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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and they can not be made to burst into flame. By the aid of
this discovery, a lady dressed in the lightest muslin might
walk over a row of footlights, and the only result would be
that the lower part of her dress would be injured. Unless
her person actually came in contact * with the gas flames, she
hersqlf v would suffer no injury. In country places, where
tungstate of soda cannot be procured, a mixture of three
parts borax, and two and a half parts sulphate of magnesia,
in twenty parts of water, may be used with good effect.

Fly- Papers.

Sticky or adhesive fly-papers are to be discouraged, as
it is a cruelty to subject even flies to the long struggles and
slow death caused by it. Such papers, however, are occa-
sionally sold, and are prepared by coating paper with fac-
titious bird-lime. Or the bird-lime is smeared upon wooden
sticks standing in a base, for instance, a flower-pot, when
they will adhere to it. A better plan is to mix some poison
with the adhesive mass, but care should be taken lest chil-
dren get at it. Cooley gives the following formula: Treacle,
honey, or moist sugar mixed with about l-12th of their
weight of orpiment (yellow tersulphide of arsenic). Redwood's
formula is: Small quassia chips, oz. ; water, 1 pint; boil 10
minutes, strain, and add 4 oz. of treacle. Flies will drink
this with avidity, and are soon destroyed by it.



50 THE WoEKSflOP COMPANION.

Freezing Mixtures.

The temperatures here given are Fahrenheit. When ice or
snow are not to be had and it is desired to cool any solid,
liquid or gas, a good freezing mixture is the simplest method
ot accomplishing the object. The following mixtures are the
most convenient and efficient:

1. Nitrate of ammonia, carbonate of soda and water, equal
parts by weight. The thermometer sinks 57.

2. Phosphate of soda, 9 parts; nitrate of ammonia, 6 parts;
diluted nitric acid, (acid 1 part, water 2 parts,) 4 parts.
Reduces the temperature 71 or from 50 to 21.

3. Sal ammoniac, 5 parts; nitrate of potash, 5 parts; sul-
phate of soda, 8 parts; water, 16 parts. Reduces the tem-
perature 46 or from 70 to 24. This is one of the cheapest,
most readily procured, and most convenient of mixtures.

Freezing mixtures are often used when it is required to
produce a greater degree of cold than can be obtained by
the mere application of ice. When ice is at hand, as it gen-
erally is in this country, the following should be used:

1. Finely pounded ice, 2 parts; salt, 1 part. This mixture
reduces the temperature to 5.

2. Finely pounded ice, 2 parts; crystallized chloride of
calcium, 3 parts. Reduces the temperature from 32 to 40.

3. Finely pounded ice, 7 parts; diluted nitric acid, 4 parts.
Reduces the temperature from 32 to 30.

In every case the materials should be kept as cool as pos-
sible. Thus the ice should be pounded in a cooled mortar
with a cooled pestle, and the mixture should be made in ves-
sels previously cooled. By attention to these particulars it
is easy to freeze mercury at any time by means of these
simple and easily practiced methods, though, of course, tho
modern laboratory is provided with agencies of far greater
cooling power.

Fumigating Pastils.

For the purpose of deodorizing a room in which there is
an offensive smell, common coffee berries, and even rags or
brown paper, if properly burned, will serve admirably. The
smoke from these substances not only neutralizes the odors,
but really acts as a disinfectant to a slight extent. In burn-
ing coffee, paper or rags for this purpose, care must be taken
to prevent them from burning too freely. If they burn with



THE WORKSHOP COMPANION. 51

a free, bright flame, the proper effect will not be produced,
They should be allowed to smoulder quietly, and they do
this best when they are thrown on hot coala, or a hot shovel
and set on fire.

An excellent substitute for pastils is heavy brown paper,
which has been dipped in a solution of nitre and then dried.
This burns freely without name, and if it be dipped in a
solution of benzoin, the odor is very pleasant. The best
thing, however, is pastils. They are easily made as follows :

1. Paris Formula. Benzoin, 2 oz. ; balsam of tolu and
yellow sandal wood, of each 4 drachms; nitre, 2 drachms;
labdanum, 1 drachm; charcoal, 6 oz. Reduce to powder, mix
thoroughly and make into a stiff paste with gum tragacaiith.
Form into small cones and dry them in the air.

