The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source
site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.
Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WORK IN
AGRICULTURE AND HOME ECONOMICS
(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)
AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION DIVISION, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
FLORIDA STATE COLLEGE FOR WOMEN
AND UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF
WILMON NEWELL, Director
BY VIRGINIA P. MOORE
Bulletins will be sent free upon application to the State Home Demonstration
Department, Tallahassee, Fla.
BOARD OF CONTROL
P. K. YONGE, Chairman, Pensacola
W. B. DAVIS, Perry
E. W. LANE, Jacksonville
A. H. BLENDING, Tampa
FRANK J. WIDEMAN, West Palm Beach
J. T. DIAMOND, Secretary, Tallahassee
STAFF, AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION DIVISION
JOHN J. TIGERT, M.A., LL.D., President of the University
WILMON NEWELL, D.Sc., Director
A. P. SPENCER, M.S., Vice-Director and County Agent Leader
J. FRANCIS COOPER, M.S.A., Editor
ERNEST G. MOORE, M.S., Assistant Editor
E. F. STANTON, Supervisor, Egg-Laying Contest
RUBY NEWHALL, Secretary
COOPERATIVE AGRICULTURAL DEMONSTRATION WORK
W. T. NETTLES, B.S., District Agent
H. G. CLAYTON, M.S.A., District Agent
J. LEE SMITH, District Agent
R. W. BLACKLOCK, A.B., Boys' Club Agent
HAMLIN L. BROWN, B.S., Dairy Specialist
E. F. DEBUSK, B.S., Citrus Pathologist and Entomologist
N. R. MEHRHOF, M. AGR., Poultryman
COOPERATIVE HOME DEMONSTRATION WORK
FLAVIA GLEASON, State Agent
VIRGINIA P. MOORE, Assistant State Agent
LUCY BELLE SETTLE, B.S., District Agent
RUBY MCDAVID, District Agent
MARY E. KEOWN, M.S., District Agent
ISABELLE S. THURSBY, Food and Marketing Agent
MARY A. STENNIS, M.A., Home Dairy and Nutrition Agent
BY VIRGINIA P. MOORE
A great many home demonstration club members are each
year taking a renewed interest in the improvement of their
homes. They may not always be able to do over the entire house,
but every little while some piece of furniture may be painted or
The possibility of painted furniture seems unlimited. It can
be used in almost any room in the house, but it seems to be
particularly suited for kitchens, breakfast nooks, breakfast
rooms, sun parlors, bedrooms and porches. Certain pieces may
even be suited to the living room and dining room. The Florida
porch with its attractive painted furniture is oftentimes the index
to the home. The breakfast nook or the breakfast room takes
its cheeriness and homelike appearance from the painted
furniture. Dining room furniture painted or enameled in black
with gold lines, decorated with fruit, flowers, autumn leaves, or
a conventional design, is dignified enough for a formal dining
room. Cheer up the child's room with painted furniture.
Do not paint mahogany, rosewood, walnut, maple or cherry,
but refinish it so as to retain the grain of the beautiful natural
RENOVATING FURNITURE, SUCH AS GOLDEN OAK
In renovating a piece of painted furniture, much depends upon
the condition of the old finish. If it is still intact, it should be
washed with ammonia water and allowed to dry, then rubbed
with fine sandpaper until perfectly smooth. Dust off the old paint,
and give it at least one or two coats of flat paint of the desired
color. Allow plenty of time between coats for drying. The piece
may then be enameled, or a good enamel may be used instead of
the second coat of flat paint. If the old finish is badly worn, re-
move it with a good paint and varnish remover.
A commercial remover is applied with a brush. After a short
time, the old finish softens and can be removed with a putty
knife. Turpentine, benzine or sandpaper produces the smooth-
ress necessary for painting. A hard varnish surface does not take
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the paint or enamel, therefore it is necessary to roughen or scari-
fy it with a medium sandpaper, if it is not entirely removed be-
fore the new coat of paint is applied.
Fig. 1.-Never enamel or paint beautiful colonial or antique furniture.
Refinish it as suggested on page 6.
If the furniture is gathered from odds and ends, it can be
made to look alike by painting it the same color. Have any neces-
sary repair work done before the painting is started. Remove
all knobs and handles and unnecessary ornaments, such as glued-
on machine carvings. These may be removed easily by the use
of a chisel. It makes a decided improvement. Smooth down
the wood with fine sandpaper.
