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

. (page 11 of 16)
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 11 of 16)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Arsenic Paris Green. By arsenic is generally meant tha
white oxide of the metal arsenic. It is also known as arsenious
acid. Paris green is well known and owes its deadly proper-
ties to arsenic. In all cases in which poisonous doses of
arsenic have been swallowed, our great dependance must bo
placed upon emetics and purgatives. Persons who take
arsenic upon a full stomach frequently escape its effects, and
therefore it is always well to give copious draughts of milk,


or, if more convenient, raw eggs, beaten np. Then, as soon
as possible, administer an emetic (mustard is as good as any)
and keep up its action by giving milk during the intervals
of the paroxysms of vomiting. When the stomach no longer
rejects what is swallowed, give a good dose of castor oil.

Corrosive Sublimate.- When corrosive sublimate has been
swallowed, the first thing to be done is, if possible, to get
rid of it, either by means of emetics or the stomach-pump.
If the poison has been taken on a full stomach, an emetic or
tho pump is the first thing in order ; if the stomach be empty,
it will be better to administer, in the first place, as much
white of egg, or milk, or mixture of both, as the patient can
be made to swallow, and immediately afterwards give an
emetic. The white of eggs is the great antidote for corrosive
sublimate, but it is of no use where the poison has been ab-
sorbed into the system, and if, after administering white of
eggs, we neglect to procure its rejection, the compound that
is formed may be destroyed by the action of the gastric juice,
and left free to act with all its original virulence.

Phosphorous. There is no efficient antidote or remedy for
poisoning by phosphorous. Taylor recommends the admin-
istration of emetics, and of albuminous or mucilaginous
drinks, holding hydrate of magnesia suspended. The exhibi-
tion of oil would be decidedly injurious, as this dissolves and
tends to diffuse the poison v Saline purgatives should there-
fore be preferred.

Opium. When a poisonous dose of opium has been taken,
the first object should be to remove the poison, and this must
frequently be accomplished by the stomach-pump, as emetics
are of little service wl^en the patient has lost the power of
swallowing. Dashing cold water on the head, chest, and
spine, has been adopted with great success ; in the treatment
of infants, the plunging of the body into a warm bath, and
suddenly removing it from the water into the cold air, has
been found a most effectual method of rousing them. Severe
whipping on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet or
the back has also been successfully employed. A common
plan for rousing an adult is to keep him in continual motion,
by making him walk between two assistants. Above all things,
the tendency to fall into a state of lethargy must be prevented.
A strong decoction of coffee has been frequently employed as
ti stimulant to promote recovery, and apparently with benefit.


Strychnine. When this poison has been absorbed and con-
veyed into the blood there is no known antidote to its action.
3>ut if spasms have not already set in so as to close the ja\vs,
\ve should, by the stomach-pump or by emetics, endeavor to
romove the poison. In a case in which six grains of strychnine
Avere taken, the life of the person appears to have been saved
by the early use of the stomach-pump. It has been supposed
that emetics would not act in these cases ; but this is an
error based on imperfect observation. In one case a man
took three grains of strychnine, dissolved in rectified spirits
and diluted sulphuric acid. He went to bed and slept for
about an hour and a half, Avhen he awoke in a spasm, utter-
ing loud cries, which alarmed the household.. Free vomiting
was brought on by the use of emetics, and this, combined
Avith other treatment, led to his recovery. The first step,
therefore, in every case, should be to induce vomiting.

Ivy Poisoning. -The best remedy for ivy poisoning is said
to be SAveet spirits of nitre. Bathe the parts affected freely Avith
this fluid three or four times during the day, and the next
morning scarcely any trace of poison will be found. If the
blisters be broken, so as to allow the spirits to penetrate the
cuticle, a single application Avill be sufficient.

Sttngs. Extract the sting, Avhich is always left behind by
bees, and bathe the parts with cold water, or apply a good
poultice of common clay nmd. Liquid ammonia mixed either
Avith the water or the mud, will prove of service. All lini-
ments which require rubbing are bad, as tending to irritate
the part and diffuse the poison. Above all, avoid scratching
the wound.

Polishing Powders.

