John Phin.

The workshop companion. A collection of useful and reliable recipes, rules, processes, methods, wrinkles, and practical hints for the household and the shop online

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Professor J. Henry Sender





For the Household and the Shop.


Copyright secured according to Act of Congress. 1879.

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The following pages have been prepared with very great
care, the chief aim being to give none but recipes which
will not disappoint those who attempt to use them. Sev-
eral of the recipes here given are original, the formulae
having been worked out or improved by the author after
much labor and experiment. In searching for really good
formulae, we have been astonished at the errors which
have crept into many of our standard books of recipes.
For example, in one case the two separate operations of a
well-known process for staining wood are given as distinct,
and, of course useless recipes ! In a seemingly favorite re-
cipe for a washing fluid, the reader is directed to add vine-
gar to the ammonia employed, thus entirely neutralizing it.
In the same way we find a recipe for transferring printed
engravings to wood, in which the alkali (potash) is neutral-
ized with vitriol ! We suppose that in the last case, the
author of this recipe thought that two strong liquids must
be better than one, forgetting or not knowing the fact that
one destroys the effect of the other. A very slight knowl-
edge of technological science would have enabled the com-
pilers of these books to avoid such blunders. In addition
to these defects, however, most of our large books of re-
cipes contain so much that is entirely useless to the
practical man, and so many mere repetitions of the same
recipe in different language and terms, that their cost is
greatly increased while their value instead of being en-
hanced, is actually lessened. We have, therefore, en-
deavored to combine in the following pages all that is
really of practical value to the professional or amateur
mechanic, and at the same time by giving only one or two


of the best recipes under each head, we have nee only sim-
plified the work, but we have brought it to such a size and
price that every one can afford to buy it.

The subjects treated of in this work are arrarged alpha-
betically, so as to avoid the necessity of constant reference
to the index. A few words in regard to the method pursued
in arranging the matter may, however, not be out of place.
As we believe that the greatest advantage will be derived
from bringing together at one place not only the special
instructions in regard to particular processes, but the
general information relating to the materials, etc., em-
ployed, we have in most cases collected all such matter
together under one head. Thus, under the head of " Steel "
will be found not only a description of the different kinds
of steel, but directions for forging, tempering, etc., but as
most persons who consult this book would most likely look
under the head " Tempering " for information on that par-
ticular subject, we have entered the word "Tempering"
and under it give a cross-reference to " Steel." This is the
reason why we have introduced so many cross references,
every one of which was put in after the book was written,
so that the reader'will not be disappointed when he turns
to the heading to which he is directed. Many of our read-
ers, doubtless, know that in too many volumes of this kind,
cross references are inserted merely for the purpose, of
swelling the apparent amount of information contained in
the volume, and very often when the reader turns to the
heading to which he is directed, he finds that the subject
which he is looking for has been omitted. In the present
case, the utmost care has been taken to prevent disappoint-
ment of every kind, and whenever information is promised
we have endeavored to give it fully, accurately, and in the
simplest possible language.

tl . Jr .

New York, Nov. 1879.



Abyssinian Gold.

This compound was so called because it was brought out
in England during the recent war with Abyssinia. It consists
of copper, 90-74 ; zinc, 8 -33. This alloy, if of good materials
and not heated too highly, has a fine yellow color, resembling
gold, and does not tarnish easily.


As those who are engaged in mechanical pursuits are pecu-
liarly liable to accidents, we have introduced under the proper
heads (Burns, Eye, Fires, Poisons) such brief suggestions as
we thought might prove valuable to our readers. For more
minute directions in regard to drowning, severe cuts, gunshot
wounds, sprains, dislocations, etc. , we must refer the reader
to some one of the numerous treatises which have been pub-
lished on this subject*. The following general rules will be
found useful in all cases :

General Rtdes. 1. The first thing to be done in all cases
is to send for a physician. While the messenger is gone,
endeavor to make the patient as comfortable as possible, and
save him from all exertion, remembering that he needs all his
strength. 2. If there be any severe bleeding, stanch the
blood by means of compresses applied to the veins or arteries,
as the case may be. 3. If the patient be insensible, place him
on the ground or floor, lying rather over to or directly on one
side, and with the head slightly raised. Remove necktie,
collar, etc. , and unbutton or split open any clothing pressing

