This section is from the book "A Treatise On Architecture And Building Construction Vol4: Plumbing And Gas-Fitting, Heating And Ventilation, Painting And Decorating, Estimating And Calculating Quantities", by The Colliery Engineer Co. Also available from Amazon: A Treatise On Architecture And Building Construction.
119. Graining is, as already stated, the imitation of the natural veining and curl of woods, and is, in the first instance, done by laying an opaque ground in strong oil paint of the general color of the wood to be imitated, but much lighter. This, when dry, is to be covered with a coat of transparent color of proper hue and full depth, prepared either with turpentine or water color.
The operations given in detail in the description of the methods of imitating various woods are performed with common brushes. When the last coat is dry, the process called overgraining is commenced. This is executed with a variety of tools already described, consisting of broad, flat, and thin brushes, hair pencils of various sizes, also combs and rubbers, as described in Arts. 102 and 103.
These being, as occasion requires, dipped into turpentine or water, are passed quickly and lightly over the paint, so as to leave untouched, according to the skill and fancy of the grainer, the streaky grains, curls, and knots intended so to remain. The surface is then immediately wiped off with a rag, which takes up the upper coat of the paint, dissolved by the turpentine or water, leaving the graining as required, and exhibiting the ground between the lines. The various lines, eyes, veins, knots, etc. are then touched and retouched until the desired effect is obtained-the work being subsequently varnished. The skill and practice of the grainer are, of course, in these operations, greatly called into requisition -operations, by some so admirably executed, as to imply, in spite of anything stated to the contrary, a degree of taste, observation, and dexterity of hand, placing this art far in rank above that of plain painting.
120. The student must, for their faithful production, give special attention to the structure, growth, and ornamental character of various woods. A useful collection of wood specimens may for this purpose be obtained by acquiring a few feet of veneers, cut from each of several woods, such as those hereinafter named, or others. Glued on common pine plank, French polished, and oil rubbed, these veneers make an excellent set of grainer's samples.
The plain painter having previously given the new wood three or sometimes four coats of paint, the grainer commences his work by laying the graining ground, differing in composition according to the wood to be reproduced.
Bird's-Eye Maple. The ground is to be mixed of white lead and vermilion, of which latter only sufficient must be used to neutralize the blue tinge of the white lead, but not to give it a pink tint. The mixture must be rather oily, that is, it must contain a good quantity of oil, in order that the graining color may not be so much absorbed as if the surface were flatted, or coated with color mixed with turpentine. In order that the graining colors usually mixed with beer may adhere to the ground that has been painted in oil, it is necessary that the surface be prepared. This is done by passing over it with a sponge moistened with beer and rubbed with whiting; when this is dry, the distemper, or beer-mixed color, will work freely over the oil and adhere to it. This process is called cissing. The graining color, which is ground in beer instead of oil, consists of Vandyke brown, brown lake, drop black, or similar colors, according to the tint required, whether brown, yellow, or black maple. With a tool the color is laid over the whole panel and worked to a level with the mottler (Fig. 23). Then lights are taken out from the still wet color by dabbing the surface with the mottler, and at the same time drawing it along, by which means the color is, in certain places, removed. Soften the whole with the brush called the softener (Fig. 25) so set as to spread outwards and be rapidly as well as lightly drawn over the work, without leaving any brush marks. Next, with a thinner mottler, work around the edges of the lights, giving a pointed tendency to their forms, likewise filling in the finer work in the darker spaces. When this has again been softened, use the dabber (Fig. 24).