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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THE WORKSHOP COMPANION. 33

have the powders free from particles which are larger than
the average, as these would be sure to scratch the metal,
owing to its softness. For polishing copper by abrasion,
only the softer polishing powders should be used, such as
rotten stone, prepared chalk, rnd soft rouge. These are used
with oil at first, but the last touches are given dry.

Copper may be welded by the use of proper fluxes. The
best compound for this purpose is a mixture of one part of
phosphate of soda and two parts of boracic acid. This weld-
ing powder should be strewn on the surface of the copper at
a red heat; the pieces should then be heated up to a full
cherry red, or yellow heat, and brought immediately under
the hammer, when they may be as readily welded as iron
itself. For instance, it is possible to weld together a small
rod of copper which has been broken; the ends should be
beveled, laid on one another, seized by a pair of tongs, and
placed together with the latter in the fire and heated; the
welding powder should then be strewn on the ends, which,
after a further heating, may be welded so soundly as to bend
and stretch as if they had never been broken. It is necessary
to carefully observe two things in the course of the operation.
First, the greatest care must be taken that no charcoal or
other solid carbon comes into contact with the points to be
welded, as otherwise phosphide of copper would be formed,
which would cover the surface of the copper and effectually
prevent a weld. In this case it is only by careful treatment
in an oxidizing fire and a plentiful application of the welding
powder that the copper can again be welded. It is, there-
fore, advisable to heat the copper in a flame, as, for instance,
a gas flame. Second, as copper is a much softer metal than
iron, it is much softer at the required heat than the latter at
its welding heat, and the parts welded can not offer any great
resistance to the blows of the hammer. They must, there-
fore, be so shaped as to be enabled to resist such blows as
well as may be, and it is also well to use a wooden hammer,
which does not exercise so great a force on account of its
lightness. Mr. Rust, the inventor of this process, states that,
as long ago as 1854, he welded strips of copper plates to-
gether and drew them infco a rod; he also made a chain, the
links of which had been made of pretty thick wire and
welded.

Coppering Iran or Steel. The following process is said to



40 THE WORKSHOjt COMPANION.

give very good results : First make the article entirely bright
by file, scratch brush, or any of the usrifJ modes. Apply to
the surface a coating oi' cream of tartar, then Bpriilkie tho
surface with a saturated solution of sulphate of copper, and
rub with a hard brush. The coating of copper deposited on
the iron is said to be very even and durable.

Coral, Artificial.

Twigs, raisin stalks, and any objects having the general
outline of branched coral, may be made to resemble that
material by being dipped in a mixture of 4 parts resin, 8
parts beeswax and 2 parts vermillion, melted together and
thoroughly mixed. The effect is very pretty, and for orna-
mental work such imitation coral is very useful.

Cork.

Corks are so important in many operations, that a little
knowledge of the best methods of working them is indispen-
sable. They form the best material for a holder for sand-
paper in rubbing down flat surfaces, and they afford the
simplest arid most effectual means of closing bottles in many
cases. Cork is easily cut by means of a thin, sharp knife,
which should not have a smooth edge, however, but one set
on a dry stone, moderately fine. After having been cut to
nearly the right form, corks are easily worked to the proper
size and shape by means of files. Holes are easily made
through corks by means of tin or brass tubes, which must bo
thin and well sharpened on the edge by means of a file. The
sharp edge being slightly oiled, is pressed against the cork
and at the same time turned round, when it quickly cuts a
smooth straight hole through the material.

When it is desired to make corks air-tight and water-tight,
the best method is to allow them to remain for about five
minutes beneath the surface of melted paraffine in a suitable
vessel, the corks being held down either by a perforated lid,
wire screen, or similar device. Corks thus prepared can be
easily cut and bored, have a perfectly smooth exterior, may
be introduced and removed from the neck of a flask with
ease, and make a perfect seal.

Crayons for Black-Boards.

Spanish white, which is simply very fine chalk, is mixed
with water and just enough flour paste' to cause the particles



THE WORKSHOP COMPANION. 4?

to adhere Avlicn dry. If too much paste is used, the crayons
will 1)0 too hard and will not mark well; if too soft, they will
crumble. The proper proportions should be found by ex-
periment, as different qualities of flour possess different
adhesive properties. The wet chalk may be formed into
proper shape by means of paper moulds, or it may be rolled
out to the required shape and cut into suitable lengths.

