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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turbidity, has hitherto been the tedious process of repeated
nitration. M. Peltz recommends the following method :
Shellac 1 part is dissolved in alcohol 8 parts, and allowed to
stand for a few hours. Powdered chalk is then added in
quantity equal to half the weight of shellac in the solution,
and the latter is heated to 60 E. The greater portion of the
solution clears rapidly, and the remainder may be clarified
by once filtering. Carbonate of magnesia and sulphate of
baryta were tried in the same way, but were not found equally
efficacious.

Bleached Shellac. When bleached by the ordinary process,
shellac affords a polish for light woods, etc., that is brittle
and liable to peel off, while the presence of a trace of chlorine
causes metallic inlaying to become dim. These defects may
be avoided by a different mode of bleaching, namely, by
adding fine granulated bone-black to the solution of shellac
in 90 per cent, alcohol, until a thin, pasty mass is formed,
and exposing this for several days to direct sunlight, occa-
sionally shaking it thoroughly and filtering when sufficiently
bleached.

Silver.

Pure silver is quite soft, and is, therefore, generally alloy eel
with copper to harden it,

Silversmiths' worl^, after having been filed is generally
rubbed, firstly, with a lump of pumice-stone and Avater ;
secondly, with a slip of water-of-Ayr stone and water ;
thirdly, a revolving brush with rottenstone and oil ; fourthly,
an old black worsted stocking with oil and rottenstone, and
fifthly, it is finished with the hand alone, the deep black
lustre being given with rouge of great fineness. The corn erg



THE WORKSHOP COMPANION. 123

and edges are often burnished with a steel burnisher, which
is lubricated with soap and water if at all.

In this case and in all others of polishing with the naked
hand, it is generally found that women succeed better than
men, and that some few, from the peculiar texture and con-
dition of the skin, greatly excel in the art of polishing. The
skin should be soft and very slightly moist, as the polishing
powder then attaches itself conveniently, and there is just
sufficient adhesion between the hand and work to make the
operation proceed rapidly. A dry hand becomes hard and
horny, and is 1 *ble to scratch the work, and excess of moist-
ure is alsc obj ctionable, as the hand is then too slippery.

The plated reflectors for light-houses are cleaned with
rouge, which is dusted on from a muslin bag, and rubbed
over them with a clean dry wash-leather.

A thin film of oxide will nevertheless occasionally form on
the surface of the reflector, and this is removed with a piece
of leather, with rouge moistened with spirits of wine, which
dissolves the oxide, after which the dry rubber is applied as
above.

Oxidized Silver. This is not an oxidization, but a combi-
nation with sulphur or chlorine. Sulphur, soluble sulphides,
and hydrosulphuric acid blacken silver, and insoluble silver
salts, and particularly the chloride of silver, rapidly blackens
*by solar light. Add four or five thousandths of hydrosul-
phate of ammonia, or of quintisulphide of potassium, to
ordinary water at a temperature of 160 to 180 Fahr. When
the articles are dipped into this solution an iridescent coating
of silver sulphide covers them, which, after a few seconds
more in the liquid, turns blue-black, llemove, rinse, scratch-
brush, and burnish when desired. Use the solution when
freshly prepared, or the prolonged Aeat will precipitate too
much sulphur, and the deposit will be wanting in adherence ;
besides, the oxidization obtained in freshly-prepared liquors
is always brighter and blacker than that produced in old
solutions, which is dull and grey. If the coat of silver is too
thin, and the liquor too strong, the alkaline sulphide dissolves
the silver, and the underlying metal appear In this case
cleanse and silver again, and use a weaker blacl *ming solu-
tion. Oxidized parts and gilding may be put upon the same
article by the following method : After the whole surface has
been gilt certain portions arc covered with the resist varnish ;



124 . THE WORKSHOP COMPANION.

9

silver the remainder. Should the process of silvering by-
paste and cold rubbing be employed, the gilding should be
very pale, because it is not preserved, and is deeply reddened
by the sulphur liquor. When this inconvenience occurs
from a too concentrated liquor, it is partly remedied by
rapidly washing the article in a tepid solution of cyanide of
potassium. v

A very beautiful effect is produced upon the surface of
silver articles, technically termed oxidizing, which gives the
surface an appearance of polished steel. This can be easily
effected by taking a little chloride of platinum, heating the
solution and applying it to the silver where an oxidized sur-
face is required, and allowing the solution to dry upon the
silver. The darkness of the color produced varies according
to the strength of the platinum solution from a light steel
gray to nearly black. The effect of this process, when com-
bined with what is termed dead work, is very pretty, and
may be easily applied to medals, and similar objects.