2. Formula of Henry and Guibourt. Powdered benzoin, 1G
parts; balsam of tolu and powdered sandal wood, each 4
parts; charcoal powder, 48 parts; powdered tragacaiith and
labdanum, each 1 part; powdered nitre and gum arabic, eacli
2 parts; make into a paste with 12 parts cinnamon water, form
into cones and dry.

3. The following formula is somewhat complex, but gives
very fine results : Take the charcoal of any light wood, 200
parts; gum benzoin, 100 parts; powdered sandal wood, 50
parts; balsam of tolu, 50 parts; Storax (Styrax calamita), 50
parts; gum olibanum, 50 parts; cascarilla bark, 100 parts;
cloves, 40 parts; cinnamon (Ceylon), 40 parts; potassium
nitrate, 75 parts. Reduce the ingredients to powder, and
mix them with oil of Ceylon cinnamon, 5 parts; oil of cloves,
5 parts; oil of lavender, 5 parts; balsam of Peru, 10 parts;
camphor, powdered, 1 part. Then add mucilage of traga-
caiith sufficient to make a mass which is to be formed into
conical cylinders about to 1 inch high, and ending at the
bottom in three projections. Dry them in a warm place.

Gilding.

A covering of gold, when judiciously applied to the proper
parts of any object adds greatly to its beauty, and in the case
of metals, such as steel, copper, silver, etc. , the gold, being
capable of resisting the action of most chemical agents, proves
a very perfect protector against corrosion. Metals are now
generally gilt by means of the electrotype process, though
the old method by means of an amalgam, is still used in some



52 THE WOKKSHOP COMPANION.

cases. Stamped goods, such as cheap jewelry, are also
made out of sheets of metal which, after being heavily gilt, are
rolled out thin, the gold being thus spread over an astonish-
ing extent of surface. For gilding leather, wood, etc. , gold
in the form of leaf or powder is generally used.

Gilding with Gold-Leaf. There are various methods appli-
cable, according to the different circumstances and the
character of the objects to be gilded. Book-binders use gold-
leaf in two ways to gild on the edge, and to place gold let-
ters on the binding. To gild on the edge, the edge is smoothly
cut, put in a strong press, scraped so as to make it solid, and
the well- beaten white of an egg or albumen put on thinly;
the gold-leaf is then put on before the albumen is dry; it "is
pressed down with cotton, and when dry polished with an
agate polisher. To put on the lettering, the place where the
letters are to appear is coated with albumen, and after it is
dry, the type to be used is heated to about the boiling point
of water, the gold-leaf put on, either on the book or on the
type, and then placed on the spot where the lettering is
desired, when the gold-leaf will adhere by the heat of the
type, while the excess of gold-leaf loosely around is rubbed
off with a tuft of cotton.

To do printing with gold-leaf, the sheet to be printed on is
pinned to the tympan of a hand-press, and it is first printed
with ink of any color, or with varnish, and then the type is
covered with a large sheet of paper, the gold-leaf laid on,
and the tympan laid down agp.in, slowly and carefully, so as
not to disturb the gold-leaf by motions of the air; then the
pressure is again applied, when the gold-leaf will stick to
the printed sheet, and the surplus can be rubbed off with a
tuft of cotton. Ordinary printing in gold, silver and bronze,
however, is done with powdered metal and not with leaf.
The printing is Jirst done with a varnish specially made for
the purpose; after the impression has been taken, the sheets
are allowed to lie a short time so as to dry a little, but not
completely, and while still tacky the gold, silver or bronze
powder is sprinkled over the letters. The powder adheres
to the varnish, and the surplus is easily removed by means
of a tuft of cotton.

In gilding picture-frames with gold-leaf there are two
methods; one with the ordinary gold size, the other with
varnish. The latter method does not allow polishing, but .is



