Dictionarium polygraphicum. The way of Japanning wood or paper.

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.
The people of Japan have a method of making plates, bowls, and other vessels of brown paper, and sometimes of fine saw-dust.

These vessels are very light and strong, after they have been varnished.

The method os making them is as follows:

Boil a good quantity of flips or pieces of brown-paper in common water; mashing them with a stick, while it is boiling, till it is almost become a paste; then take it out of the water, and pound it well in a mortar, till it is come to a Pumice, like rags pounded in the trough of a paper-mill.

Then take gum-arabtek, and make very strong gum-water with common water, a quantity sufficient to cover the paper paste an inch thick: put these together into a large glaz'd pipkin and let them boil, stirring them very well together, 'till you think the paper paste is impregnated with the gum; then having a mould ready to give the paste the form or shape you design it, put it into it.

The mould is made as follows:

As for example, suppose you design to make a thing in the form of a pewter or earthen plate, you must procure a hard piece of wood to be turn'd by a Turner, on one lide of such a form, (i. e. like the back of a plate) and a hole or two made in the middle quite through the wood.

And besides this, another hard piece of wood must be turned, much of the same figure, about the eighth part of an inch less than the former; and, if you please, you may have some little ornament carved or engraven on the wood. Oil these Moulds very well on the sides that are turn'd, continuing to oil them, 'till they are well soaked with oil, then they will be sit for use.

When you are about to make a plate of the paper-paste, take that mould that has the hole in it, and having oil'd it again, set it even upon a strong table, and spread over it some of your paste, as equally as possible, so as to be every where a quarter of an inch thick; then oil the other upper mould very well, and set it as exactly a; may be on your paste, and press it hard down; then set a great weight upon it, and let it stand for 24 hours.

N. B. The hole at the bottom is for the water to pass through, that is press'd or squeez'd out of the paste; and the oiling of the moulds is to prevent the gummed paste from sticking to the wood.

When the paste is dry, it will be as hard as a board, and be sit to lay a ground upon, made with strong size and lamp-black; then let it stand to dry leisurely, and when it is thoroughly dry, then mix ivory black finely ground with the following varnish.

To make the strong JAPAN varnish.
Take an ounce of colophony, and having melted it in a glaz'd pipkin, and having ready 3 ounces of amber, redue'd to a fine powder, sprinkle by little and little into it, adding now and then some spirit of turpentine; when this is melted, sprinkle in 3 ounces of sarcocolla finely powdered, stirring it all the while, and putting in frequently more spirit of turpentine, 'till all is melted; then pour it through a coarse hair-bag, placed between 2 hot boards, and press it gently 'till the clear is receiv'd into a warm glaz'd vessel. Mix ground ivory black with this varnish, and having first warm'd your paper plate, print it in a warm room before the fire, as equally as you can, and let it into a gentle oven, and the next day put it into a hotter oven, and on the third day into one very hot, and let it stand in it 'till the oven is quite cold, and then it will be fit for any use, either for containing liquors cold or hot, and will never change; nor can these sort of vessels be broke without great difficulty.
It is highly probable, that if the moulds were cast of any bard metal, they might do better than if turn'd in wood.

The method of making them of the colour of gold.

Having prepared plates, bowls, or any other vessels, according to the method before directed, or according to this that follows;

Take fine saw-dust, and having dry'd it well, pour on it some turpentine, mix'd with an equal quantity of rosin, and half as much bees-wax: mix them well, and put them to your dry sawfost, stirring all together, 'till the mixture becomes as thick as a paste; then take it off the fire, and having warmed the moulds, spread some of your mixture on that which has a hole in the middle, as equally as possibly can be, and press down the tipper mould upon it; then set it by, let it stand 'till it is cold, and the vessel will be fit for painting.

You may, when the turpentine is melted, put in some sarcocolla finely powdered, to the quantity of half the turpentine, stirring it well, and this will harden it. This composition ought to be made in the open air; because being apt to take fire, it will endanger the house.

But which-ever of the mixtures you make use of, if you would have them look like gold, do them over with size; and when that begins to stick a little to the finger, lay on leaf-gold, tidier pure or the German sort; do this as is directed for GILDing, &c., which see.

But the German gold indeed is apt to turn green, as most of preparations of brass will do; such as those of Bath-metal, and others of the like sort, which look like gold when they are fresh polished, or clean'd every day.

But as they being expos'd to the air, will change or alter to an ugly colour, gold is rather to be chosen; and is durable, 'ever changing, and of a much finer colour than any of the former for a continuance.

And altho' the leaf-gold is tender, and may be subject to rub off; yet the varnish; with which it is covered, will keep it bright and entire.

After the gold has been laid on, and the gold size is dry, and the loose flying pieces brush'd off, then lay on the following varnish to brighten the gold, and preserve it from rubbing.

Varnish for gold and such leaf of metals as imitates gold.

Melt some colophony, and then put in 2 ounces of amber well-pulveriz'd, with some turpentine, as the amber thickens, stirring 't well; then add an ounce of gum-elemi well-powdcred, and some more spirit of turpentine; still keeping the liquor stirring, 'till it is all well mix'd: but take care to use as little spirit of turpentine as you can, because the thicker the varnish is, the harder will it be.

Let this operation be perform'd over a sand-heat in an open glass, and strain it as directed tor the former varnish.

