Dictionarium polygraphicum. The method of Japanning wood with black.

Dictionarium Polygraphicum:
Or, The Whole Body of Arts Regularly Digested.
Vol II.
London: Printed for C. Hitch and C. Davis in Pater-noster Row, and S. Austen in St. Paul's Church Yard. MDCCXXXV.
1. The wood being close-grain'd, well-wrought, and smooth, rush it as much smoother as you can, and keep it in some warm place, or not far from a fire; but you must be sure, while you are varnishing, nor to let your work be so near the fire as to burn, scorch, or blister it; for which injuries, if they happen, there is no other remedy but scraping; off, and varnishing the piece anew: therefore it is best to work in a stove, if it can be, because it gives an even and moderate heat to all parts of the room.

2. Then take this following varnish.
Take of the thickest Seed-Lac Varnish 6 ounces, Lamp-Black enough to colour it, mixt in a gallipot, and with it first wash over or varnish your piece three times, letting it dry thoroughly between each time: again, with the same varnish wash it over 3 other several times, letting it thoroughly dry between each time; and rush it smooth between each of them.

3. Take the following varnish. Of the thickest seed-lac varnish 6 ounces, Venice turpentine 1 ounce, and wash over your work with it 6 times, letting it stand 12 hours between the 3 first and the 3 last varnishes.

4. Your work being thus far done, take the following Japan varnish.
Take of the finest seed-lac varnish 6 ounces, of lamp-black a sufficient quantity, mix them, and with that let your work be varnish'd 12 times, standing 12 hours between the first 6, and rhe last 6 washings.
Then let it stand to dry for 6 or 7 days; after which, polish it with Tripoli, and a rag as directed.

5. But in polishing you must work at it, 'till it is almost smooth, and then let it stand by for 2 days; then polish it again almost enough, and again let it be 6 days, and then finish the polishing of it; and then clear it up with oil and lamp-black and so vvill you have a good black Japan, scarce at all inferior to the true Japan.


1. Lay your black as before directed in the 2d and 3d articles proceeding, then take of the Japan varnish following, viz. of the finest seed-lac varnish, and of the best white varnish (see WHITE VARNISH) of each 3 ounces, mix them well, and then tincture it with lamp black, with which varnish your work 7 or 8 times, letting it stand 24 hours between each time to dry, and then repeat it 4 or 5 times more, keeping it but just warm.

2. Then let it stand 2 days, and wash it 6 or 7 times with fine seed-lac varnish only; and after 6 or 7 days polish it as before directed.

3. Is your work should aster a little time grow dull, cloudy, and misty, That may be remedied by a flight polish, and clearing it up afterwards: because this dullness might be caus'd by reason that either your varnish was not yet thoroughly dry, or that it was not laid thick enough on.

4. If it is from the first cause, a new polishing mends it; if it it from the latter cause, you must mend it by 5 or 6 washes more of fine seed-lac varnish, and then polish it again as before.

5. It is also to be noted, that in this and all other Japan works, you must never strike your pencil twice over the same place, because it will make your colours or varnish lie rough and ugly; but every stroke wash a new place, carrying a steady, quick, and even hand, beginning at the middle of the table, and so drawing your brush to either end, 'till the whole piece haj been passed over.

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