Painting House. The art of covering with various suitable pigments the wood-work, plaster walls and ceilings, iron work, etc, of the interior and exterior of houses. It may be divided into three separate branches, viz.- plain painting, graining, and ornamental painting.
The material chiefly employed in plain painting is white lead. It is a carbonate of lead produced by the action of the vapour of vinegar on sheet lead; and, when ground up with linseed oil, forms the common white lead paint of commerce. See Ceruse. It is improved by being kept for several years. To produce the different tints, various colours are added to the white lead base, in quantity according to the intensity of the tint desired, amounting, sometimes, to an exclusion of the white lead in the upper or finishing coats. The following are the colours generally used by the house painter: -
White lead. Nottingham white. Flake white.
Burnt umber. Raw umber. Vandyke brown. Purple brown.
Spanish brown. York brown.
To bring these colours to a state fit for use, they are ground up with a small quantity of oil; but for painting in distemper, the colours must be ground up in water. Linseed oil is that which is in general use, and is quite sufficient for the purpose of the plain painter, especially when improved by being kept for several years, as it then loses a great part of its colour. It is obtained by pressure from the seed of flax. In very rare instances, where the least yellowness in the oil would be injurious, nut or poppy oil may be used with advantage.
Spirits of turpentine is largely employed in painting; it is obtained by distillation from crude turpentine, which is procured from the larch and fir-trees: being of a volatile nature, it is used by the painter to produce what is called a flat; it evaporates, and leaves the paint without the least shine. It is also employed in those situations where oil would not dry, as in the first coat on old work, which is likely to be a little greasy from smoke, etc.
To hasten the drying of paints, dryers are generally used. Those most in use are sugar of lead, litharge, and white copperas. These, when well ground, and mixed in small portions with paint, very much assist them in drying; indeed, some colours will not dry without them. Red lead is also an excellent dryer; and in cases where its colour is not objectionable, is much used. Sugar of lead is, however, the best dryer, though somewhat more expensive than the others. It should be observed, that, in the finishing coats of delicate colours, dryers are generally avoided, as they have a slight tendency to injure the colour. Linseed oil has sometimes a drying quality given to it by boiling with drying substances, which renders it extremely useful on some occasions. A very good drying oil is made by boiling one gallon of linseed oil with a quarter of a pound of litharge, or red lead, reduced to a fine powder. It must be kept slightly boiling for about two hours, or until it ceases to throw up any scum; when cold, the clear oil must be poured off, and kept for use.
The tools and apparatus employed by the plain painter are not very numerous; we shall mention the principal of them. The first in order is the grindstone and muller. This is an apparatus necessary to every painter, as the purity of the colours sold ready ground at the shops is not to be depended upon; and some colours, as lakes and Prussian blue, will not keep long after grinding. The grindstone is a slab of porphyry marble or granite, about two feet square; the chief requisite is, that it be hard, and close-grained.
The muller is a hard and conical-formed stone, the diameter of the base or rubbing surface of which should be about one-sixth of that of the grindstone, and the cone high enough to get a sufficient hold of it with the hands. The face of both grindstones and muller should be perfectly flat and smooth. A large palette knife is used to gather the colour from the stone as soon as it is sufficiently ground.
The palette is a small thin board, of an oval shape, having a hole in it for the thumb to pass through; it is used chiefly in ornamental painting, and for mixing up small portions of colour on. With this is employed the palette knife, for mixing up colours on the palette: it has a long, thin, and elastic blade, rounded at the extremity.
The most important of the painter's tools are the brushes: these are of all sizes, both round and flat, and are made chiefly of hog's-hair. The large round brush called the pound brush, and a smaller one called the tool, are those mostly used in plain work. The smallest hog's-hair brushes are called fitches, and are used for putting in small work where the tool would be too large. The pound brush is used as a duster for some time previous to putting it into colour, whereby it is rendered much softer. The smallest brushes are the camel-hair pencils, with long or short hair, according to the work to be done. The variety of brushes used in graining will be spoken of when we come to that division of the subject.
The stopping-knife has a shorter blade than the palette-knife, and is pointed. It is used for making good the holes and cracks with putty.
Putty is made of common whiting, pounded fine, and well kneaded with linseed oil, till it becomes about the consistence of stiff dough.