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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70 THE WORKSHOP COMPANION.

dilute, and to distract the attention of those not in the
secret, write some unimportant matter, in lines far apapt,
and between them write the private matter in secret or sym-
pathetic ink.

Inks for Rubber Stamps and Stencils. 1. Black. Rub to-
gether one part of finest lampblack and 2 parts of Prussian
blue with a little glycerin, then add 1 part powdered gum
arabic, and enough glycerin to form a thin paste.

2. Carmine. Dissolve 24 grains of carmine in 3 fl. oz. of
water of ammonia, then add 2 fl. drachms of glycerin.
Incorporate with this oz. of powdered gum arabic.

3. Blue. Hub together 6 parts of pure Prussian blue and
1 part oxalic acid with a little water, to a perfectly smooth
paste. Let it stand in a rather warm place over night, then
rub it with more water, and with 1 part of gum arabic to a
thin paste.

4. Aniline inks may be made of any desired shade in the
same manner. The best way of using these inks is by ap-
plying them, by means of a small pad, uniformly to a little
cushion, on which the stamps are then inked.

The above formulae have been tested by experience, and
are said to give good results. Another set of formulae, also
highly recommended, is the following:

5. Black. Finest lampblack, 10 parts ; powdered gum
arabic, 4 parts ; glycerin, 4 parts ; water, 3 parts. Dissolve
the gum arabic in the water, add the glycerin, then rub the
lampblack with the mixture in a mortar.

6. Colored. Replace the lampblack in the above formula
by the appropriate color ; chrome-yellow for yellow ; red
lead or red ochre for red ; green, ultramarine, or chrome-
green for green ; indigo or Prussian blue, or blue ultramarine
for blue ; umber for brown, etc.

Ink Eraser.

A good ink eraser is thus made : Take of chloride of lime,
one pound, thoroughly pulverized, and four quarts of soft
water. The above must be thoroughly shaken when first put
together. It is required to stand twenty-four hours to dis-
solve the chloride of lime ; then strain through a cotton cloth,
after which add a teaspoonful of acetic acid to every ounce
of the chloride of lime water. The eraser is used by revers-
ing the penholder into the fluid, and applying it, without



THE WORKSHOP COMPANION. 71

rubbing, to the word, figure, or blot required to be erased.
When the ink has disappeared, absorb the fluid with a blot-
ter, and the paper is immediately ready to write upon again.
Chloride of lime has before been used with acids for the
purpose as above proposed ; but in all previous processes th^3
chloride of lime has been mixed with acids that burn and
destroy the paper.
Inlaying.

Inlaying is a term applied to work in which certain figures
which have been cut out of one kind of material are filled up
with another of a different color. Such work is known as
marquetry, and also as Boule work, and Beisner work, from
the names of two famous French artists.

The simplest method of producing inlaid work in wood, is
to take two thin boards, of wood or veneers, and glue them
together with paper between, so that they may be easily sep-
arated again. Then, having drawn the required figures on
them, cut along the lines with a very fine, hair-like saw.
This process is known as counterpart sawing, and by it the
pieces removed from one piece of wood, so exactly corres-
pond with the perforations in the other piece, that when
the two colors are separated and interchanged, the one mate-
rial forms4he ground and the other the inlay or pattern. If
the saw be fine and the wood very dry when cut, but after-
wards slightly damped when glued in its place, the joint is
visible only on very close inspection, and then merely as a fine
line. After being cut, the boards or veneers are separated
(which is easily done by splitting the paper between them),
and then glued, in their places on the work which they are to
ornament.

Imitation Inlaying. Suppose an oak panel with a design
inlaid with walnut is wanted. Grain the panel wholly in oil.
This is not a bad ground for walnut. When the oak is dry,
grain the whole of the panel in distemper. Have a paper
with the design drawn thereon, the back of which has been
rubbod with whiting, place it on the panel, and with a
pointed stick trace the design. Then with a brush and quick
varnish trace the whole of the design. When the varnish is
dry, with a sponge and water remove the distemper, where
the varnish has not touched. This, if well executed, pre-
sents a most beautiful imitation of inlaid wood. Marbles
are executed in a similar manner.



72 THE WORKSHOP COMPANION.

Iron.

This is undoubtedly the most important metal used in the
arts. Directions for working it, such at least as would be
valuable to professional blacksmiths, would occupy more
space than we can afford, and we therefore content ourselves
with a few hints for amateurs.

