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Difficulties Encountered in the Use of Oil Stains in Winter---The Presence of Naphthalene is Calculated to Cause Trouble---How to Test Stains


Analytical Chemist

HERE are so many ways of making oil stains, so many solvents that are used that to put one's finger on the spot and name the difficulty without knowing the formula employed is impossible. Any oil is more limpid in warm weather than in cold weather. To exemplify this we need but refer to butter. It is easily spread in warm weather, but it is more difficult in cold, and it is a pecular fact that the chill it receives from being in the refrigerator is altogether different from that of zero weather. I bring this to the reader's mind and ask him to bear it in mind when using oil stains. If he does so he will overcome a good many of the difficulties. For in cold weather it does not spread well, does not penetrate as well, and if the material to be stained is brought in from a cold room, the troubles are more numerous. Oil stains, which are built up with resinous material, such as japans and cheap varnish, are those which will be affected by the cold weather. Not only are these difficult to work, but the color is apt to be heavier and the brush marks are often lapped. The oil stain, in which the finisher incorporates some of the filler material, is not excluded, for as a rule a composition stain carries with it a certain amount of this resinous material. In consequence, the spreading and the penetrating qualities are absolutely different than during the summer weather, at which time the material works at its best.

reported and complained of by those who are using oil stain. A statement is made that "creosote salts are just as characteristic of ordinary creosote oils as ordinary salt is characteristic of the ocean water." It is claimed further that it is just as foolish to expect ordinary creosote oil to make good stains as it would be to expect the ocean waters to be good for drinking purposes. They are both too salty. When the thermometer registers close to zero, a barrel of ordinary creosote oil, gas oil or crude carbolic acid will show from 10 to 20 gallons of residue known as "creosote salts" or "crude naphthalene." Good as this "naphthalene" may be as a moth preventative, it is not valuable when you are buying a stain solvent. You do not want a third of it to be a solid, and absolutely deleterious to stain materials. Whether this naphthalene shows as a residue or is held in solution in the oil as is the case in warm weather, the fact remains that the naphthalene is there just the same, and is bound to cause trouble sooner or later.



In many formulas that have been given for producing oil stains, in which the solubility of the color depends upon the stearic or oleic acids, and where benzole constitutes the prime solvent, a bit of rosin should be added to overcome odor and give color. I refer to cases in which the solvents named are used with artificial turpentine, by which is meant those distillates differing from naphtha in specific gravity, but higher than the kerosene series or those made from the asphalt beds, and not those made by coloring naphtha and by adding fire weed oil. These stains so made, when employed in the ordinary temperature have a sufficient amount of penetrating proclivities and evaporate so fast that the temperature does not materially affect them. Their evaporation is so speedy that cool weather is rather desirable. The main necessity is a circulation of air.

Creosote oil, gas oil or crude carbolic acid are three of the prominent solvents used by stain manufacturers, especially those making shingle stain. They also enter into the furniture stains in various proportions. The odor is disguised by the use of oil of citronilla or oil of myrbane, sometimes a bit of sassafras. The latter two are so cheap and so strong that the quantity required does not prohibit its use; in fact, they are coal tar derivitives. They belong to the artificial class of volatile oils. The sassafras never saw the sassafras tree. In the stains where the vehicle or even a part thereof is a creosote oil, difficulties are usually encountered in the zero weather.

In a circular letter, just issued, a clear and concise reason is given for the difficulties that are now being

The Oils Necessary

For stain purposes you want oils that are limpid, free from these objectionable salts. Every solvent can carry in solution only a certain amount of solids. If, therefore, it is already burdened with from ten to thirty per cent. of foreign material, its solvent qualities are reduced by that percentage, which is present as a bi-product or adulterant. Crude naphthalene is so cheap that it does not pay the manufacturer to remove it, and thus it is usually sold in the creosote oil. The seller of the oil says nothing as to its presence; the stain manufacturer knows nothing of its presence until a complaint arises or he luckily passes over a period of time about in this manner.

His stains are mixed during warm weather or in a warm room, and are consumed in the same manner. If a barrel of this oil happens to become chilled and the naphthalene crystallizes, he may again be lucky by merely being able to draw off the thus inadvertently purified creosote oil. Once more any difficulty has been avoided.

