Avoid Cheap Ocher Paints. Perhaps there is no other pigment of which there are so many inferior grades as there are of ocher. Every day, almost, we hear of the discovery of a "paint mine" in some part of the country. The mate rial is usually an ocher, but of such inferior grade that it is practically useless. Nothing more unsuitable for a priming coat could pos sibly be found. These American ochers almost always contain an excess of clay, which in its natural state contains a large amount of mois ture; and, as before explained, the subsequent coats of paint applied over this ocher priming will not take hold of it, but will simply lie upon the surface, and when dry will peel off in flakes. Although there may be often an apparent saving in first cost in the use of an ocher priming, ex perience has demonstrated very conclusively that a white lead priming coat, tinted with not more than two per cent of lampblack in order to hide discolorations in the wood, is the cheapest and the best material for the first coat on new wood.
Ocher is very often used as a finishing coat, on account of its pleasing color, or the agreeable tints that can be produced with it when mixed with a white base. For this purpose the painter will find it cheaper in the end to pay a higher price and secure a good quality of French ocher. French ochers produce stronger tints with less of the tinting color, and are more permanent. Many ochers of inferior color and low price are toned up by mixing them with chrome yellow so that their color will be more pleasing. Now, while this may be perfectly legitimate if the fact that it has been done is stated on the label, it is wrong if these mixtures are sold as pure ocher. Chrome yellow, though a very beautiful color, is not fast to light and will soon fade, and a house painted with a chrome-tinted ocher will fade to a dirty or dingy brownish yellow color that will invariably cause the owner to become dissatis fled. For a saving of twenty-five or fifty cents, the painter risks losing a customer when he uses one of these inferior ochers. Moreover, chrome yellow is apt to discolor and blacken in the pres ence of sulphur gases, so that in a factory dis trict, or where much soft coal is burned, there is an added danger from its use.
Make-Weight Adulterants. Almost all the tinting colors can be adulterated by the addition of barytes or other make-weights or extenders. When ground in oil, these materials have abso lutely no tinting capacity. Four coats of barytes ground in oil and thinned to the consistency of paint may be applied to the surface of a board, without hiding the grain. From fifty to seventy five per cent of barytes can be added to any of the stronger tinting colors, without possibility of detection except by chemical analysis, when the color is looked at in the can. Nor will there
be much difference in appearance when a little of the straight color is spread upon a board. But it will require two pounds of Indian red with fifty per cent barytes, for instance, when added to 100 pounds of white lead, to produce a tint of the same strength as will be produced by one pound of the pure Indian red; while the reduc tion in cost will not be over twenty-five per cent. A very little arithmetical knowledge will enable the painter to figure out how much he loses by buying the cheaper material.
Adulterated Mixed Paints. The same thing is true of mixed paints. Not only is an inferior mixed paint deficient in covering power, but it will invariably require more labor to apply it, so that the actual cost of painting the house with the cheaper material will be in excess of the cost of painting with the higher-priced paint.
In selecting a brand of mixed paint, the painter or the property owner will do well to look first to what that paint will do. Inquire carefully to find out how well it has stood on other houses; look out especially for the manner of its perishing, and ascertain if any expensive scraping or burning off is necessary when re newal is required. There are some mixed paints that answer every requirement which can be de manded of them, while others are totally unfit to use. Here, as everywhere else in painting, the best will be found the cheapest in the end, and saving in first cost is very poor and very short sighted economy.
Correct Selection of Colors. Upon the cor rect selection of colors and their harmony with surroundings, will depend much of the artistic beauty of the house; and upon the quality of the paint will largely depend the durability of the building. The painter is expected to cover up the deficiencies of all the other mechanics—to hide stains and defects in the woodwork; to fill up and render invisible the nail-holes and other imperfections caused by the carpenter; and, by the proper disposition of the colors selected, to bring out the lines of the building and enhance its effectiveness.
In no other portion of the work of building is it so difficult to detect faulty or fraudulent prac tices, either on the part of the manufacturer of the paint or on that of the mechanic who does the work. The carpenter uses lumber which can be inspected before it is put in position. The car penter can be watched, and a glance will show whether he fits his work neatly together or uses the proper number of nails. An architect soon learns to judge of the quality of stone or brick. Plumbing materials generally show their quality on their face. So it goes with every branch of building until it comes to painting. Here the property owner must depend upon the painter, and he in turn is dependent upon the manufacturer.