THE WOBFSHOP COMPANION. 53

water-proof; the former is not. The main point is to have a
well prepared ground-work of say white lead and drying oil,
smoothed down properly; then follow several coats of cal-
cined white lead in linseed oil and turpentine, with intervals
of at least twenty-four hours between each coat, which must
be carefully smoothed off with pumice-stone and fine emery-
paper. Then the gold size is applied, which may be made from
the sediment that collects at the bottom of the pot in which
painters wash their brushes; this is thoroughly ground and
strained. When the gold size coat is sufficiently dry so as to be
a little sticky, apply the gold-leaf and press it on with cotton
or a soft brush; after a few days' hardening it is varnished
with spirits or oil varnish. This gives a water-proof gild-
ing, but ordinarily picture-frames are gilded with a gold size
containing no oil. It is made of finely ground sal ammoniac,
to which is added a very little beef suet; this is mixed with
a pallet-knife, with parchment size dissolved in water, so as
to flow from the knife when hot. The frame may be pre-
pared first with a few coats of Paris white and glue-water,
rubbed down smoothly, and finally apply the size, which
must not be too thick, as then it will chip off, and if too thin
it will not have sufficient body. The most difficult part in
all these operations of gold-leaf gilding, is the application of
the gold-leaf, which requires much practice, judgment, and
great care, but with some attention to little details it can be
easily learned. There ought to be no draught at the place
of operation and the operator ought to avoid allowing his
breath to blow upoa the gold leaves, as they are so thin and
light that the least breath of air causes them to fly about
worse than feathers. Turn the gold leaves one at a time
put of the book upon 'the leather cushion; with the gilding-
knife you may lift any leaf and carry it to a convenient place
to cut it into the sizes required. Blow gently on the center
of the leaf, and it will at once spread out and lie flat without
any wrinkles, then cut it by passing the edge of the knife
over it until divided. Place the work to be gilded as near as
practicable in a horizontal position, and with a long camels'-
hair pencil, dipj^ed in a mixture of water with a little brandy,
go over as much surface as the piece of gold is to cover; then
take up the gold from the cushion with a tip. Drawing it
over the forehead and cheek will dampen it sufficiently to
make the gold adhere. This must then be carefully trans-



54 THE WORKSHOP COMPANION.

ferred to its place on the work, and by gently breathing on
it, it will adhere. Take care that the part to which it is
applied be sufficiently wet, so that the gold-leaf will not
crack. Proceed in this way, a little at a time, not attempt-
ing to cover too much at once. If any cracks or flaws
appear, immediately apply another piece of gold-leaf over
it large enough to cover the crack. If occasionally the gold
does not appear to adhere, on account of the ground having
become too dry, run a wet pencil close to the edge of tho
gold, so as to allow water to penetrate under the gold-leaf.
When the work is dry (say in ten or twelve hours), it may be
burnished with an agate tool, taking care to first remove all
the dust from the tool as well as from the gilded surface.

Ornamental lines of gilding may be painted on wood and
other articles by means of a fine camel-hair brush, using
shell gold, which may be had at the artists' supply stores.
This forms a very good method of ornamenting work done
by the scroll saw, or carved work, such as frames, etc.

Gilding Steel Polished steel may be beautifully gilded by
means of the ethereal solution of gold. Dissolve pure gold
in aqua regia, evaporate gently to dryness, so as to drive off
the superfluous acid, re-dissolve in water and add three times
its bulk of sulphuric ether. Allow to stand for twenty -four
hours in a stoppered bottle and the ethereal solution of
gold will float at top. Polished steel dipped in this is at
once beautifully gilded, and by tracing patterns on the sur-
face of the metal with any kind of varnish, beautiful devices
in plain metal and gilt will be produced. For other metals
the electro process is the best.

Glass Working.

Glass is usually brought into shape by being moulded or
blown. Simple and complete directions for blowing small
articles may be found in the Young Scientist, vol. I, p. 37.

There are a few other operations, however, which are con
stantly needed by the amateur and which we will describe.

Cutting Glass. For cutting flat glass, such as window-
panes, and for cutting rounds or ovals out of flat glass, the
diamond is the best tool; and, if the operator has no diamond
it will always pay to carry the job to a glazier rather than
waste time and make a j^oor job by other and inferior means.
When, however, it is required to cut off a very little from a



THE -WOMSHO? COMf>ANM. S5

circle or oval, the diamond is not available, except in vert
skilful hands. In this case a pair of pliers softened by heat-
ing, or very dull scissors is the best tool, and the cutting i?
best performed under water. A little practice will enable
the operator to shape a small round or oval with great
rapidity, etise and precision. When bottles or flasks are to
be cut/ the diamond is still the best tool in skilful hands;
but ordinary operators will succeed best with pastils, or a
rod hot poker with a pointed end. We prefer the latter, as
being the most easily obtained and the most efficient; and we
have never found any difficulty in cutting off broken flasks
so as to make dishes, or to carry a cut spirally round a long
bottle so as to cut it into the form of a corkscrew. And, by
the way, when so cut, glass exhibits considerable elasticity,
nnd the spiral may be elongated like a ringlet. The process
is very simple. The line of the cut should be marked by
chalk or by pasting a thin strip of paper alongside of it;
then make a file mark to commence the cut; apply the hot
iron and a crack will start; and this crack will follow the
iron wherever we choose to lead it. In this way jars are
easily made out of old bottles, and broken vessels of different
kinds may be cut up into new forms. Flat glass may also
be cut into the most intricate and elegant forms. The red
hot iron is fa* superior to strings wet with turpentine, fric-
tion, etc.

