Japanning, the art of varnishing and drawing figures on wood, in the manner practiced by the inhabitants of Japan, and other parts of India. It may be applied to almost every substance that is dry and rigid ; such as leather, me-tals, and even paper, previously adapted to the purpose.
If wood or metals are to be japanned, it is sufficient that their surface be smooth and clean ; but leather requires to be carefully strained on frames, to prevent it from cracking, and consequently parting with the coats of varnish. Paper is managed in a similar man-ner, and is generally coated over with some kind of sheet The japan is then laid on; but as this art is in the ham's of extensive manufac-tures, and is, besides, too expensive to be practised for amusement, we shall only mention a patent which was lately granted to Mr. Joseph Eyke, of Sheffield, fur a method of impressing japan upon the ornamented handles of knives, and other articles. - His process is very simple : as soon as the pattern is impressed on the handle, etc. it is taken out of the press (being previously marked, so that it may be replaced in the same situation), and the japan is laid on. The press is then heated to a certain degree, and the japanned article returned to it; by which means the varnish is pressed in, rendered more firm, and made capable of receiving a high polish. This method is applicable to ornamented handles of knives, forks, etc. made of wood or paper, in imitation of carved horn, or bone. - See Varnish.