Forging. As a general rule, those who are not practical
blacksmiths had better take their work to a smith's shop.
Cases may, however, arise where it is necessary to forgo
some little job, and the following hints may prove of use.

In working iron a great deal depends upon the degree of
heat to which it is raised. Blacksmiths distinguish five
degrees, which they name as follows :

1. The black-red heat, just visible by daylight.

2. The low-red heat.

3. The bright red heat, when the black scales may be seen.

4. The white heat, when the scales are scarcely visible.

5. The welding heat, when the iron begins to burn with
vivid sparks.

Of these temperatures the 1st, 2nd and 3rd are easily at-
tained in a common stove or grate. It requires good man-
agement to secure the 4th in a common stove, and the 5th
can hardly be obtained without a blast. The higher the
temperature the softer and more easily worked the metal
becomes, and the less liable to crack or split ; and as good
iron is not easily spoilt, like steel, by a high heat, it is always
best to get the metal pretty soft.

Welding. This operation requires considerable skill. The
two great points to be attended to in making a perfect weld
are that the metal shall be brought to a proper temperature,
and that the surfaces to be united shall be perfectly clean.
The latter point can only be secured by protecting the iron
from the action of the air by means of some flux. Sand is
generally used by blacksmiths and answers very well-. When
sand is brought into contact with oxide of iron at a high
temperature, it combines with it and forms a fusible glass
which flows over the surface of the iron and is easily driven
out of the joint by pressure. Borax makes a still more fusi-
ble flux and may be successfully used by amateurs, but is too
expensive for common use.

When two surfaces of iron, which have been cleansed by
means of sand or borax, are brought together at a high heat



THE WORKSHOP COMPANION. . 73

and forcibly pressed into contact by hammering or pressure,
they unite to form a solid mass. Bearing these principles in
mind, a little practice will soon enable any one to make a re-
spectable joint by welding.

Case-hardening. This process is simply the conversion of
tho surface of a piece of iron into steel. Case-hardened arti-
cles, when plunged into cold water while highly heated, be-
come as hard as the hardest steel, but they may be annealed
and softened so as to be easily worked with files and turning
tools, and afterwards hardened again so as to be as durable
as ever. There are several processes for performing this op-
eration. The following have been tested by experience :

1. Where it is desired that the articles should be hardened
to a considerable depth : Char a quantity of bones, just
enough (and no more) to enable you to powder them with a
hammer. Lay a layer of this bone dust over the bottom of
an iron tray or box, which may be easily made by bending
heavy sheet iron into form. Lay the articles to be hardened
on the bone dust, taking care that they do not touch each
other. Cover with bone dust and fill up the tray with spent
dust, charcoal or sand. Expose to a bright cherry red heat
for half an hour or an hour, and then turn the entire contents
of the tray into a vessel of cold water. We have seen beau-
tiful results obtained by this process when carried out in a
common kitchen stove.

Even raw bone dust, such as is sold for farming purposes,
may be used with good .results. Pieces of gas pipe make
good receptacles to hold the work, the ends being stopped
with iron plugs. When packing the articles in the tubes or
trays, see that they do not touch each other.

Bone black or ivory black may also be used, and, as they
may be purchased ready prepared, we may avoid the disa-
greeable process of roasting the raw material.

As this roasting of bones, leather, etc., gives rise to most
abominable odors, the author of this manual some years ago
devised the following preparation, which was found to give
very excellent results. Prepare a strong solution of prussiate
of potassa, boil in it as much coarsely-powdered wood char-
coal as can be mixed with it. Drain off the superfluous
liquid, spread the charcoal on a board, and dry by exposure
to the air. When dry, roast it at a temperature just below
that of ignition, the object being to drive off all moisture,



74 A HE WORKSHOP COMPANION.

but not to decompose the prussiate, which, at a red heat, is
converted into cyanide of potassium and some other com-
pounds. The charcoal thus prepared, and afterwards re-
duced to a moderately fine powder, will be found to answer
quite as well as animal charcoal, and no difficulty will be
found in case-hardening to a depth which will allow of a good
deal of polishing before the soft metal underneath is reached.

2. Where mere superficial hardening is required, heat the
article to be hardened to a bright red ; sprinkle it liberally
with powdered prussiate of potash. The salt will fuse, and
if the piece of iron is small and gets cooled, heat it again and
plunge into cold water.

