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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glass, care being taken not to mix any foreign substance with
it. A few drops of essence of lavender are then poured on
the soot and the mixture pounded with a spatula. This done,
just sufficient copal varnish is added to give the composition
a proper. -thickness, so as to prevent it spreading when ap-
plied. The varnish thus prepared is put on by means of a
very fine brush. To secure brilliancy the dial is drioJL at a
slow heat, by passing it lightly over a spirit flame, the reverse
side of the dial being, of course, the only part exposed to the
flame. This composition must be made in quantities large
enough for. present use only, as it dries very rapidly and
cannot be utilized afterwards. To secure good results this
process requires some experience, which can only be obtained
by careful experiments. The painting especially requires a
certain aptitude and lightness of hand, which may, however,
soon be attained by strict attention.

This process, which gives very excellent results, is evi-
dently applicable to a great variety of purposes.

Paper.

There are so many purposes to which paper is applied that
a small volume might be filled with a description of them.
The following are those which will probably prove most
useful to the amateur :

Adhesive Paper. Paper in sheets, half of which are



102 TfiE WORKSHOP COMPANION".

gummed on both sides, and the other half on one side, and
divided into strips and squares of different sizes by perfora-
tions, like sheets of postage stamps, are very convenient in
many ways the doubly-gummed answering for fixing draw-
ings in books, labels on glass, etc. It is stated that the
mixture by which it is coated is prepared by dissolving six
parts of glue, previously soaked for a day in cold water, two
parts of sugar, and three parts of gum arabic, in twenty-four
parts of water, by the aid of heat.

Barometer Paper. This is paper impregnated with a so-
called sympathetic ink, which alters its color by a change of
temperature. The most delicate substance to accomplish
this is sulpliocyanide of cobalt, originally proposed by Grotthus.
This is prepared by adding an alcoholic solution of potassium
Bulphocyanide to an aqueous solution of cobaltous sulphate,
until no more potassium sulphate separates. The whole is
transferred to a filter, and the residue on the filter (potassium
sulphate) washed with alcohol. The dilute filtrate may be
used as it is, for impregnating paper, or it may be concen-
trated by very careful evaporation at as low a temperature as
possible. The salt may be obtained crystalline by removing
the alcoholic menstruum in the vacuum of an air-pump. It
forms violet columns, soluble in water with red color. Paper
impregnated with the alcoholic solution, or on which tracings
have been made with the latter, turns reddish in dry air, but
assumes a blue color at the slightest elevation of temperature.

Creases, To Take out of Draining Paper or Engravings. Lay
the paper or engraving, face downwards, on a sheet of smooth,
unsized Avhite paper : cover it with another sheet of the same,
very slightly damped, and iron with a moderately warm flat
iron.

Drawing Paper, To Mount. Sometimes it is difficult to get
a drawing on a sheet of paper of the ordinary sizes when
utretched upon a board, by reason of the waste edges used to
l;ecure the paper firmly ; and again, in stiff papers, such as
the "Eggshell," so called, ordinaiy mucilage does not pos-
sess sufficient strength, and glue has to be substituted, to the
annoyance of the draughtsman. The following is a very
simple way of obviating these difficulties : First moisten the
paper thoroughly ; then lay it upon the board in proper
position, and, with blotting paper, remove most of the moist-
ure for a distance of half an inch or thereabouts from the



THE WORKSHOP COMPANION. 103

; then take strips of Manila paper (not too stiff) about
one and a half inches wide, covered on one side with niucil-
age, and paste them down on both paper and board, allowing
them to lui) on the edges of the sheet about half an inch.
Koop the middle of the sheet thoroughly wet until the
mucilage on the edges has sot, when the whole sheet may ba
allowed to dry gradually. It will be found that this method
is quicker and surer than any other, and is of great use where
it is necessary to color on mounted paper.

Glass-Paper. Paper coated with glass is known by this
name just as paper coated with fine sharp sand is called sand-
paper, and paper coated with emery is called emery paper.
Paper or a cheap cloth is coated with thinnish glue, dusted
heavily and evenly with glass-powder of the proper fineness,
and allowed to become nearly dry. The superfluous powder
is then shaken off, the sheets are pressed to make them even,
and afterwards thoroughly dried.