Nothing is more necessary to the successful use of polish-
ing poAvder than equality in the grain. Fine dust clogs the
action of coarse grinding po\vders, and prevents them from
cutting Avith rapidity the object to be ground ; coarse parti-
cles mixed with fine polishing poAvder scratch the article to
be polished, and render grinding and polishing necessary
again. To secure fineness and uniformity no process equals
that of elutriatioii, Avhich is thus performed : Suppose it
were desired to separate the ordinary flour of emery into
three different degrees of fineness. Take three vessels (sucli as
tin pails or glass jars) and mix the emery with a large


quantity of water say a quart of water to l 6z. of emery.
Stir the mixture until the emery is thoroughly diffused
through the liquid, and allow to stand five minutes. By this
time all the heavier particles will have settled, and on pour-
ing the fluid into a second jar only the finer portion will bo
carried over. So continue to wash the first residuum until
nearly all the particles have subsided at the end of five
minutes, and the water is left comparatively clear. You will
now have the coarse portion, No. 1, by itself.

So, from the sediment collected from the washings of No. 1,
you may collect a portion, No. 2, having a second degree of
coarseness. The last and finest will be obtained by letting
the final washings stand ten or fifteen minutes, pouring olf
the liquid and allowing it to settle.

The principal polishing powders are chalk or wanting,
crocus or rouge, emery, oilstone powder, and putty or tutty,
Avhich latter consists chiefly of oxide of tin. Other powders,
such as tripoli, bath-brick, sand, etc., are rarely used for tho
finer kinds of work. Emery is so well known that it docs
not need description.

Chalk or Whiting. Chalk is a native carbonate of lime,
consisting of the remains of minute creatures known as/br-
amimfera, and when simply scraped or crushed under a
hammer or runner, it is sometimes used for polishing such
soft substances as bone, ivory, etc. As it contains particles
of silica of varying size, it cuts freely, but is apt to scratch.
To remove the gritty particles, the chalk is ground, and the
finer parts separated by washing. It then becomes whiting,
which is generally sold in lumps. Whiting has very poor
cutting qualities, and it is therefore used chiefly as plate
powder for cleaning gold, silver, glass, etc., and for absorb-
ing grease from metals which have been polished bv other

Prepared Chalk. This is a manufactured article, pre-
pared by adding a solution of carbonate of soda to a solution
of chloride of calcium (both cheap salts), so long as a precip-
itate is thrown down. The solutions should be carefully
filtered through paper before being mixed, and dust should
be rigorously excluded. The white powder which falls
down is carbonate of lime, or chalk, and when carefully
washed and dried, it forms a most excellent polishing powder
for the softer metals. The particles are almost impalpable,


but seem to be crystalline, for they polish quickly and
smoothly, though they seem to wear away the material so
little that its form or sharpness is not injured to any per-
ceptible degree.

Crocus or Rouge. These articles are manufactured at
Liverpool, by persons who make it their sole occupation, in
the following manner :

They take crystals of sulphate of iron (green vitriol or
copperas), immediately from the crystallizing vessels, in the
copperas works there, so as to have them as clean as possible ;
and instantly put them into crucibles or cast iron pots, and
expose them to heat, without suffering the smallest particle
of dust to get in, which would have a tendency to scratch
the articles to be polished. Those portions which are leant
calcined and are of a scarlet color, are fit to make rouge for
polishing gold or silver, while those which are calcined or
have become red-purple or bluish-purple, form crocus lit for
polishing brass or steel. Of these, the bluish-purple colored
parts are the hardest, and are found nearest to the bottom of
the vessels, and consequently have been exposed to the
greatest degree of heat.

Mr. ~ Andrew Ross's mode of preparing Oxide of Iron.
Dissolve crystals of sulphate of iron in water ; filter the
solution to separate some particles of silex which are gen-
erally present, and sometimes are abundant ; then precipitate
from" this filtered solution the protoxide of iron, by the addi-
tion of a saturated solution of soda, which must also be
filtered. This grey oxide is to be repeatedly washed and
then dried ; put it in this state into a crucible, and very
gradually raise it to a dull red heat ; then pour it into a
clean metal or earthen dish, and while cooling it will absorb
oxygen from the atmosphere, and acquire a beautiful dark
red color. In this state it is fit for polishing the softer
metals, as silver and gold, but will scarcely make any impres-
sion on hardened steel or glass. For these latter purposes I
discovered that it is the black oxide that affected the polish
(and this gives to the red oxide a purple hue, which is used
as the criterion of its cutting quality in ordinary), therefore
for polishing the harder materials the oxide must be heated
to a bright red, and kept in that state until a sufficient
quantity of it is converted into black oxide to give the mass
a deep purple hue when exposed to the atmosphere. I have