Drilling Glass. -For drilling holes in glass, a common str*
drill, well made and well tempered, is the best tool. The
steel should be forged at a low temperature, so as to be sure
not to burn it, and then tempered as hard as possible in a
bath of salt water that has been well boiled. Such a drill
will go through glass very rapidly if kept well moistened
with turpentine in which some camphor has been dissolved.
Dilute sulphuric acid is equally good, if not better. It is
stated, that at Berlin, glass castings for pump-barrels, etc.,
are drilled, planed and bored, like iron ones, and in the same
lathes and machines, by the aid of sulphuric acid. A little
practice with these different plans will enable the operator to
cut and work glass as easily as brass or iron.

Turning Glass -in the Lathe. Black diamonds are now so
easily procured that they are the best tools for turning,
planing or boring glass where much work is to be done.
With a good diamond a skilful worker can turn a lens roughly



56 THE WORKSHOP COMPANION.

out of a piece of flat glass in a few seconds, so that it will be
very near the right shape,

A splinter of diamond may be very readily fastened in the
end of a piece of stout brass wire so that it may be used for
drilling or turning glass. Bore a hole the size of the splinter
and so deep that the diamond may be inserted beyond its
largest part, but leaving the point projecting. Then, by
means of a pair of stout pliers, it is easy to press the end of
the brass so that it will fill in around the diamond and hold
it tight. Diamonds are sometimes cemented in such holes
by means of shellac, or even solder run around them. This
answers for some purposes, but not for drilling or turning.

Fitting Glass Stoppws. Very few stoppers fit properly the
bottles for which they are intended. The stoppers and bot-
tles are ground with copper cones, fed with sand and made
to revolve rapidly in a lathe, and the common stock are not
specially fitted. To fit a stopper to a bottle that has not been
ground, use emery or coarse sand kept constantly wet with
water, and replaced with fresh as fast as it is reduced to
powder. When all the surface has become equally rough, it
is considered a sign that the glass has been ground to the
proper shape, as until that time the projecting parts only
show traces of erosion. This is the longest and hardest part
of the work, as after that the glass simply needs finishing
and polishing. For that purpose emery only can be used,
owing to the fact that the material can be obtained of any de-
gree of fineness, in this respect differing from sand. Other-
wise the operation is the same as before, the emery being
always kept moistened, and replaced when worn out. The
grinding is continued until both the neck of the bottle and
the stopper acquire a uniform finish, of a moderate degree of
smoothness, and until the stopper fits so accurately that no,
shake can be felt in it, even though it be not twisted irt
tightly.

Glass Stopper's. To remove glass stoppers when tightly
fixed, it has been recommended to apply a cloth wet in hot
water. This is an inconvenient and frequently unsuccessful
method. The great object is to expand the neck of the
bottle so as to loosen it on the stopper. If, however, the
latter be heated and expanded equally with the former, the
desired effect is not produced; and this is often the case in
applying hot water. By holding the neck of the bottle about



THE WOBKSifOP COMPANION. *7

half an inch above the flame of a lamp or candle, for a few
seconds, we have never failed in the most obstinate cases.
The hands should be wrapped in a towel, and great care
should be taken not to let the flame touch the glass, as this
might cause it to crack. The bottle should be kept rapidly
turning, during the operation, so as to bring all parts of the
neck equally under the influence of the heat, when it will be
i-apidly expanded and the stopper may be withdrawn by a
steady pull and twist. Sometimes it is necessary to tap the
stopper lightly with a piece of wood; the jar is very apt to
loosen the stopper. To twist the stopper, make, in a piece
of wood, an oblong hole into which the stopper will just fit.

Glass, To Powder. Powdered glass is frequently used in-
stead of paper, cloth, cotton or sand for filtering varnishes,
acids, etc. It is not soluble or corrodible. Sand, if purely
silicious, would be better, but such sand is difficult to get;
it too often contains matters which are easily corroded or
dissolved. Powdered glass when glued to paper is also used
for polishing wood and other materials. It cuts rapidly and
cleanly, and is better than sand for most purposes. Glass is
easily pulverized after being heated red hot and plunged into
cold water. It cracks in every direction, becomes hard and
brittle, and breaks with keenly cutting edges. After being
pounded in "a mortar it may be divided into powders of dif-
ferent degrees of fineness by being sifted through lawn sieves.

