This section is from the book "Spons' Mechanics' Own Book: A Manual For Handicraftsmen And Amateurs", by Edward Spon. Also available from Amazon: Spons' Mechanics' Own Book.
There is no advantage in laying on the paint too thickly. A thick film takes longer to dry thoroughly than two thin films of the same aggregate thickness. Paint is thinned down or diluted with linseed-oil or turpentine. The latter liquid, when used in excess, causes the paint to dry with a dull surface, and has an injurious effect upon its stability. Sometimes the last coat of paint is mixed with varnish, in order to give it greater brilliancy. In this case, special care must be taken that the previous coats have thoroughly solidified, or cracks in the final coat may subsequently appear. The same remark applies when the surface of the paint is varnished. The turpentine with which the varnish is mixed has a powerful action upon the oil contained in the paint, if the latter is not thoroughly oxidized. The exterior of the paint is thus softened, and the varnish is enabled to shrink and crack, especially in warm weather.