Scientific American 4, 24.7.1869
In speaking of enamel it must be understood as polished paint on the surface of woodwork, such as doors, architraves, window shutters, etc. Enameling and polishing is an art which requires the exercise of the greatest care and patience in its execution. A little carelessness or inattention at the finish may undo the work of days. The work will not bear any hurry, either in the material or labor, but must go through its regular course, have its proper time to darken between each coat and process; and the rubbing down must be patiently and gently done—heavy pressure will only defeat the end in view. Great care should be taken in the selection of the pumice stone, both lump and ground, as the slightest particle of grit or hard pressure will scratch, and thus cause hours of labor to be thrown away.
In describing the material used for the purpnse, we shall only describe that which we consider best suited for getting up the white or light-tinted enamel. There are several kinds of filling up color used and sold by the colormen, but most of them are of a dark color, not suited for light work, as they require so many coats of paint afterward, to get a pure body of color that it defeats its own object. In practice, we find it best to fill up from the first with the same tint of color we intend to finish with, thus forming a solid body of pure color, which will bear much rubbing down without being shady. For all dark grounds, which have to be finished a dark color, the black or dark filling is the best.
The tools and material required are as follows, viz:
1. White lead ground in turpentine, and best white lead in oil.
2. A clear, quick, and hard-drying varnish, such as best copal, Mandens Brothers' white soburg, and white enamel varnish, etc., etc.
3. Ground and lump pumice stone, or putty powder.
4. Rotten stone, ground in water or oil.
5. Some white felt, from a quarter to a half inch in thickness, and of the best quality.
6.Several flat wooden blocks, of various sizes and forms, mailable for gutting into corners and moldings; these must be covered with the felt on the side you intend to use.
7. Two or three bosses, made with cotton wool and covered with silk.
8. Sponge, and wash or chamois leather.
In order to simplify the description we will taken plain panel to work upon. If it is new, give it two coats of oil color, mixed in the ordinary way; now mix the white lead ground in turps with only a sufficient quantity of varnish to bind it with, thinning ton proper consistency with turps. It is as well to add a little of the ordinary white lead, ground in oil, as it helps to prevent cracking. Give the panel four or five coats of this mixture, leaving a sufficient interval between each coat to allow it to dry well. Let it stand for a few days, until it is hard enough to rub down. When it is ready, you may rub it down, first with a soft piece of lump pumice stone and water, to take off the rough parts. Now use the felt and ground pumice stone and cut it down, working the hand in a circular form or manner. You will require to exercise much care and patience to rub it down to a level surface and without scratches. When you have got it down level, if it is scratched or not sufficiently filled up, give it one or two more coats, laying it on as smoothly as yon can, and rub down as before. If done properly, it will now be perfectly smooth, level, and free from scratches; wash well down, and be careful to clean off all grit or loose pumice stone. Now mix flake white from the tube with the before-named varnish, till it is of the consistency of cream. Give one coat of this; when dry give another, adding more varnish to it. Now, let this dry hard, the time for which will of course depend upon the drying qualities of the varnish; some will polish in eight or nine days, but it is much the best to let it stand as long as you possibly can, as the harder it is the brighter and more enduring will be the polish. When it is sufficiently hard, use the felt and very finely ground pumice stone and water; with this cut down till you get it perfectly smooth; now let it stand for a couple of days to harden the surface, then take rotten stone either in oil or water, use this with the felt for a little while, then put some upon the surface of the silk boss, and gently rub the panel with it, renewing the rotten stone as required. It is always better to rub in a circle than straight up and down, or across. Continue this until you have got it to a fine equal surface all over; it will begin to polish as you go on, but it will be a dull sort of polish. Clean off—if the rotten stone is in oil, clean off with dry flour; if in water, wash off with sponge and leather, taking care that you wash it perfectly clean, and do not scratch. You will now, after having washed your hands perfectly clear, use a clean damp chamois leather, holding it in the left hand, using the right to polish with, keeping it clean by frequently drawing it over the damp leather. Now use the ball of the right hand press gently upon the panel, and draw your hand forward or toward you; if you do this properly, it will bring up a bright polish on the work, and every time you bring your hand forward a sharp shrill sound or whistle will be produced, ff this is the case, you may be sure you are in the right path. Continue this until the whole surface is one even bright polish. It will be some time, and will require much practice, before you will be able to do this in the best manner; but with perseverance and practice the difficulty will soon vanish. A soft smooth skin is best for polishing; if it is very dry and hard it is apt to scratch. The latter part of these instructions referring to the polishing, will of course, apply to polishing up on imitation woods and marbles, or on any polishing varnish, using the varnish pure, of course.
- London Building News.