For making drawings of objects of natural history, etc., it
is frequenely desirable to use colored crayons, the most use-
ful colors being green, red and yellow. A little cheap, dry
paint mixed with the chalk will give the desired tints.

Crayons which are not too hard to make a good clear mark,
are very apt to be brittle and unable to stand any pressure
on the point when they are of sufficient length to be handled
easily. If the crayons are made true cylinders, they may be
covered with paper, which will serve the same purpose as the
wood in the common lead pencil, and may be cut away as
wanted. The common crayons, being conical, are not so
easily covered, but may, nevertheless, be wrapped with a
long, narrow slip of paper so as to be strong and durable.
Curling.

A method of finishing such metals as brass, German silver,
etc. , which if well done, gives a very handsome appearance
to the work. The work must first be carefully finished so as
to have no scratches, as these would show through the curl-
ing and destroy the effect. After the metal has beoa. finished
with line files, emery paper, Water-of-Ayr stone, and finally
the finest rotten stone applied by means of a buff, the curling
is produced by means of a stick of charcoal moved in circular
sweeps over the surface, which should be kept well moistened
with water. After the desired effect has been produced, the
metal is lacquered.

We have seen "curling" applied to surfaces of considera-
ble extent, but in such cases the effect never seemed to us as
good as in the case of veiy small articles. If the sweeps are
large they give a coarse appearance to the work, while a
large surface covered with small sweeps has a confused
appearance.

Cuticle, Liquid.

Collodion, or gun cotton dissolved in sulphuric ether, has
no equal as a covering for protecting burns, cuts or wounds^



42 THE WORKSHOP COMPANION.

from the air. It soon dries, and forms a skin-like protectioa
that adheres with great tenacity.

Etching.

Etching is the art of cutting lines in an;y material by means
of some corrosive agent. Thus, since nitric acid dissolves
copper, if we confine the action of the acid to certain lines,
we can cut grooves of considerable depth in the copper, and
these grooves may be used either as lines from which we may
print, or as marks similar to writing. Iron, brass, steel,
silver, ivory, glass, marble, and many other materials may be
cut in the same way, by the action of suitable acids. As a
simple and easily learned method of forming engraved plates
from which to print, the art of etching is one of the most
eligible for young persons. The materials required are few
and simple, great freedom of outline may be securedj and the
results are very pleasing.

Copper is the metal usually employed for etching draw-
ings. It is furnished by the dealers in plates perfectly smooth
and flat, and of any desired size. The surface is first coated
with a wax or varnish, for which there are many recipes, the
following being probably the best: Take of beeswax and
asphalt, 2 parts each; Burgundy pitch and black pitch, 1
part each. Melt the wax and the pitch in an earthen vessel
and add the asphalt by degrees in fine powder. Expose to
heat until a drop which has been cooled, breaks by bending
back and forth two or three times in the fingers.

A second, which is simpler and said to be very good, is com-
posed of asphalt, 2 oz. ; Burgundy pitch, 1 oz. ; beeswax, l oz.
A transparent varnish may be composed of resin, 1 oz. ;
beeswax, 2 oz. Melt together.

The plate having been polished and burnished, is grasped
by one corner in a hand-vice and warmed over a spirit lamp
until it will melt the varnish or etching ground, which is
then spread over its surface very thinly by means of a ball or
pledget of cotton tied in a piece of silk. Before the ground
has quite cooled and solidified, it is blackened- by the smoke
of a lamp or candle. The blackening is necessary so that *He
design may be clearly seen as it is drawn in.

The design may be either drawn directly on the plate, or
transferred by means of transfer paper. Or it may be first
drawn on the etching ground by means of a very finely



THE WOKKSHOP COMPANION. 43

pointed camel-hair pencil, using, of course, a white color dis-
solved in some medium which will adhere to the ground.
Water is useless. Turpentine answers very well.