The high appreciation in which ornaments in oxidized
silver are now held, renders a notice of the following pro-
cesses interesting. There are two distinct shades in use
one produced by a chloride and which has a brownish tint,
and the other produced by sulphur, which has a bluish- black
tint. To produce the former it is necessary to wash the
article with a solution of sal ammoniac ; a much more
beautiful tint may, however, be obtained by employing a
solution composed of equal parts of sulphate of copper and
sal ammoniac in vinegar. The fine black tint may be pro-
duced by a slightly warm solution of sulphuret of potassium
or sodium.

The chloride of platinum mentioned above is easily pre-
pared as follows : Take 1 part nitric aoid and 2 parts hydro-
chloric (muriatic) acid ; mix together and add a little
platinum ; keep the whole at or near a boiling heat ; the
metal is soon dissolved, forming the solution required. ,

Old Silvering. To imitate old artistic productions made
of solid silver, the groundwork and hollow portions not
subject to friction are covered with a blackish-red, earthy
coat, the parts in relief remain with a bright lead lustre.
Mix a thin paste of finely powdered plumbago with essence
of turpentine, to which a small portion of red ochre may be
gelded to imitate the copper tinge of certain old silverware ;



THE WORKSHOP COMPANION. 125

smear this all over the articles. After drying, gently nib
with a soft brush, and the reliefs are set off by cleaning with
a rag dipped in spirits of wine.

To give the old silver tinge to small articles, such as
buttons and rings, throw them into the above paste, rub in a
bag with a large quantity of dry boxwood sawdust until the
desired shade is obtained.

Cleaning Silver. Silver being a comparatively soft metal,
should never be rubbed with polishing powders capable of
cutting or grinding, as the delicate surface, especially if
engraved or ornamented, will be sure to have the delicate
lines and work injured. In cleaning silver there are but two
things that ever require to be removed dirt and the sulplmret
of silver. The latter appears as a coating on all silver articles
exposed to the air, and especially on silver spoons etc. , which
have come in contact with sulphur or the yolk of eggs.
Sulplmret or sulphide of silver is soluble in several salts,
especially cyanide of potassium, hyposulphite of soda, and
several salts of ammonia. Therefore, to clean silver which
has been blackened with sulphur, the best plan is to dissolve
off the sulphide by means of some of the chemicals named.

For the ordinary purposes of cleansing silver the best
material is a thin paste of alcohol, 2 parts ; ammonia, 1 part ;
and whiting enough to make a liquid like cream. This
should be smeared or painted over the silver and allowed to
stand until dry. If then brushed off with a very fine brush
the silver will appear clear and bright. The alcohol and
ammonia dissolve all dirt and sulphide, which are then ab-
sorbed by the whiting and removed with it.

Where really good whiting, that is to say, an article that is
soft or free from grit, cannot be procured, starch may be
used.

Ink Stains, To Remove from Silver The tops and other
portions of silver inkstands frequently become deeply dis-
colored with ink, which is difficult to remove by ordinary
means. It may, however, be completely eradicated by making
a little chloride of lime into a paste with water, and rubbing
it upon the stains. ^

To Dissolve the Silver off old Plated GoocU. Mix 1 oz. of
finely powdered saltpetre with 10 oz. sulphuric acid, and
steep the goods in this mixture. If diluted with water it
acts on copper and other metals, but if very strong it to-



126 THE WORKSHOP COMPANION.

solves the silver only, and may be used to dissolve silver off
plated goods without affecting the other metals.

Silvering.

Leather, cloth, wood and similar materials are silvered
by processes similar to those used for gilding, silver leaf
being substituted for gold leaf. Metals may be silvered
either by brazing a thin sheet of silver to the surface, or by
electro-plating. Frequently, however, it is desired to lightly
silver a metal surface, such as brass or copper, so as to make
any figures engraved thereon appear more distinct. Clock
faces, dials and the scales of thermometers and barometers
are cases in point, and if the surface be well lacquered with
white lacquer after being silvered, such a coating is very
durable. Silvering fluids or powders containing mercury
should never be used unless the articles are to be afterwards
exposed to a red heat so as to drive off the mercury. A
silvering fluid which is very commonly sold to housekeepers
under the name of Nonurgent or Plate Renovator, consists
merely of nitrate of mercury or quicksilver. When rubbed
on a copper cent or a brass stair-rod it give^ it at once a
bright silvery surface, but the brightness soon fades and the
article, if brass, becomes black and dirty, Avhile if it should
be a piece of plated ware it will be ruined. Stair-rods and
similar articles, if well silvered with powder No. 1, and then
lacquered with good lacquer, will present a white silvery ap-
pearance for a long time. Plated goodp should be re-coated
by the electro-plating process.