*Oue of the best is that issued by the publishers of this volume. It
is entitled " Wlwt to Do and. How to Po it in Case of Accident." Price
9 cents,


tightly upon the neck, chest, or abdomen. 4. As a restora-
tive, sprinkle the face with cold water, and then wipe it dry.
Some cold water may be given to drink, if the power of swal-
lowing be present, but do not pour stimulants down the
throat, unless there be clear evidence that they are needed.
5. Do not move the patient, unless to get him to a place of
shelter, and when he has reached it, make him lie down and
seek quiet. 6. Allow no useless talking, either to the patient,
or in his presence. 7. Cause the bystanders to move back
and leave a clear space of at least ten feet in every direction
around the patient. One of the best restoratives is fresh air,
and a crowd cuts this off completely.

Stimulants should be avoided, except in cases urgently de-
manding their administration, but they are agents of much
value in the treatment of that condition of collapse and faint-
ness which very commonly occurs after some physical injur-
ies. The symptoms may be briefly sketched : The face is
pale and bedewed with cold or clammy perspiration ; the
surface of the body generally cold ; the pulse flickering, per-
haps hardly perceptible ; the patient complains of the feeling
of faintness, and may have nausea, or even actual sickness ;
the breathing is sighing and irregular, and for a time there
may be actual insensibility. Now under such conditions
there can be no question as to the propriety of inducing re-
action by the administration of stimulants.

Coffee given hot and strong, and in small quantities, is a
safe and useful remedy.

Spirituous liquors are more potent in their effects, and the
good effect is produced more speedily. Brandy is the best
spirit, given in more or less diluted form ; failing this, rum
or wine may be given. If the spirits can be obtained only
from some low grog shop, then whiskey is to be preferred to
brandy or wine, as being less liable to adulteration. In ad-
ministering these articles the best practical rule is to givo u
small quantity at first and watch the effect ; if the surface
becomes warmer, the breathing deeper and more regular, and
the pulse at the wrist more perceptible, then there can be no
question as to the advantage of giving even a little more ; but
if these signs of improvement are wanting if there be in-
crease of insensibility, and deepening of color about the face,
with access of heat of skin withhold alcohol entirely ; it will
but add to the mischief.



This material is so common and yields such beautiful re-
sults when worked, that a few hints in regard to working and
mending it may not be out of place.

There are two distinct chemical compounds to which the
name of alabaster has been applied, the most common being
the sulphate of lime, while that known as oriental alabaster is
a stalagmitic carbonate of lime, compact or fibrous, generally
white, but of all colors from white to brown, and sometimes
veined with colored zones ; it is of the same hardness as
marble, is used for similar purposes, and is wrought by the
same means.

Of the common alabaster (sulphate of lime) there are several
varieties. The finest white alabaster is obtained from Italy,
but very excellent specimens are found near Derby in Eng-
land. (They must not, however, be confounded with Derby-
shire or fluoi- spar which is a calcic fluoride. ) The variegated
kinds are turned into pillars, vases and various ornamental
forms, the tools usod being very simple, namely, points for
roughing out, flat chisels for smoothing, and one or two
common firmer chisels, ground convex and concave for
curved lines. After being brought to the proper shape, the
work is polished as follows : Take a piece of very fine, soft
sandstone, and apply it with water to the work while in quick
motion, moving the stone all over until there is worked up a
body of mud. Then take a clean rag and work this sludge
well on the alabaster, after which wash the work clean.
Apply a rag charged with putty powder and water until there
is a gloss upon the work, after which apply another rag
charged with a mixture of putty powder, soap and water for
a short time, and wipe the alabaster dry. If carefully per-
formed the polish will be very beautiful.

Alabaster readily absorbs grease and dirt, and as it is dif-
ficult to clean, great care should be taken to prevent it from
coming in contact with anything that will stain it. Dust,
etc., may be removed by means of pure water to which a little
ammonia has been added. Grease and similar stains may be
removed by allowing the alabaster to lie for some time in
contact with a paste of powdered chalk moistened with a solu-
tion of potash or soda Soap should never be used for clean-
ing alabaster, as it leaves a greasy stain, Ualike marble,


alabaster is not affected by common acids, and therefor they
may be used for extracting stains of common ink, etc.

