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MMD > Archives > May 2004 > 2004.05.01 > 09Prev  Next


Recipes for Wood Stains
By Alan Turner

Hi all,  I am a new member/subscriber here and I am following the
archive with great interest as I am new to the hobby.  Anyhow, I have
some archival information regarding wood finishes that was transcribed
into a journal circa 1885 in England.

The recipes were transcribed from "The Complete Cabinet Maker and
Upholsterer's Guide".  I will post the recipes for black finishes and
list the other recipes that are in the journal.  If anyone has a desire
for the other recipes, just ask and I can post them as well.  The
recipes that are in the journal are:

 1. Black Stain #1
 2. Black Stain #2
 3. Mahogany Stain
 4. Rosewood Stain #1
 5. Rosewood Stain #2
 6. Liquid for Brightening and Setting Stains
 7. Red Stain
 8. French Polish
 9. Mahogany Coloured Cement
10. Cement to stop flaws or cracks in wood of any colour.
11. Bright Polish
12. Strong Polish to be used with brush
13. Directions for cleaning and polishing old furniture
14. To take ink spots out of mahogany
15. To make Furniture Oil
16. To make Furniture Paste
17. To Stain Musical Instruments:
   a. Fine Crimson
   b. Purple
   c. Fine Black
   d. Blue
   e. Green
   f. Bright Yellow

1. Black Stain for immediate use:

Boil half a pound of Chip Logwood in two quarts of water, add one ounce
of pearl ash and apply it hot to the work with a brush.  Then take half
a pound of Logwood, boil it as before in two quarts of water, and add
half an ounce of Verdigris and half an ounce of Copperas, strain it
off, put in half a pound rusty steel filings with this and go over the
wood a second time.

2. Another method for Black Stain:

Boil one pound of Logwood in four quarts of water, add a double
handful of walnut peel or shells; boil it up again, take out the chips
add a pint of best Vinegar, and it will be fit for use, apply it
boiling hot.

6. Liquid for brightening and setting stains of any colour:

To every pint of strong Aqua Fothis (sic), add one ounce of Grain Tin
(?) and a piece of Sal-ammoniac of the size of a walnut.  Set it by to
dissolve, shake the bottle round with the cork out from time to time.
In the course of two or three days it will be fit for use.  This will
be found an admirable liquid to add to any colour as it not only
brightens it, but it renders it less likely to faid (sic) from exposure
to the air.

17.c. Fine Black:

In general, when black is required in musical instruments it is
produced by Jappanning (sic).  The work being well prepared with size
and lamp-black, apply the Black Japan (as sold at the Varnish Makers)
after which varnish and polish.


Note:  There are some pretty _nasty_ chemicals in many of these recipes,
so beware if you try to duplicate them!  Also, some of the terms and
names will require a little research to determine their modern names.
The journal is handwritten in pencil and is somewhat difficult to
decipher; I have done my best, but...?!

Thanks for the great information available here both in the current
postings and the archives.

Alan Turner


(Message sent Sat 1 May 2004, 16:09:09 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Recipes, Stains, Wood

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