Silvering Poicder. 1. Nitrate of silver, 30 grains ; com-
mon salt, 30 grains ; cream tartar, 200 grains. Mix. Moisten
with water and rub on the article with wash leather. Gives
a white silvery appearance to brass, copper, etc.

2. Novargent. Add common salt to a solution of nitrate
of silver until the silver has all been precipitated. Wash the
white precipitate or chloride of silver and add a strong solu-
tion of hyposulphite of soda until the white chloride is
dissolved/ Mix the resulting clear liquid with j>ipe-clay
which has been finely powdered and thoroughly washed.

3. 1 oz. of nitrate" of silver dissolved in 1 quart of rain
or distilled water. When thoroughly dissolved, add a few
crystals of hyposulphite of soda, which will at first form a
jbrpwn precipitate, but which reclissojves if sufficient hvpq-



THE WOKKSHOP COMPANION. 127

sulphite has been employed. The solution may be used by
simply dipping a sponge in it, and rubbing it over the article
to be coated. A solution of gold may be made and used in
the same manner.

4. Silvering Amalgam. A coating of silver, heavier than
can be obtained by the above, may be given by the follow-
ing process : Precipitate silver from its solution in nitric
acid by means of copper. Take of this powder oz. ; common
salt, 2 oz. ; sal ammoniac, 2 oz. ; and corrosive sublimate, 1
drachm. Make into a paste with water. Having carefully
cleaned the copper surface that is to be plated, boil it in a
solution of tartar and alum, rub it with the above paste,
heat red hot and then polish.

Size.

The size used for filling the pores of plaster, wood, cloth,
paper, etc., for the purpose of preparing it to receive paint
or varnish, is usually made from glue. Where large quanti-
ties are used the size is obtained in barrels from the glue
factory, and as the trouble and expense of concentrating it
into cakes is thus avoided, it may be obtained at a very cheap
rate. .. Size may be made by any one from clippings of skins,
tendons, etc., boiled down to jelly and carefully freed from
fat. Very fine size is prepared from parchment clippings.
Where size is made from glue the following directions will
prove useful :

Sizing f or Window Shades. Stretch the muslin well upon
tha frame. Soak over night one-half pound of the best white
glue in 4 gallons water ; in the morning turn it off and boil
the glue. It must be very thin. Add a small piece of castile
soap scraped fine. To have it more transparent add 2 oz.
powdered alum. It must be put on quick, while warm.
Gamboge for painting shades must be dissolved in alcohol;
carmine in spirits of hartshorn.

Size for Improving Poor Drawing Paper. -Take 1 oz. of
white glue, 1 oz. of white soap, and'j oz. of alum. Soak the
glue and the soap in Avater until they appear like jelly ; then
simmer in 1 quart of water until the Avhole is melted. Add
the alum, simmer again and filter. To be applied hot.

Gold Size. This is an entirely different article, and is in
reality a very strong drying oil colored to resemble gold, and
used for cementing gold leaf to articles that are to be



128 THE "VOKKSHOP COMPANION.

To prepare it, drying or boiled oil is thickened with yellow
ochre or calcined red ochre, and carefully reduced to the
utmost smoothness by grinding. It is thinned with oil of
turpentine. It improves by age.

Skins Tanning and Curing.

Curing Fur Skins. The following are the directions given
in the " Trapper's Guide," by Newhouse, an experienced trap-
per and hunter. 1. As soon as possible after the animal is
dead, attend to the skinning and curing. The slightest taint
of putrefaction loosens the fur and destroys the value of the
skin. 2. Scrape off all superfluous flesh and fat, but be
careful not to go so deep as to cut the fibre of the skin.
3. Never dry a skin by the fire or in the sun, but in a cool,
shady place, sheltered from rain. If you use a barn door for
a stretcher, nail the skin on the inside of the door. 4. Never
use "preparations" of any kind in curing skins, nor even
wash them in water, but simply stretch and dry them as they
are taken from the animal. In drying skins it is important
that they should be stretched tight like a drum-head.