The proper cement for uniting pieces of alabaster is plaster
of paris made into a cream with water as for making ordinary
casts. The surfaces to be joined must be moistened with


This familiar liquid requires no description, but it may not
be out of place to caution our readers that failure in the mak-
ing of varnishes, etc. , very often arises from the use of alcohol
which by standing has lost its strength. Ordinary alcohol is
a mixture of alcohol and water, and as the alcohol evaporates
more readily than the water, when the mixture is allowed to
stand for any length of time it becomes reduced in strength,
that is to say the proportion of alcohol becomes less and that
of the water more.


In making alloys, especially where the component metals
vary greatly in fusibility and volatility, the following rules
must be observed :

1. Melt the least fusible, oxidable and volatile first, and
then add the others heated to their point of fusion or near it.
Thus if we desire to make an alloy of exactly one part copper
and three zinc, it will be impossible to do so by putting these
proportions of the metals in a crucible and exposing tho
whole to heat. Much of the zinc would fly off in vapor be-
fore the copper was melted. First melt the copper and add
the zinc which has been melted in another crucible. Tho.
zinc should be in excess, as some of it will be lost anyway,

2. Some alloys, as copper and zinc, copper and arsenic,
may be formed by exposing heated plates of the least fusiblo
metal to the vapor of the other. In making brass in tho
large way, thin plates of copper are dissolved as it were in
melted zinc until the proper proportions have been obtained.

3. The surface of all oxidable metals should be covered
with some protecting agent, as tallow for very fusible ones ;
resin for lead and tin ; charcoal for zinc, copper, etc.

4. Stir the metal before casting, and, if possible, when
casting, with a whitewood stick ; this is much better for the
purpose than an iron rod,


5. If possible, add a small portion of old alloy to the new
one. If the alloy is required to make sharp castings, and
strength is not a very great object, the proportion of old alloy
to the new should be increased. In all cases a new or
thoroughly well cleaned crucible should be used.

Albata. Known also as "British plate," "electrum," etc.
It is a favorite material for making articles that are to be
electrotyped. The best proportions of the ingredients are
Copper, 20 ;. nickel, 4 ; zinc, 16.

Alloy for filling holes in Iron. Lead, 9 ; antimony, 2 ', bis-
muth, 1. This alloy is sometimes called "mock iron;" it
expands in cooling, so that when a hole is filled with the
melted alloy, the plug is not loose when it is cold.

Alloy for Uniting Iron, Steel and Brass. The following com-
position may be cast on steel or iron, and will adhere firmly
thereto. Its rate of expansion is nearer that of iron and steel
than any similar compound. When cast around iron or steel
therefore, it closes firmly around them and does not become
loose by alternate expansion and contraction. It consists of
tin, 3 ; copper, 39 ; zinc, 7J. Since the last metal is partly
converted into vapor at a high temperature, the above pro-
portion may be slightly increased.

Aluminium Bronze. Copper, 90 ; aluminium, 10. Resem-
bles gold in color, and is very strong and durable.

Aluminium Silver. Copper, 70 ; nickel, 23 ; aluminium, 7.
Has a beautiful color and takes a high polish.

Amalgam for Silvering the insides of Globes, etc. 1. Lead,
2 oz. ; tin, 2 oz. ; bismuth, 2 oz. ; mercury, 4 oz. Melt the first
three and add the mercury. The glass being well cleaned,
is carefully warmed and the melted amalgam is poured in and
the vessel turned round until all parts are coated. At a cer-
tain temperature this amalgam adheres readily to glass.

2. Bismuth, 8 ; lead, 5 ; tin, 3 ; mercury, 8. Use as directed
for No. 1.

Amalgam for Electrical Machines. 1. Tin, 1 oz. ; zinc, 1 oz. ;
mercury, 2 oz.

2. BceUger's Amalgam. Zinc, 2 oz. ; mercury, 1 oz. At a
certain temperature (easily found by experiment) it powders
readily, and should be kept in a tightly corked bottle. Said
to be very good,

Cock Metal. Copper, 10 ; lead, 4, Used for casting cocks.
Amalgam, Dissolve 3 oz. sulphate of copper i


water and add 1 oz. sulphuric acid. Hang clean iron scraps ill
the solution until the copper has fallen down in fine powder.
"Wash this powder, moisten it with a solution of protonitrato
of mercury, and then to each ounce of the powder add 2| oz.
mercury, and rub up in a mortar. When thoroughly mixed,
>vash well with hot water. This ainalgam is easily moulded,
(adheres readily to glass, porcelain and some metkls, takes o-
line polish, and in 10 to 12 hours it becomes so hard that it
\vill scratch gold or tin. "When heated it softens, and may bo
easily moulded, As it docs not contract on cooling, it lias
l>eeu Used by dentists for filling teeth, and it might be used
to good advantage for inlaying lines in dark wood.