converted the whole into black oxicle ; but this is liable to
scratch, and does not work so pleasantly as when mixed with
the softer material. The powder must now be levigated
with a soft wrought iron spatula, upon a soft iron slab, and
afterwards washed in a very weak solution of gain arabic, as
recommended by Dr. Green in his paper on specula. The
oxide prepared in this manner is almost impalpable, and
free from all extraneous matter, and has the requisite quality
in an eminent degree for polishing steel, glass, the softer
gems, etc.

Lord Ross's Mode of preparing the Peroxide of Iron.
"I prepare the peroxide of iron by precipitation with water
of ammonia from a pure dilute solution of sulphate of iron ;
the precipitate is washed, pressed in a screw press till nearly
dry, and exposed to a heat which in the dark appears a dull
low red. The only points of importance are, that the sul-
phate of iron should be pure, that the water of ammonia
should be decidedly in excess, and that the heat should
not exceed that I have described. The color will be a bright
crimson inclining to yellow. I have tried both soda and
potash, pure, instead of water of ammonia, but after washing
with some degree of care, a trace of the alkali still remained,
and the peroxide was of an ochrey color till overheated, and
did not polish properly."

Oilstone Powder. The Turkey oilstone can hardly be con-
sidered as a hone slate, having nothing of a lamellar or schis-
tose appearance. As a whetstone it surpasses every other
known substance, and possesses, in an eminent degree, the
property of abrading the hardest steel, and is, at the same
time, of so compact and close a nature .as to resist the
pressure necessary for sharpening a graver or other small
instrument of that description. Little more is known of its
natural history than that it is found in the interior of Asia
Minor, and brought down to Smyrna for sale. The white
and black varieties of Turkey oilstone differ but little in
their general characters ; the black is, however, somewhat
harder, and is imported in larger pieces than the white.

Fragments of oilstone, when pulverized, sifted and washed,
are much in request by mechanicians. This abrasive is
generally preferred for grinding together those fittings of
mathematical instruments and machinery, which are made
wholly or in part of brass or gun metal, for oilstone being


softer and more pulverulent than emery, is less liable to be-
come embedded in the metal than emery, which latter is then
apt continually to grind, and ultimately damage the accuracy
of the fittings of brass works. In modern practice it is usual,
however, as far as possible, to discard the grinding together
of surfaces, with the view of producing accuracy of form, or
precision of contact.

Oilstone powder is preferred to pumice-stone powder for
polishing superior brass works, and it is also used by the
watchmaker on rubbers of pewter in polishing steel.

Pumice-stone Powder. Pumice-stone is a volcanic product,
and is obtained principally from the Campo Bianco, one of
the Lipari islands, which is entirely composed of this sub-
stance. It is extensively employed in various branches of the
arts, and particularly in the state of powder, for polishing
the various articles of cut glass ; it is also extensively used
in dressing leather, and in grinding and polishing the surface
of metallic plates, etc.

Pumice-stone is grcrtmd or crushed under a runner, and
sifted, and in this state it is used for brass and other metal
works, and also for japanned, varnished and painted goods,
for which latter purposes it js generally applied on woolen
cloths with water.

Putty Powder is the pulverized cxide of tin, or generally
of tin and lead mixed in various proportions. The process
of manufacture is alike in all cases the metal is oxidized in
an iron muffle, or a rectangular box, close on all sides,
except a square hole in the front side. The retort is sur-
rounded by fire, and kept at a red heat, so that its contents
are partially ignited, and they are continually stirred to
expose fresh portions to the heated air ; the process is com-
plete when the fluid metal entirely disappears, and the
upper part of the oxide then produced, sparkles somewhat
like particles of incandescent charcoal. The oxide is then
removed with ladles, and spread over the bottom of large
iron cooling pans and allowed to cool. The lumps of oxide
which are as hard as marble, are then selected from the
mass and ground dry under the runner ; the putty powder
is afterwards carefully sifted through lawn.

