Scientific American 8, 17.2.1866
Messrs. Editors: - Edward Everett, in your paper of Feb. 3d, inquires how to give to black walnut a dark, smooth, dead surface. Let him try the following method: -
Take asphaltum, pulverize it, place it in a har or bottle, pour over it about twice its bulk of turpentine or benzile, put it in a warm place, and shake it from time to time. When dissolved strain it and apply it to the wood with a cloth or stiff brush. If it should make too dark a stain, thin it with turpentine or benzole. This will dry in a few hours.
If it is desired to bring out the grain still more, apply a mixture of boiled oil and turpentine; this is better than oil alone. put no oil with the asphaltum mixture, as it will dry very slowly. When the oil is dry the wood can be polished with the following: - Shellac varnish, of the usual consistency, two parts: boiled oil, one part. Shake it well before using. Apply it to the wood by putting a few drops on a cloth and rubbing brisky on the wood for a few moments. This polish works well on old varnished furniture.