Rust and Corrosion. Iron is easily corroded by even the
weak acids. Sulphuric acid, nitric acid, and hydrochloric
acid all act on it quickly and powerfully. Air and moisture
also quickly corrode it. It is a curious fact that carbonate
of soda protects iron very perfectly from rust. We have
seen a piece of iron that had been kept in a solution of soda
for twenty years, and yet was quite bright.

There are several methods of protecting iron from rust.
Painting, varnishing, tinning, zincing, etc., have all been
tried with good effect. Painting and varnishing need no re-
marks. Where bright work is to be temporarily protected,
however, a paint of white lead and tallow may be used.
This will not dry, and may be easily and quickly removed
with a little turpentine.

Zincing Iron. The following is an excellent and cheap
method i'or protecting from rust, iron articles exposed to the
atmosphere, such as cramp-irons for stone, etc. : They are to
be first cleansed by placing them in open wooden vessels, in
water containing three-fourths to one per cent, of common
sulphuric acid, and allowed to remain in it until the surface
appears clean, or may be rendered so by scouring with a rag
or wet sand. According to the amount of acid, this may re-
quire from six to twenty-four hours. Fresh acid must be
added according to the extent of use and of the liquid ; when
this is saturated with sulphate of iron, it must be renewed.
After removal from this bath, the articles are rinsed in fresh
water, and scoured until they acquire a clean metallic surface,
and then kept in water in which a little slaked lime has been
stirred, until the next operation. When thus freed from rust,
they are to be coated with a thin film of zinc, while cold, by



THE WORKSHOP COMPANION. 75

means of chloride of zinc, which may he made \,j filling a
glazed earthen vessel, of about two-thirds gallon capacity,
three-fourths full of muriatic acid, Lid adding zinc clippings
until effervescence ceases. The liquid is then to be turned
off from the undissolved zinc, and preserved in a glass vessel.
For use, it is poured into a sheet-zinc vessel, of suitable size
and shape for the objects, and about. 1 "80 per cent, of its
weight of finely powdered sal ammoniac added. The articles
are then immersed in it, a scum of line bubbles forming on
the surface in from one to two minutes, indicative of the
completion of the operation. The articles are next drained,
so that the excess may flow bauk into the vessel. The iron
articles thus coated with a fine film of zinc are placed on'
clean sheet iron, heated from beneath, and perfectly dried,
and then dipped piece by piece, by means of tongs, into very
hot (though not glowing) molt 311 zinc, for a short time, until
they acquire the temperature of the zinc. They are then
removed and beaten, to cause the excess of zinc to fall off.

Cold Process for Zmcfuf/ Iron. The metal is first cleaned
by being placed in a bath made up of water, 1,000 litres ;
chlorhydric acid, 550 litres ; sulphuric acid, 50 litres ; glycer-
ine, 20 litres. On being removed from this bath, the metal
is placed jn a bath containing 10 per cent, of carbonate of
potassa, and is next transferred to a metallizing bath, consist-
ing of water, 1,000 litres ; chloride of tin, 5 kilos. ; chloride
of zinc, 4 kilos. ; bitartrato of potassa, 8 kilos. ; acid sulphate
of alumina, 4 kilos. ; chloride of aluminum, 10 kilos. The
metal is to be left in this mixture for from three to twelve
hours, according to the thickness of the layer of zinc to be
desired.

Tinning Iron. The surface of the iron is cleaned from scale
by vitriol or sulphuric acid, and then scoured with sand. It
is now coated with a strong solution of chloride of zinc, and
dipped into melted tin. The tin will instantly adhere t<~
every spot that is clean. v

Tinning Iron in the Cold. The chief point which requires
attention in this matter is that the tinning of iron in the cold
cannot succeed at all, unless the bath contains, in solution or
suspension, an organic substance like starch or glucose,
Although no precise scientific explanation of this indispensi-
ble condition has been hitherto given. To 100 litres of
water are added 3 kilos, of rye meal ; this mixture is boiled



76 THE WOKKSHOP COMPANION.

for half an hour, and next filtered through cloth ; to the
rlear but thickish liquid are added 100 kilos, of pyrophos-
p!iate of soda, 17 kilos, of protochloride of tin in crystals (so-
called tin-salt), 67 kilos, of neutral protochloride of tin, 100
to 120 grms. of sulphuric acid ; this liquid is placed in well-
made wooden troughs, and serves more especially for the
tinning of iron and steel wire (previously polished) for the
use of carding machines. When instead of the two sorts of
tin just named, cyanide of silver and cyanide of potassium
are taken, the iron is perfectly silvered.

