The Manufacturer and Builder 7, 1877
(1855) Finishing Wood-Work.
I have a new dwelling, built in 1876; hall unfinished; doors, casings, stairs, etc., pine. How can I finish my hall in some nice way, different from the hum-drum graining ? which, in fact, we can never get well done here in the country. I have an idea that a gloss black, with a narrow line of gold color on the moldings, would be handsome. What is your opinion? and how can I make the gold color in the form of a paint? Or could I better finish it by staining the wood black so as to leave the grain visible? I notice a correspondent at Benton, Ill., says he had good success staining black; will you please give me the process. Of course, my work being up, I could not dip it, as you direct him in regard to red and other colors. How are halls now finished in good houses East?
- E. O. K., Cuyahoga Falls, O.
- We agree with you in regard to graining; it answers well enough if well done; but as it is commonly done in this country it is a mon-strosity. We have often stained pine wood by means of linseed oil in which a little burnt Sienna and Van Dyke brown were mixed. The Sienna alone is too reddish, and the Van Dyke brown alone too dull; but a mixture makes a fine shade, which you can vary by changing the proportions according to taste, and give it the appearance of mahogany, black walnut, and even rosewood. Do not stain with watery decoctions of logwood, Brazil wood, etc., as every nail, or even trace of iron, will cause very unsightly black spots; besides you cannot so well control the shade of color as you can with oil. After the oil is well dried, coat with amber varnish. If you wish a jet black, however, stain with a strong watery solution of extract of log-wood. Apply it with a brush, and after it is dry, with a diluted solution of bichromate of potash, and rub with a rag to remove the grayish film which will appear on the surface; if not jet black, repeat the operation. When the black is satisfactory, put on gold bands with yellow bronze powder mixed in a little varnish; mix a little at a time as it soon becomes very hard. When dry, coat the whole with a good varnish to give it a gloss, and the black with gold bands will be very handsome and distingue.
N. B. - You cannot stain black and leave the grain visible; only such colors as brown, etc., may show the original grain. It would be a very poor black indeed if it showed the grain ; a good black is uniform dead, no to speak. Good ebony shows no grain.