Pi'^tonitrate of mercury is easily made by dissolving
meroviry in nitric acid.

Babbitt's Anti- Attrition Metal for lining Boxes. First melt
four pounds of copper, and, when melted, add, by degrees,
twelve pounds best quality Banca tin ; then add eight pounds
regulus of antimony, and then twelve pounds more of tin,
while the composition is in a melted state. After the copper
is melted and four or five pounds of tin have been added,
the heat should be lowered to a dull red heat, in order to
prevent oxidation ; then add the remainder of the metal.
In melting the composition it is better to keep a small
quantity of powdered charcoal in the pot, on the surface of
the metal.

The above composition is made in the first place, and is
called hardening ; for lining work take one pound of the
hardening and melt with two pounds Banca tin, which pro-
duces the very best lining metal. So that the proportions
for lining metal are four pounds copper, eight regulus of anti-
mony and ninety-six pounds tin.

The object in first preparing the hardening is economy, for
when the whole is melted together there is a great waste of
metal, as the hardening is melted at a much less degree of
lieat than the copper and antimony separately.

Belgian Antifriction Metals. For work exposed to great
heat : Copper, 17 ; zinc, 1 ; tin, 0'5 ; lead, 0'25.

For parts liable to much concussion : Copper, 20 ; zinc, G ;
tin, 1.

For parts exposed to much friction : Copper, 20 ; tin, 4 ;
Antimony, 0*5 ; lead, 0'25.

Cheap Antifriction Metal. Equal parts of zinc and lead


melted together, and well stirred at the time of pouring into
the box or bearing.

Fusible Metals. These are chiefly used as a means of amuse-
ment, spoons formed of them melting readily in hot tea or
coffee. They have also been used to make plugs for steam
boilers, the intention being that they should melt and allow
the steam to escape when the pressure became too great. No.
4 has been used for making casts of coins and medals, and the
beautiful French cliche moulds were made of it.

1. Newton's fusible metal : Bismuth, 8 ; lead, 5 ; tin, 3.
Melts with the heat of boiling water.

2. Onion's metal : Lead, 3 ; tin, 2 ; bismuth, 5. Melts at
11)7 degrees, Fahrenheit.

3. Wood's fusible metal : Bismuth, 15 ; lead, 8 ; tin, 4 ;
cadmium, 3. Melts between 150 and 160 deg. Fahr.

4. Cliche metal : Bismuth, 8 ; tin, 4 ; lead, 5 ; antimony, 1.
The metals should be repeatedly melted together and poured
ir to drops or granulated, until they are well mixed.

Pe aiter. Tin, 4 ; lead 1. Old articles of pewter form
therefore, a very fine metal for solder.

Queen's Metal. Tin, 100 ; antimony, 8 ; copper, 4 ; bis-
muth, 1. Resembles silver in appearance.

Speculum Metal. Copper, 32 ; tin, 15 ; arsenic, 2. First
molt the copper, and then add the tin which should have
been melted in a separate crucible. Mix thoroughly and add
the arsenic.

Type Metal. Lead, 44 ; antimony 8 ; tin, 1.


Amber is principally obtained from the shores of the Baltic,
but it is also found in other parts of Europe. The most es-
teemed is the opaque variety, resembling the color of a lemon,
and sometimes called fat amber ; the transparent pieces are
very brittle and vitreous. The German pipe makers, by
whom it is principally used, employ thin scraping tools, and
they burn a small lamp or place a little pan of burning char-
coal beneath the amber to warm it slightly whilst it runs in
the lathe. This prevents it from chipping out, but if it is too
highly heated by friction it is apt to fly to pieces.

