This section is from the book "Cyclopedia Of Painting", by George D. Armstrong. Also available from Amazon: Cyclopedia of Painting.
Do not use cheap, ready-made putty. If it is not possible to secure putty that is known to be made from linseed oil and whiting, it is best for the painter to make the putty himself. This will not take much time and he can always be assured of overcoming some very annoying results. Cheap putty will peel from glass or after being traced with paint. Where used in grooves or over nail heads, it will turn yellow after paint has been applied. It is also apt to fall out, which is one of the most annoying things that can happen. A formula still in use by old practical painters is to take 5 pounds gilder's whiting and 1 pint raw linseed oil, the whiting gradually added to the oil and well kneaded in. As the mixture becomes too stiff to work by hand, pound it off with a mallet until all of the whiting is added and mixture is of a glazing consistency.
For a waterproof or harder-drying putty for use in floor seams or other exposed places, to the foregoing add one pound keg lead well worked in. If the keg lead is of a thin consistency, a little more whiting may be necessary to bring the putty to the proper consistency. This latter mix will be found to be more durable and produce more satisfactory results for glazing and all exterior puttying. Knife putty into all seams, cracks and nail holes; do not use the thumb in pushing putty into seams and cracks.
Be sure the priming coat is hard dry. Do not have the second coat too oily, thus drying with too high a gloss, as this will cause the finishing coat to crack, peel and flatten. Do not paint over dirt, grease or mud splashed on the building from down spouts. Do not paint over frosts, dews or wet places. Do not paint while the plastering is drying out. Be sure the basement is not wet or damp. If such is the ease, the moisture is liable to go up through the house between the walls and siding and be attracted to the surface, causing dampness between coats, which will result in peeling in a short time. See that the basement windows or ventilators are open, allowing the basement to thoroughly dry out before applying a second coat of paint. Use a full stock brush that has been well broken in, even up by thoroughly brushing any skips or uneven places in the priming coat.
Where light shades are used for trimming, better results will be obtained by applying the trimming color on both the middle and finishing coats. Medium dark shade trimming colors can be used for the finishing coat only. Apply two coats for solid colors, such as green, black and red, or one coat over a suitable ground color.
Do not paint when there are indications of rain or the weather becoming cold. Do not work late in the evening on cold nights. The paint will pucker or crinkle if a frost or cold wind strikes it when half dry. Do not attempt to apply paint early in the morning, or on a surface that has been- covered with frost the previous night. Allow plenty of time for the surface to dry. After the paint has set, do not attempt to touch up the spots that have been missed. This will cause peeling of such places. Wait until the paint is dry, repainting the parts on which such spots may show. The paint should be well brushed and plenty of elbow grease used. Paint flowed on to cover or hide the surface will soon crumble or break away in scales. No paint can be properly applied to a surface without heavy brushing; this makes one coat adhere to the other. Heavy brushing also starts oxidation by forcing the air through the paint. Thorough brushing keeps the paint coat even and uniform and prevents the paint from crinkling or leathering, which is sure to be the result if it is not uniformly applied.
Improper brushing will produce heavy spots which are sure to pucker or crinkle, eventually causing the paint to blister or peel on these places.
Always finish a stretch before leaving for lunch or at night. Do not attempt to touch up ladder or stage marks, as such will always show in spots. Paint the whole board on which such spots show. Always have the paint for the finishing coat free from specks and dirt. Good work cannot be done with dirty or lousy brushes. Clean out pots at night. Put brushes away carefully. If skins have formed or dirt has got into the paint, strain it before commencing to work.
Two-Coat Work - Priming. Before commencing, be sure that satisfactory two-coat work can be done on the lumber to be painted. Be sure the surface is dry, as the priming for two-coat work is of heavier consistency than for three-coat work and there is not the chance for the surface to dry out that there is if a thinner coat is applied. Brush the paint out well. Do not flow on, leaving the paint heavy in one place and thin in another. Remember this coat is to help cover the grain, as well as fill the wood, and only one more coat is to be applied to complete the work. If not uniformly applied, the last coat will soon show the effects of bad priming. Work the paint well into nail holes, cracks, beading and seams. Avoid holidays, as they will show up when the second coat is applied. Have the paint of a medium thin consistency, carrying sufficient turpentine to assist in penetrating and filling the wood. This coat must both satisfy and fill and leave sufficient pigment on the surface to assist in covering or hiding the grain of the wood.