To prepare Sheep Skins for Mats. 1. Make a strong soap
lather with hot water and let it stand till cold ; wash the
fresh skin in it, carefully squeezing out all the dirt from the
wool ; wash it in cold water till all the soap is taken out.
Dissolve a pound each of salt and alum in 2 gallons of hot
water, and put the skin into a tub sufficient to cover it ; let
it soak for 12 hours and hang it over a pole to drain. When
well drained, stretch it carefully on a board to dry, and
stretch several times while drying. Before it is quite dry
sprinkle on the flesh side 1 oz. each of finely pulverized alum
and saltpetre, rubbing them in well. Try if the wool be firm
on the skin ; if not, let it remain a day or two, then rub again
with alum ; fold the flesh sides together and hang in the
shade for two or three days, turning them over each day till
quite dry. Scrape the flesh side with a blunt J .nife and rub it
with pumice or rotten stone. Very beautiful mittens can be
made of lambs' skins prepared in this way.

2. The following process has been found to succeed very
well with sheep skins, dog skins and similar hides : Tack
the skin upon a board with the flesh side out, and then scrape
with a blunt knife ; next rub it over hard with pulverized
chalk, until it will absorb no inore, Then tak the s]un. Q#



THE WORKSHOP COMPANION. 129

from the board and cover it with pulverized alum ; double
half-way over, with the flesh side in contact ; then roll tight
together and keep dry for three days, after which unfold and
stretch it again on a board or floor, and dry in the air, and it
will be ready for use.

Skins of Rabbits, Cats and small Animals. Lay the skin
on a smooth board, the fur side undermost, and fasten it
down with tinned tacks. Wash it over first with a solution
of salt ; then dissolve 2 oz. of alum in 1 pint of warm water,
and Avith a sponge dipped in this solution, moisten the sur-
face all over ; repeat this every now and then for three days.
When the skin is quite dry take out the tacks, and rolling
it loosely the long way, the hair side in, draw it quickly
backwards and forwards through a large smooth ring until
it is quite soft, and then roll it in the contrary way of the
skin and repeat the operation. Skins prepared in this way
are useful in many experiments, and they make good gloves
and chest protectors.

Stains.

Stains of different kinds are removed either by dissolving
the offensive matter out of the material which it has soiled
or by destroying it. Ordinary washing is a good example of
the first method ; the removal of fruit stains by means of
chloride of lime illustrates the second. Sometimes it is
necessary to combine both methods. In practice it is of
course necessary to avoid the use of any solvent or bleaching
agent that can injure the material from which the stain is to
be removed. The following is a list of the stains which most
frequently occur, and also of the best methods of removing
them :

Acids. Most acids produce red stains in all black or blue
colors of vegetable origin. Where the acid has not been so
strong as to injure the texture of the fabric, such stains may
be easily removed by the use of a little potash, soda or am-
monia. Nitric acid, however, not only turns red, but bleaches
the goods, and it is very difficult to remove stains caused by
this acid. It is said that the yellow stains formed on brown
or black woolen goods by nitric acid can be removed, when
freshly formed, by moistening them repeatedly with a con-
centrated solution of permanganate of potash, and then
rinsing with water. Yellow stains on the hands may be



130 THE WORKSHOP COMPANION,

treated in tlie same way, and the dark brown coloration pro-
duced may then be removed by treating with aqueous solution
of sulphurous acid.

Aniline Dyes. A solution of common sodium sulphite will
rapidly remove the stains of raost of the aniline dyes from
the hands.

Fruit Stains. Most fruits yield juices which, owing to the
acid they contain, permanently injure the tone of the dye ;
but the greater part may be removed without leaving a stain,
if the spot be rinsed in cold water in which a few drops of
aqua animonise have been placed, before the spot has dried.
Wine stains on white materials may be removed by rinsing
with cold water, applying locally a weak solution of chloride
of lime, and again rinsing in an abundance of water. Some
fruit stains yield only to soaping with the hand, followed
by fumigation with sulphurous acid ; but the latter process
is inadmissible with certain colored stuffs. If delicate colors
are injured by soapy or alkaline matters, the stains must be
treated with colorless vinegar of moderate strength."

Grease. 1. Where the fabric will bear it, the best method
of removing grease spots is simple washing with soap and
water. No ordinary grease spot will resist this.

2. Chalk, fuller's-earth, steatite or "French chalk." These
should be merely diffused through a little water to form a
thin paste, which is spread upon the spot, allowed to dry,
and then brushed out.