GENERAL DIRECTIONS IN USING PAINT
Open the can carefully. Pour off the liquid into another vessel.
Stir the pigment portion to a smooth, even consistency to prevent
lumps or stringiness, adding the liquid little by little until the
whole is thoroughly mixed. Pour from one container to another
to insure uniformity of mixture. Dip the brush about half the
length of the bristle into the paint, but when using enamel the
whole bristle should be filled with the enamel. Then press brush
gently against side of container so that paint will not drip. Do
not thin paint unless it is too thick to brush easily. Then if
necessary, use pure turpentine, or the medium that the paint
shop recommends for some of the newer paints and enamels.
Use a flat coat as the first coat of paint. Have all surfaces clean,
dry and free from dirt, dust and grease before beginning to
Do not rush-always allow ample time for each coat of paint
to dry before applying another coat. Twenty-four hours or
longer is required for ordinary paint. Duco, and a few other
quick drying enamels, dry immediately. The room must have
air circulation for proper drying. Never paint when the weather
For an enamel finish, use a good grade of gloss or semi-gloss
enamel for the finish coat instead of a gloss paint. A single coat
of enamel may be used for the finish, too, provided it covers the
foundation coat, but usually two coats are better. Apply the
enamel without thinning, as it comes from the can, but be sure
it is mixed as suggested for mixing paint. It should be put on
carefully so as to avoid streaks and brush marks. Have plenty
of enamel on the brush. At least 48 hours should be allowed be-
tween coats of enamel to give ample time for it to dry thoroughly.
Rub each coat of enamel with fine steel wool or 00 sandpaper and
dust well before applying the next coat. If gloss enamel is used
and a rubbed finish is desired, follow the directions given for
"rubbed varnish" finish (page 8). There is a semi-gloss or egg-
shell finish on the market which is splendid and the rubbing is
Wicker furniture can be cleaned with a brush, soap and water,
or one tablespoon of baking soda to one quart of warm water,
after the dust has been blown out with an automobile or bicycle
pump or a vacuum cleaner. After it has been well cleaned, it can
be painted or enameled. Care must be taken to work the paint
or enamel into all the cracks. It is best to spray the color on the
wicker furniture with a spray pump. Many prefer the stained
wicker. There are a variety of colors that may be had in the
stains, and as the paint and enamel often scale off with constant
use, the stains are all the more advisable. "Peeled willow" should
only be cleaned, not painted.
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HOW TO REMOVE DEAD VARNISH OR OLD PAINT FROM ANTIQUE
OR WELL MADE FURNITURE
Dead varnish or old paint may be removed from the furniture
by scraping it with a metal scraper which can be purchased at a
10-cent store, hardware store or paint shop. A smooth piece of
glass may be used for scraping; however, great care must be
taken so that the furniture is not scratched or cut. Always
scrape with the grain of the wood, not against it or across it.
Hold the scraper at an angle of about 45 degrees inclined in the
direction of the stroke; make steady, even strokes.
If the varnish or paint is difficult to remove with the scraper,
app y strong ammonia. Allow it to stand on the furniture a few
seconds and brush with a stiff brush. If the ammonia stains or
darkens the wood, bleach out with two tablespoons of oxalic
acid crystals in one pint of boiling water. Do not let the acid
solution stay on the wood too long, as it will leave light spots.
Lye, washing soda or a strong soap powder solution may be used
to remove the paint. Use a vinegar wash after the lye has been
used. After the wood has had all the old paint and varnish re-
moved, rub it with fine sandpaper until it is absolutely smooth.
Brush and wipe off all the varnish dust. A commercial varnish
remover has directions on the container. Many prefer it. Cracks
and small holes may be filled with putty or a crack filler.
REFINISHING OF ANTIQUES OR A GOOD WOOD
Before starting to refinish a piece of furniture, one should
know something of the texture of the wood. Mahogany, oak,
chestnut, pine, cypress and walnut are coarse-grained and re-
quire a filler, while maple, birch, bird's eye maple and white pine
are fine grained and do not need a filler.