The objection to ordinary glass-paper is that it is easily
injured by heat and moisture. If the glue be mixed with a
little bichromate of potassa before it is applied to the cloth,
and exposed for some time to strong bright sunshine while it
is drying, it will become insoluble in water.

The glue may also be rendered insoluble by the process of
tanning. The paper or cloth is first soaked in a solution of
taimic acid and dried. The glue is then applied, the
powdered glass dusted on, and over it is dusted a little tannic
acid. If the glue be not very moist, it should be damped by
means of an atomiser, a very cheap form of which is figured
in The Young Scientist, vol. 2. The sheets are then slowly
dried and will be found to resist moisture very thoroughly.

Paper, To Prepare for Varnishing. To prevent the ab-
sorption of varnish, and injury to any color or design on the
paper, it is necessary to first give it two or three coats of
size. The best size for white or delicate colors is made by
dissolving a little isinglass in boiling water, or by boiling
some clean parchment cuttings until they form a clear solu-
tion ; then strain through a piece of clean muslin. It may be
applied with a clean soft paint brush, the first coat, especially,
very lightly. The best brush for this purpose is the kind
used by varnishers for giving the finishing flow coats of
varnish, wide, flat and soft ; or where there is much danger
of injuring a design, and the paper article will allow of it, it



104 THE WORKSHOP COMPANION.

is a good plan for the first coat, to pour the solution into a
Vide, flat dish, and pass the paper through it once, and back
again, and then hang it up to dry. For JOBS delicate pur-
poses, a little light-colored glue, soaked over night in. enough
water to cover it, and then dissolved by heat, adding hot
water enough to dilute it sufficiently, will make an excellent
sizing.

Pollen Powder, or Paper Powder. Boil white paper or
paper cuttings in water for five hours. Pour off the water,
pound the pulp in a wedgwood mortar, and pass through a
tine sieve. This powder is employed by the bird stuffers to
dust over the legs of some birds, and the bills of others, to
give them a powdery appearance ; also to communicate the
downy bloom to rough-coated artificial fruit, and other pur-
poses of a similar nature ; it makes excellent pounce.

Tracing Paper. Tracing paper may be purchased so
cheaply that it is hardly worth while to make it ; and there
is a very fine, tough kind now in market which may be
mounted and colored almost like drawing paper. Those who
desire to prepare some for themselves will find that the follow-
ing directions give a good result. The inventor of the pro-
cess received a medal and premium from the Society of Arts
for it.

Open a quire of tough tissue paper, and brush the first
sheet with a mixture of equal parts of mastic varnish and oil
of turpentine. Proceed Avith each sheet similarly and dry
them on lines by hanging them up singly. As the process
goes on, the under sheets absorb a portion of the varnish, and
require less than if single sheets were brushed separately.
The paper, when dry, is quite light and transparent, and may
readily be written on with ink.

Transfer papei\ This is useful for copying patterns, draw-
ings, etc. Designs for scroll saws may be copied very neatly
by means of it. It is easily made by rubbing a thin but
tough unglazed paper with a mixture of lard and lampblack.
The copy is made by laying a sheet of the transfer or, as it
is sometimes called, manifold paper, over a clean sheet of
drawing or writing paper, and over it the drawing to be
copied. The Hues of the drawing are then carefully traced
with a fine but blunt point, and the pressure along the lines
transfers to the clean paper underneath a perfect copy. To
keep the under side of the drawing or pattern clean, a sheet



THE WORKSHOP COMPANION. 105

of \issue paper may be placed between it and the transfer
paper.

Water Stains, To Remove from Engravings or Paper. Fill a
largo vessel with pure water and dip the engraving in, waving
it backward and forward until thoroughly wet. Then spread
a si loot of clean white paper on a drawing board, lay the en-
graving on it and fasten both to the board with drawing pins.
Expose it to bright sunshine, keeping it nioist until the stains
disappear, which will not be long. This is simply a modifi-
cation of the old system of bleaching linen.

Waxed Paper. Paper saturated with wax, paraffin or
stearin is very useful for wrapping up articles which should
be kept dry and not exposed to the air. Place a sheet of
stout paper on a heated iron plate, and over this place the
sheets of unglazed paper tissue paper does very well that
are to be waxed. Enclose the wax or paraffin in a piece of
muslin, and as it melts spread it evenly over the paper.

Patina.

