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.
(68) A good polish for walking-canes and other hard wood. - The following process gives the most satisfactory and hardest finished surface : Fill with best clear filler or with shellac; dry by heat; rub down with pumice; then put on 3 coats of clear spirit copal varnish, hardening each in an oven at a temperature as hot as the wood and gum will safely stand. For extra work, the 2 first coats may be rubbed down and the last allowed a flowing coat. For coloured grounds, alcoholic shellac varnish with any suitable pigment (very finely ground in) can generally be used to advantage.
(59) Mahogany. - The wood having been stained, paper off smooth with No. 0 glass-paper enough to give an even surface. Add 1/2 gill French polish, to 1/4 oz. best dragons' blood, well mix and strain through muslin; polish as usual; if wanted very dark, apply a. little dragons' blood to the rubber, but the rubber must be covered twice with linen rag.
(71) Satinwood or Maple. - 1/4 oz. chrome yellow to 1 gill light French polish; use as before described; a little chrome yellow on the rubber is desirable. In French polishing always use a drop of linseed on the rubber.
(72) Black and Gold Work. - The work to be polished and gilt must be stained with black stain; when quite dry, give a very weak solution of glue size, paper off smooth. Care must be used not to remove the black stain with the paper. The part to be gilt must not be touched with the size, or the gold will not adhere so well; polish the part not to be gilt according to directions given for French polishing, using the black polish drop black; when the work is polished ready for spiriting off, lay the work on a table in a warm room, procure a portion of the best oil gold size, pour in a cup, with a very fine stiff brush lay a thin even coat of gold size on the work, let the gold size dry for 2 hours till it becomes tacky, then having the gold leaf ready, with great care lay a leaf (or part of a leaf, as required) on the cushion, cut to size required with the tip, lay the gold leaf on the sized work, then with a pad made of white wadding press the gold leaf in the crevices, blow off surplus leaf; let it stand aside to dry; when quite dry, polish gently with a very smooth bone pointed (or a dog's tooth is best) fixed in handle. Surplus parts and the edges should be cleaned off evenly afterwards. Finish the black work off with spirits.
Very fine crevices may have gold leaf rubbed in with a brush, if used carefully, then blow off surplus parts. For commoner work, gold paint laid on with a brush answers very well.
(73) White and Gold. - Brackets, console tables, whatnots, chairs, and other furniture are frequently done in white and gold. The grain of the wood should be first filled in with whiting and glue size, one or two coats well papered off and white polished, but the wood should not be finished off with spirits until gilt, leaving the last coat to be done when the gilding is finished; the gilding is done as in (72).
(74) A cheaper mode and much easier for the amateur: First well clean the article (if not new) with soda and water; when dry, scrape and paper all over, stop up cracks with white-lead and driers, one of driers to two of white-lead; mix some good white paint made of turps, driers, and white-lead, not oil. Give the article 3 coats, rubbing down the first coat when dry with pumice and water; when the third coat of paint is quite dry, proceed to gild as before described, using either gold leaf or gold paint; when so done, give the gold a coat of transparent enamel varnish, after which varnish the white work with clear copal varnish. Give the work 2 coats; it will set in a day. Small boxes and other fancy articles may be done by this process.
(75) 1 pint linseed-oil, 1 oz. alkanet root, 1/4 oz. rose pink, boil for 1/4 hour, strain through muslin so that the oil may be clear; to use it pour a little oil on flannel; rub briskly. After 2 or 3 applications, the effect will be apparent.
(76) 1 pint best vinegar, 1 pint linseed-oil, 2 oz. gum arabic finely powdered; mix in a clean bottle for use. Requires no rubbing, merely laying on with a clean rubber of flannel.
(77) 1/4 lb. beeswax melted in an earthenware pot, add gradually 1/2 pint turps, coloured with 1/2 oz. alkanet root, add 1/2 pint linseed-oil; well mix, and keep in wide-mouth bottles for use. The bottles should be kept well corked. To use, wipe the dust from the furniture, apply a portion of the polish on a clean rubber of flannel, rub every part accessible, briskly finish off with an old silk handkerchief. This polish should not be used on new articles, it merely restores a gloss on old polished furniture.
(78) 1/2 pint rectified wood naphtha, 1 1/2 oz. shellac, 1/4 oz. benzoin; crush the gum, mix in a bottle; when dissolved it is ready for use. Keep on a shelf in a warm room until dissolved.
(79) Put 2 dr. shellac and 2 dr. gum benzoin into 1/2 pint best rectified spirits of wine in a bottle closely corked; keep the bottle in a warm place and shake frequently until the gums are dissolved; when cold add 2 teaspoonfuls of clean poppy oil; well shake it and it is fit for use. This finish can be carefully laid with a soft rubber or hair brush.