Brightening Iron. A Bavarian serial contains a method of
brightening iron recommended by Boden. The articles to
be brightened are, when taken from the forge or the rolls, in
the case of such articles as plates, wire, etc., placed in dilute
sulphuric acid (1 to 20), cleansing the articles, which are
then washed clean with water and dried with sawdust. They
are then dipped for a second or so in nitrous acid, washed
carefully, dried in sawdust and rubbed clean. It is said that
iron goods thus treated acquire a bright surface, having a
white glance, without undergoing any of the usual polishing
operations. This is a process that those interested can easily
test for themselves. Boden states that the action of the sul-
phuric acid is increased by the addition of a little carbolic
acid, but it is difficult to see what effect this can have, and it
may very well be dispensed with.

To Remove the Blue Color Imparted to Iron and Steel l>y ex-
posure to Heat Rub lightly with a sponge or rag dipped in
diluted sulphuric, nitric, or hydrochloric acid. When the
discoloration is removed, carefully wash the article, dry it
by rubbing, warm it and give a coat of oil or it will rapidly
rust.

Ivory.

Ivory is obtained from the tusk of the elephant, and
although material nearly resembling it may be obtained from
other animals, yet the true ivory stands unequalled r,s a ma-
terial for ornamental turning and carving. It is not so brittle
as bone, neither does it splinter so much when broken, and
as it is entirely free from the vessels or pores which permeate
all bone, the finished articles have a much more solid and
even appearance. Although distinctly fibrous it cannot be
torn up in filaments like \>one or divided into thin leaves,



THE WORKSHOP COMPANION. 77

except by the saw. It is in all respects the most suitable
material for ornamental turning, as it is capable of receiving
the most delicate linos and of being cut in the most slender
proportions. But while it is thus valuable as a material for
ornamental work, it is useless for any article requiring ac-
curacy in its dimensions such for example as the scales of
draughtsmen and the graduated arcs of instruments for mea-
suring angles. Owing to the great alterations which it sus-
tains under slight atmospheric changes it cannot be relied
upon, aud has been condemned officially by the survey com-
missioners of almost all countries.

It is imagined by some that ivory may be softened #o as to
admit of being moulded like horn or tortoise shell. Its
different analysis contradicts this expectation ; thick pieces
suffer no change in boiling water, thin pieces become a littler
more flexible, and thin shavings give off their jelly, which sub-
stance is occasionally prepared from them. It is true that the
caustic alkali will act upon ivory as well as upon most animal
substances, yet it only does so by decomposing it. Ivory,
when exposed to the alkalies, first becomes unctuous or sapo-
naceous on its outer surface, then soft, if in thin plates, and
it may be ultimately dissolved provided the alkali be concen-
trated ; -but it does not in any such case resume its first con-
dition. '

Working and Polishing Ivory. As a material to be worked
oy the mechanic, ivory stands midway between wood and
brass, and is turned and cut by tools having more obtuse
angles than those employed for wood, and yet sharper than
those used for brass. It may be driven at a fair speed in the
lathe, and is easily sawed by any saw having fine teeth.

The tools used for cutting and turning ivory should have
their edges very finely finished OP an oil stone so that they
may cut smoothly and cleanly.

Turned works with plain surfaces may in general be left so
smooth from the tool as to require but very little polishing, a
point always aimed at with superior workmen by the employ-
ment of sharp tools. In the polishing of turned works very
fine glass paper or emery paper is first used, and it is rendered
still finer and smoother by rubbing two pieces together face
to face ; secondly, whiting and water as thick as cream is
then applied on wash leather, linen, or cotton rag, which
should be thin that the fingers may the more readily feel and



78 THE WORKSHOP COMPANION.

avoid the keen fillets and edges of the ivory work, that would
be rounded by excessive polishing ; thirdly, the work is
washed with clean water, applied by the same or another
rag ; fourthly, it is rubbed with a clean, dry cloth until all
the moisture is absorbed, and, lastly, a very minute quantity
of oil or tallow is put on the rag to give a gloss.