An imitation of patina for bronze objects of all kinds can
be produced by preparing a paint of carbonate of copper
and any light alcoholic varnish, and applying it to the object
with a -Crush. This green color penetrates the smallest re-
cesses, and has, when dry, the appearance of patina. Car-
bonate of copper gives a blue patina, verdigris a light green,
and intermediate shades of color can be obtained by mixing
the two.

Patterns To Trace.

There are various methods of making copies of patterns on
paper, the simplest perhaps being the use of the tracing
paper described on another page.

When a few duplicates of patterns for embroidery are re-
quired, they may be very easily made by hand as follows :

The drawing is made upon paper ; then lay the drawing
upon an even cloth, and perforate all the lines with a tine
needle, close and even. Then take finely powdered charcoal,
three parts, resin, one part in fine powder ; mix and tie it in
a piece of porous calico, so that it forms a dusting bag. Lay
the perforated drawing upon your material, hold down with
one hand, rub the dusting-bag over the drawing ; the dust
will fall through the holes and form the drawing on the ma-
terial. Bemove the paper drawing, lay blotting-paper over



106 THE WORKSHOP COMPANION.

the dast pattern, and go over it with a warm flat iron
The heat will melt the resin and fix the drawing on the
material.

Pencils as a Substitute for Ink.

Aniline pencils have been in use for some time, and have
given good satisfaction, but the following is said to give even
better results. Pencils made after the following formula
give a very black writing, capable of being reproduced by
the copying machine, and which does not fade on exposure
to light. The mass for these pencils is prepared as follows :
10 pounds of the best logwood are repeatedly boiled in 10
gallons of water, straining each time. The liquid is then
evaporated down till it weighs 10 pounds, and is then
allowed to boil in a pan of stoneware or enamel. To the
boiling liquid, nitrate of oxide of chrome is added in small
quantities, until the bronze-colored precipitate formed at first
is redissolved with a deep blue coloration. This solution is
then evaporated in the water bath down to a sirup, with
which is mixed well kneaded clay in the proportion of 1 part
of clay to 3 of extract. A little gum tragacanth is also
added to obtain a proper consistence.

It is absolutely necessary to use the salt of chrome in the
right proportion. An excess of this salt gives a disagreeable
appearance to the writing, while if too little is used the black
matter is not sufficiently soluble.

The other salts of chrome cannot be used in this prepara-
tion, as they would crystallize, and the writing would scale
off as it dried.

The nitrate of oxide of chrome is prepared by precipitating
a hot solution of chrome alum with a suitable quantity of
carbonate of soda. The precipitate is washed till the filtrato
is free from sulphuric acid. The precipitate thus obtained
is dissolved in pure nitric acid, so as to leave a little still
undissolved. Hence the solution contains no free acid,
which would give the ink a dirty red color. Oxalic acid and
caustic alkalies do not attack the writing. Dilute nitrio
acid reddens, but does not obliterate the characters.

Pencil Marks To Fix.

To fix Pencil Marks so they will not rub out, take well-
skimmed milk and dilute with an equal bulk of waiur.
Wash the pencil marks (whether writing or drawing) with



THE WOEKSHOP COMPANION. 107

this liquid, using a soft, flat camel-hair brush, and avoiding
all rubbing. Place upon a flat board to dry.

Pewter.

The principal constituents of pewter are lead and tin ; the
proportions of the two metals depending somewhat on the
use to which the alloy is put. The best contains but 16
to 20 per cent, of lead. Of this plates au;l dishes are made,
which look like block tin, und can be brightly polished by
rubbing. The addition of more lead cheapens the com-
modity, and gives it a dull bluish appearance. In France
pewter vessels for wine and vinegar contain 18 per cent, of
lead. It has been found that a larger proportion of that
metal in utensils for this purpose \s liable to result in the
formation, in the liquid, of the poisonous acetate or sugar of
lead.

A little copper added in making pewter hardens the com-
poiuid and renders it sonorous, so that toy trumpets and
other rude musical instruments can be made of it. If the
copper is replaced by antimony, hardness and a silvery lustre
are the result. If the contents of the melting pot are stirred
with a strip half of xiuc and half of tin, or if a lump of zinc
is allowed to float on the melted metal during the casting,
the vaporized spelter seems to protect the fluid mass from
oxidation, and prevents the formation of dross. Hence it is
said to " cleanse " the mass.

