Raw umber alone is a very good colour for this, or a little burnt umber may be added to it, to make a warmer tint. The fluid used for this and all other distemper graining must be such as will so bind on the colour, that the varnishing may not bring it off; small beer is the best, or, if it cannot be conveniently procured, stronger beer diluted with water may do, but there is nothing so good as stale, common table-beer. It is only necessary to mix the beer with the colour after it has been carefully ground in water, and it is then fit for use. Sometimes the colour will not lay on the ground; it is then said to ciss: this may be remedied by wetting the work all over with a sponge and water, and drying it with a wash-leather. Only so much should be begun at one time as can be finished before it gets dry, which it will do in a few minutes, according to the weather. The colour should be laid on as evenly and as quickly as possible, with a suitable brush, and then the flat hog's-hair brush must be drawn over it, in a straight line, and in the direction of the intended grain; this will leave it streaky: it is then to be carefully pounced or patted with the flat side of the same brush, making the head of the brush advance before the hand, and in the direction of the grain.
This will make a very excellent imitation of the grain of oak, if it be well managed. The veins are to be wiped out with a piece of wet wash-leather, wrapped over the thumb nail. When this is dry, the shades may be strengthened by passing very lightly over it with weaker colour. Great care should be taken that it is quite dry before the varnish is laid on: it is not safe to varnish it in damp weather without fire being near it; but if it will bear the finger passing over it, it is dry enough.