This section is from the "Henley's Twentieth Century Formulas Recipes Processes" encyclopedia, by Norman W. Henley and others.
Paint or stencil wood with white-lime paint. When it has dried slowly in the shade, brush it off and a handsome dark-brown tone will be imparted to the oak-wood. Some portions which may be desired darker and redder are stained again with lime, whereby these places become deeper. It is essential that the lime be applied in even thickness and dried slowly, for only then the staining will be red and uniform.
After the staining saturate the wood with a mixture of varnish, 2 parts; oil of turpentine, 1 part; turpentine, 0.5 part. When the oil ground is dry apply 2 coatings of pale amber varnish.
Colored decorations on pinewood can be produced as follows:
The most difficult part of the work is to remove the rosin accumulations without causing a spot to appear. Burn out the places carefully with a red-hot iron. Great care is necessary to prevent the iron from setting the rosin on fire, thus causing black smoke clouds.
The resulting holes are filled up with plaster to which a little light ocher is added to imitate the shade of the wood as perfectly as possible. Plaster up no more than is necessary.
Rub the wood down with very fine sandpaper, taking especial care to rub only with the grain of the wood, since all cross scratches will remain permanently visible.
After this preliminary work cover the wood with a solution of white shellac, in order not to injure the handsome golden portions of the wood and to preserve the pure light tone of the wood in general.
On this shellac ground paint and stencil with glazing colors, ground with isinglass solution. The smaller, more delicate portions, such as flowers and figures, are simply worked out in wash style with water colors, using the tone of the wood to remain as high lights, surrounding the whole with a black contour.
After this treatment the panels and decorated parts are twice varnished with dammar varnish. The friezes and pilaster strips are glazed darker and set off with stripes; to varnish them use amber varnish.
The style just mentioned does not exclude any other. Thus, for instance, a very good effect is produced by decorating the panels only with a black covering color or with black and transparent red (burnt sienna and a little carmine) after the fashion of boule work in rich ornaments, in such a way that the natural wood forms the main part and yet quite a considerable portion of the ornament.
Intarsia imitation is likewise well adapted, since the use of variegated covering colors is in perfect keeping with the decoration of natural wood. How it should be applied, and how much of it, depends upon one's taste, as well as the purpose and kind of the object.
It is a well-known fact that the large pores of oak always look rather smeary, according to whether the workshop is more or less dusty. If this is to be avoided, which is essential f6r neat work, take good wheat starch, pound it fine with a hammer and stir by means of a wooden spatula good strong polish with the wheat starch to a paste and work the paste into the pores by passing it crosswise over the wood. After about 0.5 hour, rub down the wood thus treated in such a manner that the pores are filled. In case any open pores remain, repeat the process as before. After that, rub down, polish or deaden. If this operation is not performed, the pores will always look somewhat dirty, despite all care. Every cabinetmaker will readily perceive that this filling of the pores will save both time and polish in the subsequent finishing.