While this makes manifest that the high grade article is the better, it at once gives us an ordinary method for specifying the grade of oil we want and a method for detecting the naphthalene. With the naphthalene some chemists claim other injurious compounds present are crystallized, thus automatically removing themselves. While treating on the subject of crystalization of the naphthalene, etc., let me say in order to establish a uniform standard if the oil is purchased in five gallon, ten gallon, or even barrel lots, it is desirable that a certain definite uniformity of results in colors, spreading qualities and penetrating qualities be established. Obtain an ordinary hydrometer for heavy oils and a hydrometer jar. These should not cost more than 75 cents or $1.00. Take the specific gravity or reading; then chill the oil, keep it in a freezing temperature and again take the specific gravity. You will find that a certain percentage of solids

appears. By pouring off the limpid liquid, bringing it to a uniform temperature, the reading will be different. The most opportune time for this experiment is now during the freezing weather, as a lower and a more steady cold can be obtained. In that way the crystalization of the impurities will be more pronounced. Having established a specific gravity, and the formulas built thereon, it is an easy matter to make this standard a specification of future orders.

I have mentioned that this impurity is injurious to oil stains, and I will endeavor without going into technicalities to show wherein the use of a loaded oil is apt to cause an endless number of troubles which are difficult to locate and which vary in the same ratio as the amount of impurities presented. Take, for example, a pet formula in which a certain amount of color material is givensay eight ounces of mahogany oil soluble, one quart of benzole in which to cut it, and three quarts of creosote oil and, for the sake of argument, this formula has been working satisfactorily. It was made with a very good grade of creosote oil. The next batch comes in during the summer, but is loaded with 25 per cent. of naphthalene. It works a bit heavier, and does not seem to have the penetrating power. It needs to be doctored. A little more benzole is added, then the color is too light in shade; then a little more color is added. Right here is the first mistake. We have left our regular formula and commenced to doctor and in all probability have not kept a good record of the quantities consumed in the doctoring. The result is that our regular formula is thrown in the air, and the foreman finisher's troubles are multiplied.

The Cold Weather Influence

Still he keeps fussing, and the cold weather comes on. Over Sunday the factory becomes cold, the stain is chilled, the naphthalene has taken a notion to separate itself from the general mixture by crystallizing and settling. If this were not all, it might not be as bad, but it has such a peculiarity of taking other things with it. It removes a portion of the coloring material in various percentages, first, according to the amount of naphthalene present, and, second, depending upon the color itself. Some coloring material is more readily attacked and affected by the crystalization and the precipitating process thus enacted than others.

This stain, which has gone through an ordeal of this kind, is absolutely changed. If the change be recognized, there is an opportunity for more doctoring. But the chances are that the stain will be allotted to the workman, and being thinner will penetrate deeper. This will help to retain the original color, but more likely the color will be found several shades lighter than it was intended to be. Were this the only difficulty to be attributed to this series of solvents, and which I claim can be all avoided by stipulating that this series of oil solvents be free from naphthalene, it would not be so bad. The one objectionable feature in the disposition of naphthalene is that it forms a coat of non-drying, oil appearing, waxy surface where the stain has been applied. It depends in great measure upon the kind of wood to which it is applied, to the amount of gas oil present in the stain, and the different solvents used in conjunction. The greasy, non-drying propensities of a gas oil stain have often been attributed to the stearic acid which is one of the constituents of oil soluble colors. But the truth is that the oil gave greater trouble, and that without its use there would have been sufficient penetrating material present to completely distribute the stearic acid in the pores of the wood.

Many a finisher has experienced trouble in the oil stains "lifting" when applying the shellac. This is often due to conditions as described above. The alcohol attacks the

naphthalene and with it comes the colors and the attending troubles by the use of an oil stain in which a percentage of naphthalene is present. I do not condemn the use of this series of solvents; I merely draw out the difficulties that arise at this time of the year, or rather which manifest themselves during the cold weather. They can, as you see, be avoided, and I trust that I have made it sufficiently clear so that the finisher will know and understand the means at hand to obviate the possibilities of trouble of this order.

A permanent finish can never be made where there is a large amount of this gas oil used. Understand me, I mean the gas oil as usually sold. To exemplify this, you have seen a house built where the shingles were stained and after a season there was hardly any color left. That was due to the naphthalene present in the creosote oil. Of course, had these shingles been treated as furniture is usually treated, the trouble would not have been so apparent, but there will be no permanent oil stain where the main solvent is one of these oils, unless you insist upon the same being free from naphthalene.