As a criterion of quality it may be said that the whitest
putty powder is the purest, provided it be heavy. Some of
the common kinds are brown and yellow, while others, from


the intentional admixture of a little ivory l>lack, are known
as grey putty. The pure white putty which is used by mar-
ble workers, opticians and some others, is the smoothest and
most cutting ; it should consist of the oxide of tin alone, but
to lessen the difficulty of manufacture, a very little lead (the
linings of tea chests), or else an alloy called shruff (pre-
pared in ingots by the pewterers) is added to assist the

The putty powder of commerce of good fair quality, is
made of about equal parts of tin and lead, or tin and shruff ;
the common dark colored kinds are prepared of lead only,
but these are much harsher to the touch, and altogether

Perhaps the most extensive use of putty powder, is in glass
and marble works, but the best kind serves admirably as
plate powder, and for the general purposes of polishing.

Putty powder for fine optical purposes is prepared by
Mr. A. Boss by the following method, which is the result of
many experiments. Metallic tin is dissolved in nitra-muriatic
acid, and precipitated from the filtered solution by liquid
ammonia, both fluids being largely diluted with water. The
peroxide of tin is then washed in abundance of water, col-
lected in a cloth filter, and squeezed as dry as possible in a
piece of new clean linen ; the mass is now subjected to
pressure in a screw-press, or between lever boards, to make it
as dry as possible. When the lump thus produced has been
broken in pieces and dried in the air, it is finally levigated
while dry on a plate of glass with an iron spatula, and after-
wards exposed in a crucible to a low white heat.

Before the peroxide has been heated, or while it is in the
levigated hydrous state, the putty powder possesses but little
cutting quality, as under the microscope, the particles then
appear to have no determined form, or to be amorphous,
and, on being wetted, to resume the gelatinous condition of
the hydrous precipitate, so as to be useless for polishing ;
whereas, when the powder is heated, to render it anhydrous,
most of the particles take their natural form, that of lamellar
oystals, and act with far more energy (yet without scratch-
ing) than any of the ordinary polishing powders. The whole
mass requires to be washed or elutriated in the usual manner
after having been heated, in order to separate the coarser


Mr. Boss usually adds a little crocus to the putty powder
by way of coloring matter, as it is then easier to learn the
quantity of powder that remains on the polishing tool, and
it may be added that this is the polishing powder employed
by Mr. Boss in making his improved achromatic object-
glasses for astronomical telescopes,

Vienna Lime. Vienna lime and alcohol give a beautiful
polish to iron or steel. Select the soft pieces of lime, such
as will be easily crushed by the thumb and linger, as they
are the most free from gritty particles. Apply with a cork,
piece of soft pine wood, leather, chamois, etc.


The resins are so frequently employed in the arts that a
knowledge of the action of different solvents upon them is of
great value.

Dr. Sac, of Neuenberg, Switzerland, has made an extensive
inquiry into the nature of different resins. The following
results, as obtained by him, are given in Dingler's Poly-
technic Journal : The resins spoken of are copal, amber,
dammar, common resins, shellac, elemi, sandarach and
mastic. All these resins can be reduced to powder.

The following will become pasty before melting : Amber,
shellac-, "elemi, sandarach and mastic ; the others will become
liquid at once.

In boiling water common resin will form a semi-fluid mass ;
dammar, shellac, elemi and mastic will become sticky ; while
copal, amber and sandarach will remain unchanged.

Dammar and amber do not dissolve in alcohol ; copal bo-
conies pasty ; elemi dissolves with difficulty, while resin,
shellac, sandarach and mastic dissolve easily.

Acetic acid makes common resin swell ; on all the others
it has no effect.

Caustic soda dissolves shellac i c dily ; resin partly ; but
has no influence on the others.

Amber and shellac do not dissolve in sulphide of carbon ;
copal becomes soft and expands ; elemi, sandarach and mastic
dissolve slowly ; while resin and dammar dissolve easily.

Oil of turpentine dissolves neither amber nor shellac, but
swells copal ; dissolves dammar, resin, elemi and sandarach
easily, and mastic very easily.

Benzol does not dissolve copal, amber and shellac, but


does elemi and sandarach to a limited extent ; while dammar,
resin and mastic offer no difficulty.