Jewellers use polishers and laps of pewter, and sheets of
the article are to some extent used for cheap engraving,
music notes, or other figures being stamped upon it instead
of being cut with a burin or graver. The ease with which it
melts causes it to be employed by tinsmiths and tinkers for
solder. Care must be taken not to set pewter dishes, mugs,
spoons, lamps, etc. , on stoves or other hot bodies, as, if left
for any time, they are liable to settle- into shapeless lumps.

Pillows for the Sick Room.

Save all your scraps of writing paper, old envelopes, old
notes of no use for keeping, old backs of notes, etc. Cut
them in strips about one-half inch wide and two inches long,
and curl them well with an old penknife. Make a pillow case
of any materials you have ; fill it with your curled paper mixed
with a few shreds of flannel. Stuff it quite full, sew up the
end and cover as you please, These pillows are invaluable.



108 THE WORKSHOP COMPANION.

4

in cases of fever, as they keep constantly cool and allow a
circulation of air.

Plaster of Paris.

Plaster of Paris is a well known material, obtained by ex-
posing tlie purer varieties of gypsum or alabaster to a heat
a little above that of boiling water, when it becomes a fine,
white dry powder. Sometimes the gypsum is first reduced
to a fine powder and then heated in iron pans, and in this
case the operation is sometimes called ''boiling" plaster,
because the escape of the water, with which crystalline gyp-
sum is always combined, gives to the fine powder the appear-
ance of boiling. Plaster of Paris, after being boiled, rapidly
deteriorates when exposed to the air, consequently when
plaster is required for making cements or for other purposes
for which a good article is needed, care must be taken' to
secure that which is good and freshly boiled. The Italian
image makers always use a superior quality of plaster, and it
may generally be obtained from them in small quantity.

The employment of gypsum, in casting, and in all cases
where impressions are required, is very extensive. A thin

a> of 1 part gypsum and 2J parts water is made ; this pulp
ens by standing. The hardening of good, well-burnt
gypsum is effected in one to two minutes, and more quickly
in a moderate heat. Models are made in this substance for
galvano-plastic purposes, for metallic castings, and for ground
works in porcelain manufacture. The object from which the
cast is to be taken is first well oiled to prevent the adhesion
of the gypsum. "When greater hardness is required a email
quantity of lime is added ; this addition gives a very marble-
like appearance, and the mixture is much employed in archi-
tecture, being then known as gypsum-marble or stucco.
The gypsum is generally mixed with lime water, to which
sometimes a solution of sulphate of zinc is added, After
drying, the surface is rubbed down with pumice stone,
colored to represent marble, and polished with Tripoli and
olive oil. Artificial scagliola work is largely composed of
gypsum.

There are several methods of hardening gypsum. One of
the oldest consists in mixing the burnt gypsum with lime-
water or a solution of gum arabic. Another, yielding very
good results, is to mix the gypsum with a solution of 20



THE WORKSHOP COMPANION. 109

ounces of alum in 6 pounds of water ; this plaster hardens
completely in 15 to 30 minutes, and is largely used under
the name of marble cement. Parian cement is gypsum
hardened by means of borax, 1 part borax being dissolved in
9 parts of water, and the gypsum treated with the solution.
Still better results are obtained by the addition to this solu-
tion of 1 part of cream of tartar.

The hardening of gypsum with a water-glass solution is
found difficult, and no better results are obtained than with
ordinary gypsum. Fissot obtains- artificial stone from gyp-
sum by burning and immersions in water, first for half a
minute, after which it is exposed to the air and again for two
to three minutesj when the block appears as a hardened stone.
It would seem from this method that the augmentation in
hardness is due to a new crystalization. Hardened gypsum,
treated with stearic acid or with paraffine, and polished,
much resembles meerschaum ; the resemblance may be in-
creased by a coloring solution of gamboge and dragon's
blood, to impart a faint red-yellow tint. The cheap artificial
meerschaum pipes are manufactured by this method.

Poisons.