Use this varnish alone, first warming your vessels, made of the paper paste, and lay it on with a painting-brush before the fire; and afterwards harden it by degrees at 3 several times in ovens 1 the first being a flow heat, the next a warmer oven, and the third a very hot one: and these vessels will look like polish'd gold.

You must observe, that those vessels, that are made with saw-dust and the gums, you may for them use a varnish, made of the same ingredients as above, excepting only the gum elemi; and this will dry in the fun, or in a very gentle warmth.

To make these paper, &c. vessels of a red colour with gilded figures on them.

The vessels being prepared as before directed, with broun-paper paste, and after they are dried, &c. as directed for the first, mix some vermilion with the varnish first directed, and use it warm; then stove it, or harden it by degrees in an oven, and it will be extremely bright; or else lay on the first ground with size and vermilion, and with gum-arabick water stick on in proper places some figures, cut out of prints, as little sprigs of flowers, or such like; and when they are dry, do them over with gold size, and let them remain 'till it is a little sticking to the touch. Then lay on the gold, and let that be well clos'd to the gold size, and dried; then if you have a mind to shade any part of the flower, trace over the shady parts on the leaf gold with a fine camel's-hair pencil, and some ox-gall, and then paint upon that with deep Dutch pink; and when that is dry, use the varnish in a warm place, (i. e. that varnish directed for the covering of gold) and when you have done, set it to harden by degrees in an oven.This varnish will secure the leaf gold, or German metal from changing, by keeping the air from it.

The method of silvering these JAPAN vessels.

After the vessels have been made, and are thoroughly dried, do them over with size, and with ground chalk or whiting; let them stand by 'till they are very dry, and then paint them over again with the brightest gold size you can get, (for there is a'great deal of difference in the colour of it; some of it is almost white, and other yellow; the latter is proper for gold, and the former for silver.) When this size is almost dry, lay on the leaf silver, and close it well to the size, brushing off the loose parts, when 'tis dry, with some cotton.

When you lay on your leaf-silver or leaf-gold, keep it free from the air; for the least motion of the air will rumple the leaves, and they will not lie smooth, then use the following varnish to cover the silver.

To make the varnish to cover the silver.

Melt some fine turpentine in a well-glaz'd pipkin, then take an ounce and half of white amber well-pulverizd, put it by degrees into the turpentiie, stirring it well, 'till the amber is all dislblv'd, then put to it half an ounce of sarcocolla powdered, and half an ounce of gum elemi well levigated; pouring in at times more of the turpentine spirit, 'till all is dissolved. Let it be done over a gentle fire, and keep stirring the mixture continually, while it is on the fire.

This varnish will be as white and strong as the former, and must be us'd warm, and is as strong as that which is laid upon gold; and is to be afterwards hardened by degrees in an oven, is the gold varnish, and the vessel will look like polished silver.

Directions in colouring draughts or prints of birds, flowers, &c. in japanning these vessels.

If the prints or drawings of flowers be in black and white, if the center of the flower is rising, you must touch the edges of the lights with a thin tincture of gamboge, and lay on some Dutch pink or gall-stone, over the shades, so as to run into the lights a very little.

This is to be done because the thrums in the middle of flowers are generally yellow; but if of any other colour, as sometimes blue, &c. Sometimes lighter, and sometimes darker; then touch the verges of the lights with a little ultramarine blue, and over the shades either some sanders blue, to run a little into the ultramarine, or else shade with indigo; and some of the white of the print being left void of colour, will then give life and spirit to the colours so dispos'd.

All flowers should be tenderly touch'd in the light, just to give a little glare into the light parts of the colour you would give to the flower-leaves; and if you paint by a natural flower, you will presently see, that on the shady side, you must lay on the most shady part, such a colour as will force the rest to appear forward: but do not daub over the shades with too heavy a colour; let it be such as may be transparent, if possible, and scumble it into the light colour, that was laid on before. On this occasion the pencil must be us'd but lightly, with a very little gum-water in it, and it must be us'd before the colours are quite dry.

In painting the leaves of plants and herbs, regard must be had to the colours of the greens; that sometimes being the chief distinguishing character.

Of greens, verdigrease is the lightest; therefore that colour should be touch'd into the light parts of the leaf, from the place where the lighter parts of the shades end: and then on the shady parts, lay on some sap-green, so as to unite with the verdigrease green; and if the natural leaf should be of a darkish colour, touch the lighter sides of the leaves with a little verdigrease green, and Dutch yellow pink, mixt together, or with a tincture of French berries, but so as to let the verdigrease shine more than the pink.

The leaving the lights in colouring a print, has two advantages, viz.

If the lights be left on this occasion, the whiteness of the paper serves instead of the use of white paint, which is an heavy colour, and would rather confound those that have been prescrib'd to be laid on, than do them any service; but the colours before directed, where there is no white laid on, will shine agree ably into the white of the paper.

I am the more particular in this, because some persons will lay a blue flower, all over with one colour, tho' it be thick enough to hide both the lights and the shades; and then it will look like a penny picture, where there is nothing but a jumble of reds, blues, and greens.

In such pieces of work, be sure to scumble the lights into the shades of every colour, and leave the middle of the lights open on the papers; for as the paper is white of itself, it makes a light.

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