Scarcely any of the oil remains behind, and the apprehen-
sion of its being absorbed by the ivory and disposing it to
turn yellow may be discarded ; indeed the quantity of oil
used is quite insignificant, arid its main purpose is to keep
the surface of the ivory slightly lubricated, so that the rag
may not hang to it and wear it into rings or groovy marks.
Putty powder is sometimes used for polishing ivory work,
but it is more expensive and scarcely better suited than
whiting, which is sufficiently hard for the purpose.

The polishing of irregular surfaces is generally done with
a moderately hard nail brush, supplied with whiting and
water, and lightly applied in all directions, to penetrate every
interstice ; after a period the work is brushed with plain
water and a clean brush, to remove every vestige of tho
whiting. The ivory is dried i/y wiping and pressing it with
a clean linen or cotton rag, and is afterwards allowed to dry
in the air, or at a good distance from the fire ; when dry a
gloss is given with a clean brush on which a minute drop of
oil is first applied.

It is better to do too 1iH7o polishing at first, so as to need
a repetition of the proct:.,,,. , .dlier than by injudicious activity
to round and obliterate all the delicate points and edges of
the Avorks, upon the preservation of which their beauty
mainly depends.

Bleaching and Cleaning Ivory. In reply to the question,
What means there are of bleaching ivory which has become
discolored ? Holtzapffel. the great authority on such subjects,
tells us that he regrets to be obliged to say that he is unac-
quainted with any of value. It is recommended in various
popular works to scrub the ivory with Trent sand and water,
and similar gritty materials ; but these would only produce
a sensible effect by the removal of the external surface of the
material, which would be fatal to objects delicately carved by
hand or with revolving cutting instruments applied to the
lathe.

It is a well known fact that ivory suffers the least chunge



THE WORKSHOP COMPANION. 79

of color when it is exposed to the light and closely covered
with a glass shade. ' It assumes its most nearly white condi-
tion when the oil with which it is naturally combined is re-
cently evaporated ; and it is the custom in some thin works,
such as the keys of pianofortes, to hasten this period, by
placing them for a few hours in an oven heated in a very
moderate degree, although the more immediate object is to
cause the pieces to shrink before they are glued upon tho
wooden bodies of the keys. Some persons boil the transpa-
rent ivory in pearl-ash and water to whiten it ; this appears
to act by the superficial extraction of the oily matter as in
bone, although it is very much better not to resort to tho
practice, which is principally employed to render that ivory
which is partly opaque and partly transparent, of more nearly
uniform appearance. It is more than probable, however,
that the discoloration of ivory is due to the oil which it con-
tains or has absorbed, and which becomes yellow and rancid,
and every effort should be made to prevent oily or greasy
bodies from coming in contact with ivory. Thus the keys
of a pianoforte should be kept clean by carefully washing
from the fingers the natural grease which all skin gives out.
Wlien ivory keys become very yellow they may be consider-
ably wliitened by allowing a paste of whiting, slightly
moisteiied with potash, to lie on them for twenty -four hours.
The potash extracts the oil which is absorbed by the chalk
and may be thus removed.

It is a well known fact that most oils and resins may bo
bleached by exposure to sunlight. It is by this means that
opticians render Canada balsam clear and transparent. It
has been found that pieces of apparatus made of ivory, such
as rules, etc., which have become yellow by age, may bo
bleached by dipping them in turpentine and exposing them
to sunlight.

The fumes of sulphur, chloride of lime, etc., though fre-
quently recommended, are of no value as bleachers of ivory.

Javelle Water.

This name was derived from the town of Javelle, in France,
where a manufactory sold a liquor which had the property
of bleaching cloth by an immersion of some hours only. The
following is the original recipe given by Gray in his " Oper-
ative Chemist": 2 Ibs. common salt, 2 Ibs of sulphuric



80 THE WORKSHOP COMPANION.

acid, and f Ib. of black manganese are mixed in a retort and
heated, and the gas which comes over is condensed in 2
gallons of water in which 5 Ibs. of potash have been dissolved.
This liquor is diluted with twelve times its bulk of water.

This process is available only by chemists, however. The
following gives good results : Take 4 Ibs. carbonate of soda,
and 1 Ib. chloride of lime ; put the soda into a kettle, add 1
gallon of boiling water and boil for from 10 to 15 minutes ;
then stir in the chloride of lime, breaking down all lumps
with a wooden spatula or stirrer. Pour into large glass
bottles ; when cold and settled it will be ready for use.

This forms a very efficient bleaching liquid and one which
it is not difficult to remove from the bleached fabric. Old


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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 7 of 16)