After the old finish has been removed and the wood is dry and
has been rubbed smooth, then it is ready for the new finish. If
a stain is to be used, it should be applied at this time. Stains for
any of the above named woods may be purchased ready for use,
either as oil or acid stains, or the stain powders may be pur-
chased and the stains prepared at home. These stain powders
may be had in several colors. They are inexpensive and easily
prepared. An ounce of stain powder will make from one to two
quarts of stain. These stains are soluble in alcohol or water or
both. In purchasing stain powder one should be sure to ask in
which liquid it is soluble. Apply the stain evenly with the grain
of the wood, using a brush. Allow this to dry thoroughly, then
rub the surface with steel wool or fine sandpaper (No. 00) to
remove any roughness caused by application of the stain. If the
desired color is not obtained by the first application of the stain,
epply more stain until the desired color is obtained. Each coat
of stain should be thoroughly dried before the next coat is ap-
Fig. 2.-Nothing adds more to the living room than one of these beautiful
old pieces, when refinished. This is ready to be rubbed down and receive
the final upholstering.
If the natural color of the wood is to be retained, omit the
The filler may be bought ready to use. Apply as directed on
the container. If the filler is too thick, it may be thinned to the
desired consistency by adding turpentine or benzine. Apply the
filler to the furniture with a bristle brush. After the filler has
soaked into the wood for a few minutes, rub the surface with
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soft excelsior, using a circular movement to remove the surplus
and to clean the surface. The filler is used to fill the pores only,
and none should be left on the surface. Allow the filler to dry
for 24 hours, and then proceed to the next step in the refinishing.
There are several kinds of finishes. The choice of finish will
depend upon the piece of furniture to be finished, the kind of
wood, the use of the furniture and personal preference. Following
are suggestions for finishes:
Rubbed Varnish Finish. If filler is used, allow to dry, then
rub surface smooth when it is ready for the finishing coats.
Apply one or two coats of silex. Let each coat dry thoroughly,
and rub smooth with fine steel wool or sandpaper. (Note:
Wear old gloves when using steel wool, and be careful not to
breathe any of the dust.) Silex acts as a filler and prevents the
varnish from being absorbed by the wood. Then apply several
coats of varnish. Let each coat dry for 24 hours, rub each
coat smooth with very fine steel wool or 000 sandpaper. The
last coat is rubbed with a piece of felt or a woolen cloth dampened
in paraffin oil and then dipped in powdered pumice stone. This
treatment gives a soft satin-like finish and is known as the
"rubbed" finish. Hard friction rubbing is very necessary. The
felt may be placed over a smooth block of wood. It should be
rubbed with the grain of the wood on the flat surfaces. For
rounded surfaces, a soft bristle brush (vegetable brush) dipped
in paraffin oil and powdered pumice stone may be used. For
carved surfaces, a cloth folded over a pointed stick may be used
after being dipped in paraffin oil and then in the powdered
pumice stone. When the entire surface has been rubbed, wipe
clean with a soft cloth (cheesecloth or bunting) dipped in paraf-
fin oil. It should be rubbed hard with the felt as above directed
until it has a soft satin-like appearance.
Varnish Stain. Varnish stain may be preferred to the above
treatment. It is easier but not such a fine result will be obtained.
Use the filler if necessary. Apply the shellac coats as described
on cans. Apply several coats of varnish stain, which may be
bought in any desired color. Rub each coat to get a smooth
finish and polish the last coat with powdered pumice stone and
paraffin oil as described above.
Wax Finish. If the piece of furniture to be refinished is
mahogany, walnut, maple or cherry, the wax finish is often the
most desirable. Apply a generous coating of wax to the wood;
allow this to soak in well. Rub off the surplus and polish. A
cotton cloth may be used in applying the wax but a flannel cloth
should be used for polishing.
If a stain filler is used, this should be applied as previously di-
rected before applying the wax.
Oil Finish. The oil finish is used a great deal on old mahog-
any, walnut, maple, cherry and rosewood. The wood should be
rubbed smooth and then fed with oil to bring out the grain and
natural color of the wood. Apply equal parts of raw linseed oil
and turpentine or benzine and rub well into the wood. (Caution--
benzine should not be used near the fire as it is inflammable).