Glass, Imitation Ground Put a piece of putty in muslin,
twist the fabric tight, and tie it into the shape of a pad; well
clean the glass first, and then putty it all over. The putty
will exude sufficiently through the muslin to render the stain
opaque. Let it dry hard, and then varnish. If a pattern is
required, cut it out in paper as a stencil; place it so as not
to slip, and proceed as above, removing the stencil when
finished. If there should be any objection to the existence
of the clear spaces, cover with slightly opaque varnish. In
this way very neat and cheap signs may be painted on glass
doors.

^rlass Ware, Packing. Every one has this duty to perfonf
occasionally, and it is well to know how it should be done.
The safety of glass articles packed together in a box does not.
depend so much upon the quantity of packing material used,
as upon the fact that no two pieces of glass come into actual
contact. In packing plates, a single straw placed betrvveej)



63 THE WOKKSHOP ^ 'OMPANION.

two of them will prevent them from breaking each other. In
packing bottles in a case, such as the collecting case of the
microscopist, and the test case of the chemist, rubber rings
slipped over each, will be found the best and handiest pack-
ing material. They have this great advantage that they do
not give rise to dust.

Washing Glass Vessels. In many operations where glass
vessels are used, success will depend upon having the glass
perfectly clean. "Upon this subject a correspondent of the
Chemical News says: Such a subject may seem too simple, but
yet the more I see students at their work, the more I am im-
pressed with the fact that but few know how to wash a beaker-
glass clean. Some time since I took beakers from various
students in my laboratory (which they had washed and put
away), and held them under a powerful stream of water until
they were thoroughly wet. On taking them from under the
spout, in almost every case the water ran off the glass in
spots, showing that the glass was greasy. The best thing to
wash beakers, etc., with, according to my experience, is sand-
soap. Naturally, the sand must not be sharp. The soaps
containing infusorial earth are most excellent for this pur-
pose. Borax soap is also very efficacious. A piece of board
about 20 cm. long, 15 cm. wide, and 4 cm. thick, should be
screwed on to the right (inside) of the sink. In this block a
rectangular hole, about 2 cm. deep and 1 cm. smaller than
the section of the soap when stood on its long end, is to bo
cut. The bottom of the cake of soap is then whittled away
so that it fits tightly in the hole. It is now moistened am 1
pushed into the aperture, where it remains tightly iixed. 13y
wetting the right hand thoroughly, and rubbing on this soap
ridge, a good lather is made. With the soapy hand the glass
is rubbed and washed until, on taking it from under the
rtivitm, no oily spots appear, the glass appearing wet all over.
The beaker is then dried with a good towel (" glass towel ''),
jind finally polished with a piece of chamois or kid leather.
The final polish with kid is necessary, since the best towel
leaves fibres on the glass. In cleaning test tubes, it is onlv
necessary to rub the probang on the soap.

For cleaning flasks and bottles which have been soiled
with varnishes or resins, or for cleaning the glass slides used
for microscopic objects, proceed as follows: Remove all the
resin, varnislij etc., possible by means of Jiea.t r



THE WORKSHOP COMPANION. 59

scraping, and a solution of soda or potash. When the article
is as clean as possible, place it in strong sulphuric acid, to
which must be added as much powdered bichromate of
potassa.

The chromic acid will quickly destroy all organic matter,
and the article when washed in pure water will be found per-
fectly clean.

Grass.

Grass, To Shtin Dried. There are few prettier ornaments,
and none more economical and lasting, than bouquets of
dried grasses mingled with the various unchangeable flowers.
They have but one fault, and that is this, the want of other
colors besides yellow and drab or brown. To vary their
shade artificially, these flowers are sometimes dyed green.
This, however, is in bad taste and unnatural. The best effect
is produced by blending rose and red tints together, and with
a very little pale blue with the grasses and flowers as they
dry naturally. The best means of dyeing dried leaves, flow-
ers and grasses, is to dip them into the alcoholic solution of
the various compounds of aniline. Some of these have a
beautiful rose shade; others red, blue, orange and purpte.
The depth of color can be regulated by diluting, if necessary,
the original dyes, with alcohol, down to the shade desired.


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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 5 of 16)