There are few good varnish rooms in this countryvery few. Consequently, there are plenty of poor ones, and, for the sake of example, which may illustrate those features of a varnish room which are objectionable and should be [1void- bd, we shall describe a certain poor one which we have in mind, and which we assure our readers is by no means the very worst of its class. This shop is situated in the outskirts of a city. The varnish room is a small one, in the second story, and directly over the blacksmith's shop, while above it is an unfinished garret in which stock is stored. The room has two windows, which open only at the bottom. One window is shaded by a large elm tree, which is considered very attractive, but as the room is dark and this tree shuts out half the light which would otherwise onter, its shade is very objectionable. The light from the other window is partly obstructed by a series of shelves, upon which are arranged a variety of varnish and japan cans. The ceiling and walls are of rough boards black with age, and here and there pictures have been hung. In the middle of the ceiling newspapers have been tackcd up, in order to provent the passage \)t dust which rattles down from the cracks between the boards every time any one enters the third story. It is not difficult to perceive that in such a shop the var- nisher must be obliged to labor under many serious disadvantages. In the first place, his room is dark, whereas lie needs the best light possible. Not only are the windows too few in number, and partly obstructed, but the walls and ceiling, being dark, cannot reflect and make the most of what light there is. Again, he lias no proper ventilation, and this he must have in order to guarantee good work. 'The windows cannot be opened, for if this were done, an inward draft would be created and dust might be brought in. Even the cracks in the ceiling are rendered useless as ventilators, being covered with piles of lumber. Consequently, if you visit this shop on a warm summer day, you will find this room as hot as an oven, and the air so drenched with the moisture which comes from the rapid evaporation of tlie wa ter upon the floor that it is difficult to see across the room. Every painter knows the effect produced upon varnish by a moist, muggy day; then who can expect that varnish will do its best in such an atmosphere as we have described. In the third place, the work in this shop is never sa fe from dust, for the walls and the ceiling being rough, they will hold a great' amount of dust suspended, and this is liable to sprinkle down upon the fresh varnish whenever any jarring is caused by the workmen below, or by heavy teams, or even by the movement of the door, when the varnisher leaves the room at night. His work is therefore in constant danger of being spoiled in this way. If, under all these disadvantages, a varnisher is “able to turn out perfect jobs even occasionally, he may be considered as eminently fortunate as well as skillful, and he cannot j ustly be blamed tor frequent bad jobs. As we liave already mentioned, the shop which we have described is by no means th” worst of its class, but is one that is looked upon by its owner as a” very comfortable sort of a place,” and as we once heard him remark” Anybody who can't dew good worruk in that 'ere shop, better jest go awl try it with my gran'ther, who allus did all his varnishing in the back yard. That 'ere shop is where I done all my varnishing when I was a young 'un, and if there's anybody can do betterer varnishing than me in 1840, I'd just like to look at him." In past times it seems to have been the policy to set apart, for varnishing, the odd room which couldn't be used for anything else; whereas, the varnisher ought to have first choice, and should have the best situated and the best fitted room in the building. The varnish room should be the “ parlor” of the factory, for it is there that the most delicate part of the operation is performed. In some new shops we are giail to say that some improvement may be noticed in this respect, but still there arc very few that approach perfection. In conclusion, we shall briefly mention the several requirements of what we consider a model varnish room. These requirements refer to the railroad shop as well as the carriage shop, but more particularly to the latter, because the class of work is nicer, and also for the reason that in the carriage factory we find the faults are generally more serious. The paint room in a car shop must of necessity be roomy, and this will help ventilation, and the light is generally good. 1st. Every varnish room should have the best degree of light that is possible. A corner room with plenty of windows, is therefore to be preferred; and, if situated ill the upper story, skylights will aid very considerably. The ceiling and walls should be white and smooth, as they will then reflect the rays and greatly increase the degree of light. Rays of sunlight must not be allowed to fall directly upon work, and each window should therefore be provided with it white curtain, which can be drawn when necessary. 2d. 'Tho varnish room should have a perfectly arranged system of vontilation. The windows should all be made to open at Hie top, and one or more of them ought constantly to be opened for an inch or two. If the room is in the upper story, as is usually the best situation for the varnish room, skylights will be found to give the best ventilation. 3d. Every precaution should be used to prevent the presence of dust. In the first place, the walls and ceiling should be finished smooth, so that oust cannot find place to lodge. Plaster, with hard finish, gives tho smoothest surface, and we would advise its use in all new shops . Wh.cn finished with wood, the boards should be planed and matched, and a coat of varnish or permanent wood filling added. In old shops, finished roughly, it is well to tack sheets of brown paper over the ceiling. In the second place, no shelves, cans, clothes, or pictures, should he allowed in the varnish room, as they are amiable to hold dust. The varnish room should be a perfect voidbounded by six blank smooth surfaces Then let the room be carefully (lusted, swept, and sprinkled, and two or three hours afterwards the carriage may bo wheeled in lightly, and the work of varnishing call lie eom- menced with some confidence. Some vamishers have a silk suit to slip on before entering the varnishing room. This is a good plan, as they thus avoid carrying in much dust which would be likely to cling to their ordinary clothes. Thirdly, no one excep t the varnisher should be allowed to cntcr the varnish room. It should be the “ sanctum sunctorwm” of the factory. £ 4th. An even degree of temperature should be main! aimed. For this reason, it will be seen that the lest situation for the varnish room is in the northern cnd of the building or in tho northeast cornel', for there the sun will not lie in during' the day and raise the temperature. Steam is the best ?ncthod of heating the varnish room. When this cannot he cm- ployed, care should be taken to select a good stove, that docs not require constant attention, and this should be placet! near an aperture in the wall, in such manner that it may Le fired from the adjoining room, and furthermore, it should Lo inclosed in a tin or sheet-iron casing, made conical at the top, and this willprevent any dust from arising wh< 11 the fire is replenished, or the ashes shaken down. The degrees of heat which are best adapted for varnishing range from sixty degrees Fahrenheit to about seventy-five degrees, and are about the same that make the room seem comfortable to the varnisher. A good thermometer should be hung up, and great care should be taken that an even temperature is maintained during working hours, and until the varnish “ sots.” .If possible, the heat should be preserved throughout the night.
This article was originally published with the title "Varnish Rooms"