Many of the substances used in the arts are highly poison-
ous. Indeed, some of the most virulent poisons are em-
ployed in very common operations. Thus arsenic is used for
coloring brass ; the strong acids are used in every machine
shop and foundry, and even prussic acid may be occasionally
produced during the employment of prussiate of potash.
The extremely poisonous cyanide of potassium is used by
every photographer and electroplater. Even into the house-
hold, poisons too frequently find their way. Our matches aro
tipped with a strong poison, and housekeepers are often too
ready with poison for the destruction of vermin. Phos-
phorous, arsenic and corrosive sublimate, are too frecjrently ;
tljus used. Paris green also we have actually seen used for j
the destruction of cockroaches in pantries, and corrosive
sublimate is in Common use as a poison for bed-bugs. As a
bug poison it is generally dissolved in alcohol or whiskey,
and the odor and taste have sometimes proved a strong
temptation to persons who did not fully realize its dangerous
character. All bottles containing such mixtures should
(herefore be carefully labelled, "POISON," in large letters,



110 THE WOBKSHOP COMPANION.

and \v.nen emptied they should either be broken, or very
carefully cleansed, since accidents have arisen from careless
persons pouring drinkable liquids into bottles that have
e mtained solutions of corrosive sublimate, which solutions,
after drying up have left the bottle apparently empty, but in
r -ality containing an amount of poison sullicient to destroy
several lives.

In all cases where poisons have been swallowed, the propsr
course is first to neutralize the deleterious agent, and thru to
procure its rejection by means either of the stomach-pump
or an emetic. The stomach-pump is, of course, the best and
most expeditious agent. It requires but a few moments to
insert it and remove the contents of the stomach ; fresh sup-
plies of water and the proper antidotes can then be pomvd
into the organ, so that in a few minutes the last traces of the
poison can be removed' But as the stomach-pump is to b i
found in the possession of physicians only, reliance must in
general be placed upon emetics, of Avhich the best is, un-
questionably, mustard an article Avhich is to be found in
almost every household. It is generally conceded by physi-
cians that mustard is the mildest, most rapid, and most
efficient emetic known. It is prepared for use as follows :
Take about a plump dessert-spoonful of genuine flour of
mustard (if it be mixed with wheat flour or turmeric, more
will be needed), and mix it rapidly in a cup with water to
the consistency of thin gruel, and let this be swallowed
without delay or hesitation. In a very few seconds the con-
tents of the stomach will be ejected. Before the emetic
action has entirely ceased, a little lukewarm water, or still
bitter, warm milk, should be forced down. This will be
thrown off immediately, and will serve to rinse out the
stomach and remove the last traces of deleterious matter.

By the time the operation of the emetic has ceased, a phy-
sician will probably be in attendance, and to his care tho
patient should be at once confided.

The following notes on special poisons will prove useful :

Strong Acid. Where nitric, sulphuric or hydrochloric
acid has been swallowed, it is well to administer carbonate
of soda before giving the emetic.

Oxalic Acid. This acid is often found among the articles
provided for household use. being used for cleaning brass
and various metals, as well as for removing stains of ink and



THE WORKSHOP COMPANION. Ill

iron mould. In former times it was used for cleaning boot
tops and for some other purposes. In appearance it re-
isembles epsom salts so closely that even experienced chemists
might be deceived, if it were not for the taste, for while tho
acid is intensely sour the salts are as intensely bitter.

The proper antidote to oxalic acid is some form of lime,
and the best method of administering it is to mix finely
pulverized chalk with water to the consistency of cream and
swallow it. It is a singular fact that when oxalic acid is
largely diluted with water, it acts very rapidly and energeti-
cally, destroying life almost with the rapidity of prussic
acid. Hence to administer soapy water, or any other very
diluted remedy, would be almost fatal. And yet this course
was actually recommended by a popular scientific journal.

Prussic Acid. As this is one of the most rapid of all
poisons in its action, prompt and energetic measures are de-
manded. Cold affusion to the head and spine has been found
the most efficacious mode of treatment. Internal remedies
appear to be of no service. The vapor of ammonia may be
cautiously applied to the nostrils, and stimulating liniments
by friction to the chest and abdomen, but unless the dose is
small, and the patient is seen early, there can be little hope
of benefit from any treatment. Certain chemical substances
(cyanides) from which prussic acid is slowly evolved by the
action of the air, are used in electro-plating and in photo-
graphy. These substances are themselves very strong poisons,
and if accidentally swallowed they cause death with such
rapidity that there is scarcely any time to apply any remedies.
Green copperas (sulphate of iron) dissolved in water and ad-
ministered would decompose and neutralize the poison, after
which the directions given for prussic acid should be followed.
When poisoning occurs from breathing the vapors arising
from these salts, it is caused by prussic acid, and should be
treated accordingly.


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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 10 of 16)