I have endeavored to emphasize these points, because many of you have used this material and have heard nothing of it after it left the factory. People are becoming more critical; they know there is a vast difference in the quality of finish, its durability and general appearance. The foregoing should help the reader to remove a possible danger and obstacle in attaining good results.



COMMON putty, as used by carpenters, painters and glaziers, is whiting mixed with linseed oil to the consistency of dough. Plasterers use a fine lime mortar that is called putty. Jewelers use a fine oxide for polishing, called putty powder, or putz powder.

ACID-PROOF PUTTY. (a) Melt one part of gum elastic with two parts of linseed oil and mix with the necessary quantity of the white bole by continued kneading to the desired consistency. Hydrochloric acid and nitric acid do not attack this putty; it softens somewhat in the warm and does not dry readily on the surface. The drying and hardening is effected by an admixture of one-half part of litharge or red lead.

(b) A putty which will even resist boiling sulphuric acid is prepared by melting caoutchouc at a moderate heat, then adding 8 per cent. of tallow, stirring constantly, whereupon sufficiently slacked lime is added until the whole has the consistency of soft dough. Finally, about 20 per cent. of red lead is still added which causes the mass to set immediately and to harden and dry. A solution of caoutchouc, in double its weight of linseed oil, added by means of heat, and with the like quantity (weight) of pipe clay, gives a plastic mass which likewise resists most acids.

BLACK PUTTY. Mix whiting and antimony sulphide, the latter finely powdered, with soluble glass. This putty, it is claimed, can be polished, after hardening, by means of a burnishing agate.

DURABLE PUTTY. According to the "Gewerbeschau," mix a handful of burned lime with four and one-fourth ounces of linseed oil; allow this mixture to boil to the consistency of common putty, and dry the extensible mass received in a place not accessible to the rays of the sun. When the putty, which has become very hard through the drying, is to be used, it is warmed. Over the flame it will become soft and pliable, but after having been applied and it becomes cold, it binds the various materials very firmly.

GLAZIERS' PUTTY. (a) For puttying panes or glasses into picture frames a mixture as follows is well adapted: Make a solution of gum elastic in benzine strong enough

so that a syrup-like fluid will result. If the solution be too thin, wait until the benzine evaporates. Then grind white lead into linseed oil varnish to a stiff paste and add the gum solution. This putty may be used, besides the above purposes, for the tight puttying in of window panes into their frames. The putty is applied on the glass lap of the frames and the frames are firmly pressed into it. The glass plates thereby obtain a good, firm support and stick to the wood, as the putty adheres both to the glass and to the wood.

(b) A useful putty for mirrors, etc., is prepared by dissolving gummi elasticum (caoutchouc) in benzol to a syrupy solution and incorporating the latter with a mixture of white lead and linseed oil to make a stiff pulp. The putty adheres strongly to both glass and wood, and may therefore be applied to the framework of the window, mirror, etc., to be glazed, the glass then being pressed firmly on the cementing layer thus formed.

HARD PUTTY. This is used by carriage painters and jewelers. Boil four pounds brown umber and seven pounds linseed oil for two hours; stir in two ounces of beeswax; take from the fire and mix in five and one-half pounds chalk and eleven pounds of white lead. The mixing must be done very thoroughly.

PAINTERS' PUTTY AND ROUGH STUFF. Gradually knead sifted dry chalk (whiting) or else rye flour, powdered white lead, zinc white, or lithopone white, with good linseed oil varnish. The best putty is produced from varnish with plenty of chalk and some zinc white. This mixture can be tinted with earth colors. These oil putties must be well kneaded together and rather compact (like glaziers' putty).

If flour paste is boiled (this best produced by scalding with hot water, pouring in gradually, the rye flour which has been previously dissolved in a little cold water and stirring constantly until the proper consistency is attained), and dry sifted chalk and a little varnish added, a good rough stuff for wood or iron is obtained, which can be rubbed. This may also be produced from glaziers' oil putty by gradually kneading into it flour paste and a little more sifted dry chalk.

TO SOFTEN GLAZIERS' PUTTY. (a) Glaziers' putty which has become hard can be softened with the following mixture: Mix carefully equal parts of crude powdered potash and freshly burnt lime and make it into a paste with water. This dough, to which one-fourth part of soft soap is still added, is applied on the putty to be softened, but care has to be taken not to cover other paints, as it would surely be destroyed thereby. After a few hours the hardest putty will be softened by this caustic mass and can be removed from glass and wood.