In whatever way the design is drawn on the surface of the
ground, it must next be cut in by means of a steel point,
good sewing needles making excellent o:ies, and different
sizes being used according to the strength of the lines required.
The lines having been traced through the varnish so as to
expose a bright copper surface, the next step is to make a
border of wax around the plate so that the acid will not run
off. The wax used for making tho border is a mixture of
beeswax, resin and tallow, of such a consistency that it will
be easily moulded by the fingers. The border should be
nearly half an inch high, thus converting the plate into a
shallow dish. This dish is half filled with a mixture of one
part of nitric acid and three parts of water. After this plate
has been exposed for a few minutes to this liquid, the acid is
poured off, the plate waslu;d with pure water and allowed to
dry. All the very delicate lines are then "stopped" out, as
it is called, by being coated by means of a camel-hair pencil
with varnish dissolved in turpentine. When this has dried,
the acid is poured back again and allowed to act on the coarser
lines, and the more frequently this process is introduced, the
more perfect will be the ultimate result.

When the lines have all been etched to the required depth,
the varnish is removed by warming the plate and washing
with turpentine. A copper-plate press is used to take off the
impressions.

The process of etching is very simple, and the results very
satisfactory. As an artistic recreation, it is capable of afford-
ing a great deal of pleasure.

The art of cutting names, etc. , on steel tools and other ob-
jects, is very simple and useful. The following give,,? ^cood
results :

Etching Liquid for Steel. Mix 1 oz. sulphate of copper,
oz. of alum, and & a teaspoonful of salt reduced to powder,
with 1 gill of vinegar and 20 drops of nitric acid. This liquid
may be used either for eating deeply into the metal or for
imparting a beautiful frosted appearance to the surface,
according to the time it is allowed to act. Cover the parts
you wish to protect from its influence with beeswax, tallow,
or some similar substance.



44 THE WOBEBHOP COMPANION.

Etching on Glass. Fancy work, ornameiit.nl figures, letter-
ing and monograms, are most easily and neatly cut into glass
by the sand "blast process, a simple apparatus' for which will
be found described in the Young Scientist. Lines and figures
on tubes, jars, etc., may be deeply etched by smearing the
surface of the glass with beeswax, drawing 'the lines with a
steel point, and exposing the glass to the fumes of hydro-
fluoric acid. This acid is obtained by putting powdered
fluorspar into a tray made of sheet lead and pouring sulphuric
acid on it, after which the tray is slightly warmed.

The proportions will, of course, vary with the purity of
the materials used, fluorspar (except when in crystals) being
generally mixed with a large quantity of other matter, but this
point need not affect the success of the operation. Enough
acid to make a thin paste with the powdered spar will be
about right. "Where a lead tray is not at hand, the powdered
spar may be poured on the glass, and the acid poured on it
and left for some time. As a general rule, the marks are
opaque, but sometimes they are transparent. In tins case,
cut them deeply and fill up with black varnish, if they are
required to be very plain, as in the case of graduated vessels.

Liquid hydrofluoric acid has been recommended for
etching, but as it leaves the surface on which it acts trans-
parent, it is not suitable.

The agent which corrodes the glass is a gas which dees
not remain in the mixture of fluorspar and sulphuric acid,
but passes off in the vapor. To mix fluorspar and sulphuric
acid and keep it in leaden bottles under the idea that tho
mixture is hydrofluoric acid, is a gross mistake. Such an
idea could enter into the head of none but the compiler of a
cyclopaedia of recipes.

Eye, Accidents to.

Those who are engaged in mechanical operations run great
risk of accidents to the eye, and therefore a few hints in re-
gard to this subject may be valuable to our readers.

Minute particles of dust, sand, cinders, small flies, etc.,
are best removed by means of a camel-hair brush or pencil,
moistened but not wet, and drawn to a fine point. The brush
will absorb the moisture of the eye and with it will take up
the mote, provided the latter has not been driven into the
eyeball. "Where a brush is not at hand, a thin strip of soft



THE WORKSHOP COMPANION. 45

paper, rolled spirally so as to form a fine point, is tlio best
thing.

