Varnish may be applied either to painted surfaces, or to the original surface of the wood; in the latter case it may either be plain, or stained with tints to darken the grain, or to imitate the colour of different woods.
"A priming coat, followed by a dark coat, such as chocolate or purple brown, and finished off with a coat of common varnish, is cheaper than and as durable as four coats of common colour, it looks better, is more rapidly executed, and stands washing well."1
Woodwork to be varnished should be very dry. The colour to be used should be ground up and dissolved with the varnish in the preliminary coats; the last coat should contain very little colour - better none at all.
" Walls may be coloured and varnished thus : - First apply at boiling heat two coats of whiting, mixed with strong glue size; then fill up defects with mastic and water, rub smooth with pumice-stone, and cover with two coats of coloured varnish, the first coat mixed with one quarter of the required colour, the last coat with only half as much colour; the colour should be ground very fine, and the varnish should be copal varnish."1