Petroleum ether lias no effect on copal, amber and shellac ;
it is a poor solvent for resin, elemi and sandarach, and a good
one for dammar and mastic.

Concentrated sulphuric acid dissolves all resins, imparting
to them a dark brown color, excepting dammar, which takes
a brilliant red tint.

Boiling linseed oil has no effect on copal and amber ;
shellac, elemi and sandarach dissolve easily.

Nitric acid imparts to elemi a dirty yellow color ; to mastic
and sandarach a light brown ; it does not affect the others.

Ammonia is indifferent to amber, dammar, shellac (?) and
elemi ; copal, sandarach and mastic become soft, and finally
dissolve ; while resin will dissolve at once.


The grand secret of putting any saw in the best possible
cutting order, consists in filing the teeth at a given angle to
cut rapidly, and of a uniform length, so that the points will
all touch a straight-edged rule without showing a variation
of a hundredth part of an inch. Besides this, there should
be just enough set in the teeth to cut a kerf as narow as it
can be made, and at the same time allow the blade to work
freely without pinching. On the contrary, the kerf must not
be so wide as to permit the blade to rattle when in motion.
The very points of the teeth do the cutting. If one tooth is
a twentieth of an inch longer than tAvo or three on each side
of it, the long tooth will be required to do so much more
cutting than it should, that the sawing cannot be done well.
Hence the saw goes jumping along, working hard and cutting
slowly. If one tooth is longer than those on either side of
it, the short ones do not cut, although the points may be
sharp "Then putting a cross-cut saw in order, it will pay
well fo dress the points with an old file, and afterwards
sharpen them with a fine whetstone. Much mechanical skill
is requisite to put a saw in prime order. One careless thrust
with a file will shorten the point of a tooth so much that it
will be utterly useless, so far as cutting is concerned. The
teeth should be set with much care, and the filing should be
done with great accuracy. If the teeth are uneven at the
points a large flat file should be secured to a block of wood


in such a manner that the very points only may be jointed,
so that the cutting edge of the same may be in a complete
line or circle. Eveiy tooth should cut a little as the saw is
worked. The teeth of a handsaw, for all sorts of work,
should be filed fleaming, or at an angle on the front edge ;
while the back edge^ may be filed fleaming, or square across
the blade. The befit way to file a circular saw for cutting
wood across the grain, is to dress every fifth tooth square
across and about or? 3-twentieth of an inch shorter than the
others, which shou' d be filed fleaming at an angle of about
forty degrees.


It is often desirable to sift powders into different degrees
of fineness, and very fine sieves are not always to be easily
had. Those made of hair and wire answer well, but the
finest may be made out of the bolting cloth used by millers.
It may be sewed over a hoop of tin or brass, or even a ring
made of iron wire, or a piece of flexible wood bent into form
may answer to hold the cloth.


Shellac or lac is a resinous substance which, in India,
flows from certain trees in the form of lucid tears, in conse-
quence of punctures made upon their branches by a small

It is found in commerce in three forms slick lac, seed lac
and shellac. Stick lac is the substance in its natural state in-
vesting the small twigs of the trees, which are generally
broken off in collecting it. When separated from the twigs
and partially cleansed it is known as seed lac. Shellac is the
seed lac after it has been melted, purified and formed into
thin cakes.

Shellac is very apt to be adulterated with common resin,
and hence, unless when a pale lacquer is required, most
artisans prefer seed lac. When lac is mixed with a little
resin and colored with verrnillion or ivory black it forms
sealing wax.

Shellac is soluble in alcohol but not in turpentine. It is
also soluble in alkaline solutions, including ammonia. A
solution of borax in water dissolves it readily, and the result-
ing solution lias been used as a cement, as a varnish, and as a


bas;s for indelible ink. It is much used by hatters as an in-
soluble cement.

Clarifying Shellac Solutions. Much trouble is generally ex-
perienced in obtaining clear solutions of shellac. If a mixture
of 1 part shellac with 7 parts of alcohol of 90 per cent, is
heated to a suitable temperature, it quickly clears, but as
quickly becomes turbid again on cooling. The only practical
method of freeing the solution from what some writers call
"wax," and others "fatty acid," which is present in shellac
in the proportion of 1 to 5 per cent., and is the cause of the

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 11 13 14 15 16

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 11 of 16)