The ragged chips and splinters which are separated during
the processes of turning and chipping off, often find their
way into the eye, and are sometimes very difficult to remove.
The use of magnets has been recommended, but even tho
strongest magnet is entirely inefficient, if the splinters bo
imbedded. In such a case, if the operator be gifted with a
steady hand and firm nerves, the best instrument for remov-
ing the offending particle is a good, sharp pen-knife. Indeed,
we prefer it in every case as being far superior to softer
articles. In simple cases let the patient stand up with his
head firmly held against a door-post; turn back the eyelids
with the fingers; find the speck, and by passing the knifo
gently but firmly over the ball, you may sweep it up. Where
the splinter is actually imbedded in the eye, lay the patient on
his back on a table; turn the eyelids back, and fix them by .
means of a ring, and then you will find yourself free to
operate without danger of interference from the patient'??
winking. A suitable ring may be found in most bunches of
keys, or any mechanic can make one in two minutes out of a
piece of stiff iron wire. Iron splinters always have ragged
edges, and can be caught on the fine, sharp edge of a knife
and lifted out. But although we recommend the use of a
sharp knife, it must be remembered that no cutting of the
eyeball is to be permitted in any case, except by an ex-
perienced occulist.

Where the person who is operating is at all nervous or
timid, it will not do to use a knife. In this case, take some
soft, white silk waste and wind it round a splinter of wood
so as to completely cover the end and form a little brush of
looped threads. Tie it fast. When such a brush is swept
over that part of the eyeball where the offending substance
is imbedded, the latter will soon be entangled in the threads
and may be easily drawn out.

In all such cases a good magnifier will be found of great
assistance. The best form is perhaps a good watchmaker's
glass.

When corrosive chemicals, such as oil of vitriol, nitric acid,
corrosive salts, etc., find their way into the eye, the best
application is abundance of pure cold water. The eye should
be held open and well washed out. When any irritating sub-



46 THE WOKKSHOP COMPANION.

stance 'gets into the eye, the lid is apt to close spasmodically,
and if allowed to remain so, no water can get in.

In the case of lime, however, the action of water woulO
only increase the difficulty. A little vinegar and water forma
the best wash for liine, potash, soda, or ammonia.

Fires.

Most of the fires tho-fr occur might be avoided by proper
care, and the following hints, if carefully observed, will aid
materially in avoiding such accidents:

1. Never leave matches where they can be reached by
children, and if one should fall on the floor, be careful and
search for it until you find it. A match, when trodden on,
readily ignites, and if unobserved may cause a serious fire, or
what is more likely, set a lady's dress in flames. Rats and
mice have a great fondness for matches, and often carry them
oil' to their holes, where, by nibbling, they set them on firo.
Always keep matches in tin boxes, and never in paper pack-
ages.

2. Children should be strictly prevented from playing with
fire, and severely punished if caught so offending. It is far
better that they should undergo the inconvenience of a little
wholesome chastisement than either set the house on fire,
disfigure themselves for life, or be burnt to death, from the
want of being severely punished for disobedience.

3. Never leave a lamp or candle burning at your bedside
on a table when you go to bed, and avoid reading in bed;
this is a most fruitful cause of loss of life and property.

4. If a piece of paper is used to light a lamp, see that it is
properly extinguished before leaving it, as it will sometimes
burst out on fire after it is supposed to have been completely
extinguished.

5. If there be an escape of gas, so that the smell of it is
very apparent, open the door and windows immediately to
allow its escape, and facilitate the entrance of fresh air; and
above all things avoid coming any way near with a light of
any description. As soon as you can, shut off the gas at the
meter.

6. Be careful about stove-pipes passing through lath pai-
titions; about kindling wood left in the oven over night to
dry, and about the ash-box. Never keep ashes in a wooden
vessel under any circumstances whatever, and never go to.



THE WORKSHOP COMPANION. 47

bed at night without seeing that every possible cause for an
accidental tire has been removed. Allow no linen or cotton
clothes to hang near a stove over night lor the purpose of
drying them.

1. There never yet was a fire which a single pail of water,
if applied in time, would not have quenched, therefore never
go to bed without having a few pails of water at hand, and a
dipper with which to throw it on the fire. Water can never
be so well applied if thrown from the pail itself. Spontaneous
combustion is no imaginary danger, therefore never leave
heaps of oiled rags and similar rubbish lying around.