Apply more oil and allow this to stand for 24 hours or longer,
then rub thoroughly. Repeat this process until the wood is filled
with oil and the desired finish is obtained; then apply a coat of
wax and polish. Many coats will be required for some pieces of
furniture, like a dining table top. The oil should be applied about
once or twice a year to keep that mellow look.
KEEPING FURNITURE FIT
If furniture has grown a little shabby, often it may be made
to look better by proper treatment. Superficial scratches will
often disappear if the surface is briskly rubbed with equal parts
of linseed oil (boiled), turpentine and white vinegar. Deep
scratches or fine cracks in mahogany can be filled with dry
venetian red and thick gum arabic mucilage. Small deep holes
where the wood has been gouged or cut out can be filled with
stick shellac of the proper color, melted on the heated blade of a
pocket knife. An excellent reviver for varnished furniture that
has grown dull-looking, is crude oil sparingly applied with a piece
of flannel and then vigorously rubbed with a silk cloth. On
waxed furniture, apply liquid wax as a reviver and do the daily
dusting with a piece of waxed cheesecloth. To remove the
purplish, cloudy appearance technically known as "bloom,"
sponge with cheesecloth wrung very dry out of a quart of hot
water, containing one tablespoon each of linseed oil and vinegar,
and two tablespoons of turpentine.
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CAUTION AND SUGGESTIONS
Use good materials-it pays in the long run.
Take plenty of time to do the refinishing. Do not hurry the
work. Make certain there is plenty of time between each coat of
paint, varnish, shellac, or enamel to thoroughly dry, and rub
smooth before applying the next coat.
Check the materials needed for your work:
Sandpaper, No. 1, No. 0, No. 00,
Steel wool, No. 0 or No. 1
Block of wood
Shellac-orange or white
Flat stick or paddle for stirring
Putty knife or o'd case knife to
Newspapers or cloth to protect
HOME MADE STAINS, VARNISH, WAX,
1/2 ounce stain powder
1 quart denatured alcohol or 1 qt. hot water
Paint dealer should say which liquid to use.
Dissolve stain powder in liquid.
2 lbs. gum shellac
1 lb. castor oil
1 gal. alcohol, denatured
Put these ingredients into a well-stoppered bottle in a warm
place, and shake the mixture frequently until the shellac is dis-
solved. The alcohol should contain not more than 5 percent of
water, and care should be taken not to drop any water into it as
it is being mixed with the dry shellac. The castor oil aids in
making the varnish flexible and less brittle when dry, but may be
omitted; in that case, the quantity of gum shellac should be in-
creased to 21/2 pounds. If too thick, this varnish may be thinned
by the addition of more alcohol.
1 lb. beeswax
1 pt. turpentine
/2 pt. alcohol
Melt wax over hot water. When melted, removefrom fire and
add turpentine. (Caution:-turpentine, naphtha, and alcohol are
inflammable and should not be used near the fire.) Stir until
the mixture is like a thick batter. When it is ready to use, put
into a jar and use as needed.
FURNITURE CLEANER AND POLISHER
Put into a quart bottle in the order named.
z cup powdered rotten stone
1/% cup cold drawn linseed oil
% cup turpentine
t2 cup naphtha
1z cup strong solution oxalic acid
12 cup wood alcohol
2 cup cold water, to which has been added 1 tablespoon of
Rotten stone is a fine gray powder, not unlike powdered
pumice stone in appearance and action. It may be bought as
pumice stone or powdered tripoli at the paint shop.
Brushes must be absolutely free of all traces of paints in which
they were previously used. New paint brushes are best for
varnishes and lacquers.
CARE OF BRUSHES
Keep bristles straight. Wash brushes in turpentine to re-
move paint and varnish; then with soap and water, and hang
in a can of turpentine. Cover the can with a piece of inner tube
of an automobile tire; make hole to fit and hold the brush handle
in place. When a lacquer is used, wash the brush in a lacquer
filler, wipe dry with a cloth.
Do not leave brush in water or in a hot place. Much of the
success of painting will depend on the brushes and their con-
dition. For light colors use a new brush. All new brushes con-
tain some short loose bristles which should be shaken out before
the brush is used.
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Fig. 3.-Get all your materials and needed equipment together before start-
ing to refinish a piece of furniture.
Size of brushes for indoor painting are No. 3" flat brush or an
oval brush 6/0 small surfaces 21V4" flat paint brush.