The finer specimens of amber, which are sometimes formed
into gems and ornaments, are ground on lead plates made to
revolve in the lathe, any of the usual abrasive substances


(sand or emery) being used. The facets are then finished by
means of a whetstone, and polished with chalk mixed with
water or vegetable oil. The final finish is given by means of
flannel. During the polishing process the amber becomes
very warm and highly electric, and if this heating goes too
far it will fly in. pieces. The workmen, therefore, cool it off
every now and theru

Amber, to Unite Broken Pieces. Coat with linseed oil the
surfaces that are to* be joined ; hold the oiled parts carefully
over a charccal fire, a few hot cinders or a gaslight, being
careful to cover up all the rest of the object loosely with
paper. "When the oiled parts have begun to feel the heat so
as to be sticky, press and clamp them together and keep them
so until nearly cold. Only that part where the edges are to
be united must be warmed, and even that with care lest the
form or polish of the other parts should be disturbed ; the
part where the joint occurs generally requires to be repolished.

Imitation Amber. Of late, an imitation of amber, which
cannot be distinguished frpin the genuine article by inspec-
tion, has made its appearance on the market. It contains
copal, camphor, turpentine, and other ingredients, becomes
electric by friction, and is used for manufacturing mouth-
pieces for pipes, cigar-holders, ornaments, etc. The com-
position may be distinguished from genuire amber by its
lower melting point, as it quickly softens and melts when laid
on a hot plate, while amber requires a comparatively high
heat ; and further by the action of ether, which softens the
imitation until it may be scraped away with the finger-nail,
while true amber is absolutely insoluble in cold ether.

Annealing and Hardening.

For the best methods of annealing, hardening and temper-
ing steel, see article STEEL in this volume. Several valuable
facts in regard to glass are alsc given under GLASS.

Copper, brass, German silver and similar metals are hard-
ened by hammering, rolling or wire drawing, and are softened
by being heated red hot and plunged in water. Copper, by
being alloyed with tin, may be made so hard that cutting in-
struments may be made of it. This is the old process of
hardening copper, which is so often claimed to be one of the
lost arts, and which would be very useful if we did not


in steel a material which is far less costly and far better fitted
for the making of edge tools.

Antiseptic Preparations.

Specimens of natural history intended for subsequent ex-
amination and dissection are best preserved in alcohol, but as
this is expensive, a saturated solution of 100 parts of alum
and 2 parts of saltpetre may be used with good effect. For
preserving stuffed specimens the following are generally
used :

Arsenical Soap. This is the most powerful preservative in
use. It is a strong poison, but is invaluable for preserving
skins of birds and beasts that are to be stuffed. It is made
thus : Powdered arsenic, 2 oz. ; camphor, 5 oz. ; white soap,
2 oz. ; salt of tartar (sub-carbonate of potash), 6 drachms ;
powdered lime, 2 drachms. Cut the soap in very thin slices
and heat gently with a small quantity of water, stirring all
the time with a stick. When thoroughly melted add the salt
of tartar and the lime. When these are well mixed together
add the arsenic, which must be carefully incorporated with
the other ingredients. Take the mixture off the tire, and while
cooling add the camphor, previously reduced to powder by
rubbing it with a little alcohol. When finished the soap
should be of the consistence of thick cream and should be
kept in a tightly stopped bottle.

Arsenical Preservative Powder. This is dusted over moist
skins and flesh, and preserves almost any animal matter from
putrefaction. It is thus made : Arsenic, 4 oz. ; burnt alum,
4 oz. ; tanner's bark, 8 oz ;. mix and grind together to a very
fine powder.


Beeswax is obtained by washing and melting the honey-
comb. The product is yellow and is freed from its impurities,
and bleached by melting it with hot water or steam, in a
tinned copper or wooden vessel, letting it settle, running it
off into an oblong trough with a line of holes in its bottom,
so as to distribute it upon horizontal wooden cylinders, mado
to revolve, half immersed in cold water, and then exposing
the thin ribbons or films thus obtained, to the blanching
action of air, light, and moisture. For this purpose the rib-
bons are laid upon long webs of canvas stretched horizontally
between standards, two feet above the surface of a sheltered


/ , *

field, having a free exposure to the sunbeams. Hete they
are frequently turned over, then covered by nets to prevent
their being blown away by winds, and watered from time to
time, like linen upon the grass field in the old method of
bleaching. Whenever the color of the wax seems stationary,
it i.s collected, re-melted, and thrown again into ribbons upon
the wet cylinder, in order to expose new surfaces to the bleach-
ing operation. By several repetitions of these processes, i/

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Online LibraryJohn PhinThe workshop companion. A collection of useful and reliable recipes, rules, processes, methods, wrinkles, and practical hints for the household and the shop → online text (page 1 of 16)