife, keeping the ceiling wet meanwhile.

Plaster hard finish is not of uniform density, and some spots are much more absorbent than others. To remedy this, a mixture of soft soap and alum, dissolved in water should be applied with a broad kalsomine brush. All priming for work to be finished in oil should be diluted in oil, using not a particle of turpentine. In no case should wood in a wet state be painted in oil, the consequence in such cases, being the speedy decaying of the wood or the sealing, and casting off of the paint. Priming coats, on exteriors, require to be thin, using only a small quantity of color ; where it is applied in thick masses the wood will drink up the oil, leaving a crust on the surface which will soon disappear in flakes, or dust off, having the appearance of flour. For work exposed to the weather, the turpentine should be wholly omitted, and oil alone employed in all coats.

2nd coat for interiors
Mix with raw oil and turpentine, eaual parts, or dilute ready ground colors wholly with turpentine ; add a small quantity of dryer, if dark, use the liquid brown japan, or patent dryer ; if white, sugar of lead is best. As to the quantities required, experience must be the teacher, as some paints do not require the same amount as others. This coat should be put on as thick as will spread and rub out, cross smooth lightly with the tip of the brush.

3rd coat
Same as the second, with the exception of using more turpentine; it requiring to be a trifle thinner. Coats for out-side may be of the same consistency as the above, using raw or boiled linseed oil.

Flatting. Consists In employing turpentine in the place of linseed oil in diluting colors, using only sufficient oil to bind the paint and fix it on the ground, say one-fifth oil to four-fifths turpentine. This requires to be mixed thin and spread on quickly ; finish lengthwise, without cross-smoothing with light sweeps of the tip of the brush ; this will set in less than thirty seconds, after which it will not do to retouch, or it will show a gloss. Care must be taken to spread this on quickly and evenly. The room requires to be kept close, and free from any draft of air.

Porcelain Finish. First and second coating with lead same as above ; the third coat requires to be the best French zinc, mixed flat; when dry and hard, you will mix your porcelain finish by adding white demar varnish to your zinc flat-ting, and flow on a coat the same as you would varnish. Each coat should stand two or three days before receiving another.

Sulphate of zinc, or sugar of lead are the only proper dryers for flatting; either of them may be dissolved in water, and stirred into the color, adding it gradually. Flatting or varnishing should be finished each piece before commencing another or you will make bad work. Have a rule and system in your work, if you would have success. We will take a door for instance, for painting which there is an established rule, that is but seldom deviated from.

Rules for Painting Doors

  1. The first important consideration is to have your door thoroughly sand papered and dusted, not forgetting the top, as there will always be found a quantity of dust accumulated, which your paint or varnish brush is apt to gather and distribute on your paint.
  2. After these precautions have been taken, next proceed to divest the door of its trimmings, which is simply and quickly done, requiring the use of a screw driver only; next whittle out a stick of hard wood and shove it through the key or knob-hole, as a temporary handle commence on either of the upper panels, by flowing in your color or varnish around the edges, working it well into the moldings ;
  3. then coat the flat surface of the panel even; first, lay off the work up and down, then cross, smooth and finish up and down with the tip of the brush lightly, wipe up all surplus paint on the moldings, finish remaining panels, on that side of the door, the same. The object is to complete one side before commencing another ; next the edges, cross-pieces and uprights in rotation.
  4. In painting doors, in-doors, for kitchen, dining-room, and sitting room, the panels should be painted in a lighter color than the frame work. The same harmony should be observed in the remaining wood-work, , the door and window casings should be light, the foot or base dark, and the moldings above it light.

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