This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
THE following practical suggestions were embodied in an excellent article read recently before the Farmers' Club of this city, by H. E. Colton.
Paint on the farm is no longer a luxury; it is a matter of economy, and custom or fashion has made it a necessity. Its use on farm-houses and farm utensils is a matter of self-preservation. If the farmer would add to his store of funds by taking a few summer boarders, he must make his house attractive, pleasant, and neat. He cannot do this without paint. Hence, how and with what shall the farmer paint his house? If his house is in a grove of green trees, a light buff is best; if exposed, a drab, or French- gray. This for the body of the house, with window-blinds green, cornices and copings brown, light or dark, as may suit the taste. We state these shades on general principles, and the farmer who uses them will seldom fail to have a. house that will be admired.
To get these shades. White is the base upon which all tints are founded. There are three kinds of white paints; white lead, oxide of zinc, and zinc lead. White lead is the most costly, and, although very generally used, and until the introduction of zinc-lead, considered the best, is really a very poor stuff, as well as very dangerous as a poison. It chalks from action of the atmosphere, and very rapidly turns yellow. Oxide of zinc is very seldom used for out-door work, as it is unfit for such use, because it cracks and peels off. Zino-lead is an original pigment containing zinc and lead oxides. It does not chalk or turn yellow like white lead, nor crack and peel off like common zinc It has as much body and more covering power than the best white lead. At the same time it is one-third cheaper in price. It is not poisonous to use, and when mixed in oil it does not settle, which fact is a great convenience to farmers. Hence, for these reasons we recommend it in preference to any other paint. All other paints now can be bought ground in oil.
To make a buff, take 100 pounds of zino lead and three gallons boiled oil, and two gallons spirits turpentine. Mix thoroughly, then add yellow-stone ochre ground in oil until the desired shade is reached. Try a little occasionally on a board, as a paint looks differently in a body from when applied. If a canary yellow is required, use chrome yellow. The same color will give a canary tint to the buff. A very much admired tint is made by using a little black with'the ochre.
For a drab, use a little lamp or drop black instead of yellow ochre. Pretty tints may be made by using umber or metallic brown paints.
It takes less color to tint zinc lead than white lead, and it holds the tint better. The best ochre comes from France; it gives a tint that does not fade, but shades from chrome yellow will fade. Tints made from metallic paints, as Prince's, etc, do not fade. Umber makes a pretty tint, but is apt to fade in the sun. For copings, use one of the brown metallic paints.
For window-blinds, Paris-green was formerly Used, but so many accidents have happened from it that but few now use it. Green may be shaded lighter by using a little zinc lead in it. It contrasts well with almost all colors, whether pure white or a tint.
The interior of houses may be painted a pure white or tinted. In painting inside, to make a flat zinc color, use all spirits of turpentine. In fact many use more of it on outside work now, especially when they wish to make a flat color without gloss. Oil alone, especially with zinc lead, gives a rich satin gloss. This, for the inside of houses, adds much to the appearance of the paint. To paints which do not have this gloss property in themselves, it is imparted by mixing a little varnish. Doors are usually painted oak or walnut colon This may be bought already mixed for use (called training colors) more conveniently to the farmer than to get the tinge himself. Umber is generally used.
For fences and the lower class of farm buildings the idea of the farmer is generally to get something cheap. We have always seen that the best is in the end the cheapest. The object of painting is to keep out moisture, and thus prevent wood from decay. Hence, a paint which does this perfectly is the best, even if it cost twice as much. A cheap mineral or earth paint may be very good, but when the question of renewing is taken into consideration, it may not be so cheap or so good as a paint that costs more but lasts longer. We have indicated such in the zinc lead, but for the general uses of the farm we think its mixture with some of the ochres, mineral or metallic paints would be of great use.
In oil, always get the best linseed you can. Never use petroleum. It doesn't pay in the end by a great deal. Porgie or menhaden oil is good for very common work; but on houses, or anything nice, use as pure linseed as you can buy. 'For farm utensils, on wood work, we would advise using the best paint; tint it if you want color; on the iron or steel, red lead is, perhaps, the best material you can get. The farmer can now, if he chooses, so great have been the improvements in the trade, buy his paints mixed up, ready for use. These save him much labor in mixing and tinting.