(b) A good way to make the putty soft and plastic enough in a few hours so that it can be taken off like fresh putty, is by the use of kerosene, which entirely dissolves the linseed oil of the putty, transformed into rosin, and quickly penetrates it.

SUBSTITUTE FOR PUTTY. A cheap and effective substitute for putty to stop cracks in woodwork is made by soaking newspapers in a paste made by boiling a pound of flour in three quarts of water, and adding a teaspoonful of alum. This mixture should be about of the same consistency as putty and should be forced into the cracks with a blunt knife. It will harden like papier mache, and when dry may be painted or stained to match the boards, when it will be almost imperceptible.

WATERPROOF PUTTIES. (1) Grind powdered white lead or minium (red lead) with thick linseed oil varnish to a stiff paste. This putty is used extensively for tightening wrought iron gas pipes, for tightening rivet seam on gas meters, hot water furnaces, cast iron flange pipes, for hot water heating, etc. The putty made with minium

dries very slowly, but becomes tight even before it is quite hard, and holds very firmly after solidification. Sometimes a little ground gypsum is added to it.


The Commercial Fixture Manufacturers HARLES F. KADE, of Plymouth, Wis., was elected president of the National Commercial Fixture Manufacturers Association at the third annual meeting of the organization, held at the Hotel LaSalle, Chicago, January 13, 14 and 15. Delegates representing more than one hundred firms located in all parts of the country and in Canada were present at the gathering. Officers elected for the ensuing year were:

President-Charles F. Kade, Plymouth, Wis.
Vice-President-H. J. Hunt, Detroit, Mich.
Treasurer-J. H. Servatius, Chicago, Ill.
Secretary-C. F. E. Luce, Grand Rapids, Mich.

The members of the association's board of directors, appointed at the January meeting, follow: Sol. Himmel, Baltimore, Md.; J. Lehnbeuter, St. Louis, Mo.; J. H. Dimon, Columbus, Ga.; A. Moorman, St. Paul, Minn.; Herman Blitz, Chicago, Ill.; G. W. Johnson, Moline, Ill., and Tom Thoits, Grand Rapids, Mich.

In point of attendance and enthusiasm, the gathering was the largest and the most successful ever held by the association. Among the subjects pertinent to the trade considered were a plan for improving general business conditions through the gradual adoption of a code of business ethics of a high moral standard; a plan for improving and continuing the present methods employed in conducting an educational campaign regarding cost accounting and improvement of manufacturing methods, and the adoption of a resolution of protest against the change in rules for grading lumber.

In order to reduce the cost of production to the consumer, matters of transportation were generally discussed and plans were adopted for a country-wide campaign along this line. Greater coöperation between manufacturers in improving the service of the trade to the consumer was urged, in line with the policy of the organization to consider the interests of its members in connection with those of their customers. Business conditions have been unusually favorable during the last few months, according to the reports of the delegates, and the factories represented forecast a heavy run for the coming year. Orders have been larger in volume and number than is customary at this period and the outlook for 1914 is particularly optimistic.

The prosperity of the association is reflected in the fact that its membership has been doubled in the last twelve months. As a result, it is declared that the efficiency of the service conducted by the organization will be greatly improved. The membership covers manufacturers in all lines of furniture and fixtures for use in stores, offices and public buildings.

Among those who addressed the delegates at the Chicago gathering were H. A. Wheeler, president of the National Chamber of Commerce, who spoke on "The Needs and Functions of Associated Endeavor," at the banquet given by the association Wednesday night, Jan. 14; Robert W. Irwin, of Grand Rapids, whose subject was "Better Coöperation in Association Work," and F. A. Wurzbach, president of the Bronx National Bank, New York, who spoke on "Watch Your Step and Observe.” R. G. W. Barker, of Jones Bros. Co., Toronto, Can., acted as toastmaster and gave a short address on "Reciprocity."

The factory of the Long Furniture Co., Chillicothe, O., will be enlarged.


A Department in Which is Collected Observations in and About Factories With Comment Pertinent and Impertinent on Things, Men and Measures



ERE is where I make you manufacturers say, "It can't be done," again. Concerning your machines. You buy them to make money, don't you? Well, a machine ought to be in running order to make a profit. Its ideal condition would be to be running full time, at its full capacity, and turn out perfect work. But it will not do to stop there. Profits will not materialize even with the best machine in the world laid down in the shop and belted ready to run. Something more is required. The machine must be set up and fed with suitable stock in order to make a profit. Every minute the machine is idle for setting up or for lack of stock, the possible profit is reduced; therefore, it is up to the purchaser to see that the machine man is surrounded with all possible appliances and methods for keeping the machine everlastingly at work. There is the keynote of the whole matter of profit or loss. Granted that the quality of the output is right, the percentage of profit depends upon the net time the machine is running.

