To protect the corners of blotting pads such as will be found on almost every writing desk, proceed as follows:
First, make a design of a size proportionate to the size of the pad and make a right-angled triangle, as shown in Fig. 1, on drawing paper. Leave a small margin all around the edge and then place some decorative form therein. Make allowance for flaps on two sides, as shown, which may later be turned back and folded under when the metal is worked. It should be noted that the corners of the design are to be clipped slightly. Also note the slight overrun at the top with the resulting V-shaped indentation.
To make a design similar to the one shown, draw one-half of it, then fold along the center line and rub the back of the paper with a knife handle or some other hard, smooth surface, and the other half of the design will be traced on the second side. With the metal shears, cut out four pieces of copper or brass of No. 22 gauge and with carbon paper trace the shape and decorative design on the metal. Then cut out the outline and file the edges smooth.
Cover the metal over with two coats of black asphaltum varnish, allowing each coat time to dry. Cover the back and all the face except the white background. Immerse in a solution of 3 parts water, 1 part nitric acid and 1 part sulphuric acid. When the metal has been etched to the desired depth, about 1-32 of an inch, remove it and clean off the asphaltum with turpentine. Use a stick with a rag tied on the end for this purpose so as to keep the solution off the hands and clothes. The four pieces should be worked at the same time, one for each corner.
It remains to bend the flaps. Place the piece in a vise, as shown in Fig. 2, and bend the flap sharply to a right angle. Next place a piece of metal of a thickness equal to that of the blotter pad at the bend and with the mallet bring the flap down parallel to the face of the corner piece, Fig. 3. If the measuring has been done properly, the flaps ought to meet snugly at the corner. If they do not, it may be necessary to bend back and either remove some metal with the shears or to work the metal over farther. All the edges should be left smooth, a metal file and emery paper being used for this purpose.
Illustration: Manner of Forming the Plates
If a touch of color is desired, it may be had by filling the etched parts with enamel tinted by the addition of oil colors, such as are used for enameling bathtubs. After this has dried, smooth it off with pumice stone and water. To keep the metal from tarnishing, cover it with banana-oil lacquer.