As most of us are liable to be caught in a burning build-
ing, it would be well for us to impress the following hints
upon the mind, as they may stand us in good stead if a iiro
should occur:

1. Every householder should make each person in his
house acquainted with the best means of escape, whether the
lire breaks out at the top or at the bottom. In securing the
street door and lower windows for the night, avoid compli-
cated fastenings or impediments to an immediate outlet in
case of fire.

2. Inmates, at the first alarm, should endeavor to reflect
what means of escape there are in the house; if in bed at the
time, wrap themselves in a blanket or bedside carpet; open
neither windows nor doors more than necessary; shut every
door after them. This is most important to observe.

3. In the midst of smoke it is comparatively clear toward
the ground, consequently progress through "the smoke can
be made on the hands and knees. A silk handkerchief,
worsted stockings, or other flannel substance wetted and
drawn over the face, permits free breathing, and excludes, to
a great extent, the smoke from the lungs. A wet sponge is
alike efficacious.

4. In the event of being unable to escape, either bj the
street door or roof, the persons in danger should immediately
make their way to a front room window, taking care to close
the door after them, and those who have charge of the house-
hold should ascertain that every individual is there assembled.

5. Persons thus circumstanced should never precipitate
themselves from the windows while there remains the least
probability of assistance; and even in the last extremity a
plain rope" is invaluable, or recourse may be had to joining



43 THE WORKSHOP COMPANION.

sheets or blankets together, fastening one end round the bed-
post or other furniture. This will enable one person to
lower all the others separately, and the last may let himsdt
down with comparatively little risk. Select a window over
the doorway rather than over the area.

Clothes VH, Fire. So many accidents are daily occurring
from broken kerosene lamps, and clothes taking fire from
gas lights and open fire-places, that it is very important to
know what to do under such circumstances. Three persons
out of four would rush right up to the burning individual,
and begin to paw with their hands without any aim. It is
useless to tell the victim to do this or that, or call for water.
In fact it is generally best not to say a word, but seize a
blanket from a bed, or a cloak, or any woolen fabric if none
is at hand, take any heavy material hold the corners as far
apart as you can, stretch them higher than your head, and
running boldly to the person, make a motion of clasping in
the arms, just about the shoulders. This instantly smothers
the lire and saves the face. The next instant throw the un-
fortunate person on the floor. This is an additional safety
to the face and breath, and any remnant of flame can be put
out more leisurely. "When the person whose clothes take fire
is alone, the danger is not unfrequently increased by the
sufferer running about in a state of alarm; whereas it would
be better for him to roll on the floor until the fire is extin-
guished, or better still, to cover himself with a loose carpet,
rug, or blanket, to exclude the air, till a sufficient supply of
water is obtained to throw over him. In either case, after the
fire has been put out, the individual should be placed on a
bed, and the clothes removed piecemeal by cutting them off;
much caution is required in taking away the body linen
without tearing off the skin, and where the linen sticks, so
much only should be cat off as can be detached readily.

Fire Proof Dresses. Some years ago Queen Victoria ap-
pointed a commission to investigate this subject. It was
found that there were but four salts which were applicable
to light fabrics: 1, Phosphate of ammonia; 2, a mixture of
phosphate of ammonia and chloride of ammonia; 3, sulphate
of ammonia; 4, tungstate of soda. Of these, the best was
tungstate of soda, a salt which is not by any means expensive.
Sulphate of ammonia is objectionable, from the fact that it
acts on the irons and moulds the fabric. The tungstate of



THE WORKSHOP COMPANION. 49

X.

soda is neither injurious to the texture or color, or in any
degree difficult of application in the washing process. The
iron passes over the material quite as smoothly as if no solu-
tion had been employed. The solution increases the stiffness
of the fabric, and its protecting power against fire is perfect.
Tliis salt offers only one difficulty, viz: the formation of a
bitungstate, of little solubility, which crystallizes from the
solution; but it was found that a very small percentage of
phosphate of soda rendered the tungstate quite stable. The
best method of applying these salts is to take one ounce of
tungstate of soda and a quarter of an ounce of phosphate of
soda, and dissolve them in a quart of water. The goods aro
moistened with this solution before being starched, and they
may be afterwards ironed and finished without the least
difficulty.

Articles prepared in this way are perfectly uninflammable.
They may be charred by exposure to fire, but they do not
burn readily unless there is some extraneous source of heat,


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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 4 of 16)