3. Ox-gall and yolk of t-gg, which have the property of
dissolving fatty bodies without affecting prrceptibly the
texture or colors of cloth. The oxgall should be purified, to
prevent its greenish tint from degrading the brilliancy of
dyed stuffs, or the purity of whites. Thus prepared it is the
most effective of all substances known for removing this kind
of stains, especially for \voolen cloths. It is to be diffused
through its own bulk of water, applied to the spots, rubbed
well into them with the hands till they disappear, after which
the stuff is to be washed with soft water.

4. The volatile oil of turpentine. This will take out only
recent stains ; for which purpose it ought to be previously
purified by distillation over quicklime.

5. Benzine or essence of petroleum is commoniy used for
removing grease spots ; but these liquids present the incon-
venience of leaving, in most cases, a brownish aureola. To



THE WORKSHOP COMPANION. 131

avoid this, it is necessary, whilst the fabric is still saturated,
and immediately the stain has disappeared, to sprinkle gyp-
Bum or lycopodinm over the whole of the moistened surface.
When dry, the powder is brushed away.

5. Balls for removing grease spots are made as follows :
Take fuller's-earth, free from all gritty matter ; mix with half
a pound of the earth, so prepared, half a pound of soda, as
much soap, and eight yolks of eggs well beaten up with half
a pound of purified ox-gall. The whole must be triturated
upon a porphyry slab ; the soda with the soap in the same
manner as colors are ground, mixing in gradually the eggs
and the ox-gall previously beaten together. Incorporate next
the soft earth by slow degrees, till a uniform thick paste be
formed, which should be made into balls or cakes of a con-
venient size, and laid out to dry. A little of this detergent
being scraped off with a knife, made into a paste with water,
and applied to the stain, will remove it.

Ink and Iron Mould. Fresh ink and the soluble salts of
iron produce stains which, if allowed to dry, and especially
if afterwards the material has been washed, are difficult to
extract without injury to the ground. When fresh, such
stains yield rapidly to a treatment with moistened cream of
tartar, .aided by a little friction, if the material or color is
delicate. If the ground be white, oxalic acid, employed in
the form of a concentrated aqueous solution, will effectually
remove fresh iron stains.

A concentrated solution of pyrophosphate of soda removes
many kinds of ink from delicate fabrics without altering the
coloring matters printed upon the tissues, or in any way
injuring them.

Mildew. Make a very weak solution of chloride of lime in
water (about a heaped-up teaspoonful to a quart of water) ;
strain it carefully, and dip the spot on the garment into it ;
and if the mildew does not disappear immediately, lay it in
the sun for a few minutes, or dip it again into the solution.
The work is effectually and speedily done, and the chloride
of lime neither rots the cloth nor removes delicate colors,
when sufficiently diluted, and the articles well rinsed after-
ward in clear water.

Another method is to wet the spot in lemon juice, then
spread over it soft soap and chalk mixed together, and spread
where the hottest rays of the sun will beat upon it for half



132 THE WORKSHOP COMPANION,

e

an hour ; if not entire!/ removed repeat the same. Or wet
in clear lemon juice and lay in the sun ; or soak for an
hour or two, and then spread in the sun.

Nitrate of Silver. Nitrate of silver, it will be remembered,
is the base of most of the so-called indelible inks used for
marking linen in almost every household. Stains or marks
of any kind made with silver solution or the bath solution of
photographers may be promptly removed from clothing bv
simply wetting the stain or mark Avith a solution of bi-
chloride of mercury. The chemical result is the change of
the black-looking nitrate of silver into chloride of silver,,
which is white or invisible on the cloth. Bichloride of mer-
cury can be had at the drug stores. It is slightly soluble in
water, is a rank poison, and we would not advise anybody to
keep it about one's house.

The immediate and repeated application of a very weak
solution of cyanide of potassium (accompanied by thorough
rinsings in clean water), will generally remove these stains
without injury to the colors.

Paint. Stains of oil-paint may te removed TV .ith bisulphide
of carbon ; many by means of spirits of turpentine ; if dry
and old, with chloroform. For these last, as well as for tar-
spots, the best way is to cover them with olive oil or butter.
When the paint is softened, the whole may be removed by
treatment, first, with spirits of turpentine, then with benzine.

Tar. Tar and pitch produce stains easily removed by suc-
cessive applications of spirits of turpentine, coal-tar naphtha,


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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 12 of 16)