In turning it is frequently necessary to use a piece of wood of a different kind to that from which the work is principally constructed, in order to attain a sufficient diameter for some one portion. This may add an agreeable variety, but it may be desirable that the entire work should appear to be made of the same material, when the one has to be stained to agree with the other; while large works, which generally can only be made of sufficient size when turned entirely from the soft woods, are frequently stained or dyed in imitation of the hardwoods.

Among the softwoods thus employed the following are the more readily obtained, viz., pine, chesnut, maple, sycamore, pear, ash, satinwood, beech, oak and mahogany; all of which, as also boxwood and the lighter coloured hardwoods, may be readily stained or dyed to a variety of colours. The colours required by the turner however, are limited to those which will stain the whiter woods, or heighten the tone of the darker, to various shades of yellow, brown, red, purple and black, to imitate the natural colour of other woods employed, or to obtain resemblance when the colour of two pieces of the same species of wood are found to considerably differ. In all cases the various portions to be stained have their surfaces turned and finished as smoothly as possible, and should be quite free from oil or accidental soiling of any kind, a condition essential to successful and equal results.

The stains employed are obtained principally from the dye woods and are preferred from their transparent nature, an important feature, as they do not hide the grain of the wood to be coloured; the mixture of pigments being objectionable in this respect, these are avoided, unless it be required to japan the work, after the manner described in the third volume. The colouring matters are extracted by water, spirits of wine or oil. The decoctions may be used, first, as simple stains. Sometimes one only is so used, at others, when the applications of this one are deemed sufficient, a different stain is applied over it, to brighten or vary its colour. The work may have the water stains plentifully and several times applied with a flat camel's hair brush, being allowed to dry between every wash, or it may be immersed and remain in the fluid one or two days, according to the material, and the strength of the stain; the brush being used for the lightest, and immersion, for producing the deepest shade of any colour. Some of the colours thus given are more or less fugitive, fading under exposure to air or light, but they become fairly permanent, if the work be polished with lacker or varnished, so soon as the stain is thoroughly dry. The softer woods are stained to a little deeper colour than permanently required, to allow for a subsequent loss of tone by absorption. The same decoctions are used secondly, as dyes, when, after the work has been sufficiently imbued with the one selected and allowed to dry, a second fluid, usually acid or alkaline, is applied as a mordant to change and fix the colour; the work being then dried and polished or varnished, as before.

The tinctures, which are readily made and preserved, are convenient for small quantities for moderate sized works, and are applied with the brush. They are usually deeper in colour than the corresponding water stains, and are employed in precisely the same manner either to stain or dye, and when used for the former purpose are about as fugitive until the work is polished.

Alkanet root, and Dragon's blood, an East Indian resin, which are used to improve the colour of pale mahogany and other red woods, to agree with that of better specimens, are steeped in linseed oil, to which each gives a brilliant crimson colour, that from the first having a purple tinge. The colouring matter of the Alkanet root is contained in the rind, so that the smaller pieces are preferred ; Dragon's blood, which is only partially soluble in alcohol, almost dissolves in oil. The practice followed is to place a small quantity of either in some shallow open vessel, and then to add sufficient oil to rather more than cover it; the oil rapidly acquires the colour and is fit for use in a few days, and a fresh supply of oil may be added when the first has been used. The work may be coated with the coloured oil and allowed to stand a day or more until it is fairly absorbed, after which it is cleansed with dry clean rag before being polished. Very generally however in improving the colour of one piece of wood to agree with that of another, the coloured oil, only takes the place of the linseed oil used with the lacker or French polish, in which manner the required tinge may be readily arrived at. In following this mode many prefer to saturate the rubber with the coloured oil and then to place some of the lacker upon it, thus reversing the usual order in the preparation of the rubber.

A bright yellow stain is obtained from two ounces of Turmeric, allowed to simmer for some hours in one quart of water in an earthern vessel, water being added from time to time to replace that evaporated; the method which is followed in the preparation of all the water stains mentioned. This, sparingly applied cold with the brush, stains the white woods to the colour of satin wood; by immersion, they obtain a bright canary yellow, largely used for toys, which may be rendered permanent without polishing by the application of a strong solution of common salt. Washing the stained work over with nitro-muriate of tin for about a minute, changes the colour to orange, of a depth of tone corresponding to that of the original yellow; the work should then be immediately well rinsed in plain water to check the further action of the acid fluid. Treating the wood stained with turmeric, after it has been allowed to dry, with a mordant of two ounces of sulphate of iron dissolved in three quarts of water, dyes a delicate olive brown, suitable for light cocoa wood. A tincture made in the proportion of a quarter of an ounce of turmeric to three ounces of spirits of wine, allowed to stand for some days and well shaken daily, gives similar results of a rather higher colour, which when dry, may be also treated with the fluids mentioned.