When it is convenient some time go into another man's factory for a casual visit, and at once discover some faults that you wou'd not find in your own in ten years.


The owner doesn't realize what it means to keep a machine running all the time, for it has never yet been done, to the writer's knowledge. Still, it is possible. Engines have to run for 144 hours or more without a single stop, and it stands to reason that a modern machine should be able to run five hours on a stretch. without a stop or without loss of a foot of feed. Think it over, you men who are rubbing along with 15 to 60 per cent. loss of capacity in each machine in your shop.

You may say the idea is a crazy notion. Well, on the square now, are you not doing some things today that you thought were crazy notions five years ago?

We have a surfeit of argument about what constitutes a good diy kiln, but the dry kiln man has been sadly neglected. That is, the man that is responsible for the care and operation of the kiln. I have yet to find the kiln that is absolutely fool-proof, and the success of most of them depends to a great extent upon the competency of the operator.

A little of the "oil of human kindness" judiciously sprinkled throughout the plant may have as good an effect in laying the dust of discontent as does the coal tar product in laying the dust when it is efficiently spread on the road.

What do you think of Kaiser Wilhelm entering the woodworking industry? Yes, he sawed and split some logs and presented the manufactured product to the peasants It was a laudable undertaking, but the champion log splitter was a native of these United States, and no ruler across the "pond" will ever be able to get the title.

Speaking of the varnish dry kiln, one of the largest furniture manufacturers in the country told me recently that he would not be without them if they cost $5,000 each to install.

I was recently informed that the first varnish drier was put into successful operation on May 23, 1910. If such is the case I'll have to revise some of my opinions on the non-progressiveness of furniture manufacturers, for they certainly are grasping this proposition faster than they have been in the habit of taking up some other things beneficial to the industry.

"How did this world ever get along without the moving picture show?" asks a newspaper writer. It had to, my boy, because we have to get along without what we have not. In a short time the woodworking plant will be asking, "How did we ever get along without the self


feed jointing saw?"

If you don't own an automobile, cheer up. There are close to one hundred million people in this country, and according to the latest figures 1,200,000 automobiles now running here. Some own more than one, others don't own the one they run. So if you don't own one smile, for you have lots of company.

Who says the direct electric drive has no place in the up-to-date furniture plant? Karpen Brothers, Chicago, investigated its possibilities and found it worth while to install an electric plant of its own. The change necessitated a layo it of about $60,000 to meet the requirements, but the company is satisfied that the money was well spent.

Sanitation in the factory can be made ludicrous as well as beneficial For instance, I contend it is a mighty poor policy to install steel lockers, shower baths, reading rooms and such things in the factory, if you are not paying your help sufficiently high wages to enable them to have some of these comforts in their own homes.

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Things to Be Ariided by the Amater-Where Studies for Design May Be Found-Suitable Tools to Empty-Examples of Early Efforts in Carving

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1.d care far too many painful illustrations of this in the tapies, chairs, etc., which we see carved all out any regard to the question of whether they are improved or spoiled by the process. The object of carving should be to break up large, plain surfaces, or to provide narrow bands of decoration to accentuare some feature of construction. The writer has seen so much misdirected effort of this kind that he would particularly draw the enthusiast's attention to the value of plain spaces and emphasize it. They serve as a foil to, and give an added value to the decoration.

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Another pitfall to the beginner is the use of glass paper. All cutting should be left clean from the tool, and at the same time the direction and cutting mark left by the tool should assist the modeling and the outline of the object. Every eat of chisel or gouge should have a meaning, and a good craftsman will make every cut of his tool tell. These manual signs give life and character to the work, and if well executed, are the best evidence of the skill of a good workman.

Practice will develop a steady hand and a good wrist, each of which is a greater power in wood carving, helping to prevent the tool slipping. The object of endeavor

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should always be a free, crisp and steady cut. It is by the introduction of simple bands, etc., of carving that the work of manual students can be relieved of its severity, and also made educational. Generally speaking, the present-day cabinet-maker no longer stops his own moldings, flutes, etc., or finishes a mold into the difficult shapes, which the machine will not work. This is now taken to the earver, but the ability to do this is an advantage. Any

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