ORDINARY distemper is a mixture of whitening, glue and water. The glue binds the particles together and to the plaster. If colouring matter be added, what would otherwise remain simple whitewash becomes colour wash.

This simple form of distemper cannot be cleaned with water, and is easily stained. For the walls of living-rooms a more permanent distemper, which can be washed, is desirable. Many kinds of patent distemper or water paint are sold by colourmcn. If one of these be selected, the printed instructions given on the tin should be adhered to.

The following paragraphs relato to the preparation and application of what may be termed home-made distemper of the kind first mentioned. The first few of them, however, cover the use of distempers generally.

Preparing the Surface

As a necessary precaution against splashing, the room to be distempered should be cleared of all furniture, and the floor be covered with newspapers. Further, if the ceiling in to be done and not the walls, the latter should be protected by newspapers pinned to them. The beginner at any rate will be thankful for having taken these preliminary measures.

The old distemper must be worked olf with a brush dipped repeatedly in water, and with a wet sponge, until the plaster below is exposed. Should the old coating be very rough and thick, scraping with a piece of glass may be needed. Note when first applying the water whether the plaster soaks it in quickly, or remains we& a long time, for on the porosity of the- plaster will depend the after-treatment of the surface.

It is very important to clean the plaster thoroughly, since any dirt or patches of old stuff left on will very probably show through the now coat.

After washing-off, all cracks should be cut out, damped, and stopped with plaster of Paris. When the surface ha=I dried, the fiHings should be rubbed down with fine glasspaper.

Preparing the Distemper

Unless the surface has shown itself to resist water, the distemper proper should be preceded by a coating of clearcole, which is a solution of size with, usually, some whitening mixod in. The object of cleareoling is, like that of sizing a wall before papering it, to prevent the plaster being too absorbent. If the water in the distemper were to be sucked in too quickly, it would be difficult to keep a wet edge, and there would be a danger of the surface looking smeary wherever the brush touched partly dried distemper.

Time will be saved in preparing the clearcole and distemper if one pound of gilders whitening for every 40 square feet of surface to be covered is broken up and covered with water to soak before washing-olT begins. If glue powder is to be used instead of jelly-like tub size, this also should be put to soak. When fully swelled, 1 lb. Of glue will make 1 gallon of size.

To make the clearcole, a pailful of size or jelly is mixed with a little water and heated till it almost boils, being well stirred the while. It is then poured over o;ie third of its bulk of the soaked whitening and stirred until the latter has boon mixed in thoroughly. If the ceiling is much discoloured, half as much whitening as of size may be advisable, and the latter proportion is suitable for walls.

The rest of the whitening, after any free water has been poured off it, has a little ultramarine – well mixed with water and wintering to form a paste – added to it to kill any yellow tinge it may have and produce a fine white. Hot size is then added a little at a time, in the proportion of about 1 gallon to every 6 lb. Of dry whitening used, and after a good stirring the mixture should be strained through canvas and put aside to cool. When cold it should be a very thin jelly. If too thick a little hot water should be added; if too watery, more whitening and size.

For colour wash, the necessary pigment should be mixed with the whitening before the size is added; and a test be made by allowing a little to dry naturally on white paper, when the tint will be found to be lighter than that of the wet mixture. More colour or whitening must be added to correct matters if the dry tint is too light on the one hand, or too dark on the other. Since matching of mixed colours is rather difficult, the quantity of distemper provided should err on the side of excess. The clearcole may be applied hot and liquid, or after it has cooled to a jelly. Cold clearcoling is advisable if the surface is very absorbent.

Applying the clearcole

The brush used for both clearcole and distemper should be a proper distempering brush; which, it may be added, should always be well washed and dried after use.

The brushing, when once begun, should be carried through quickly, so that clearcole or distemper already applied may still be wet when the brush overlaps it, while doing the next strip. Therefore a working platform of good size and easily moved – a table, or planks resting on tables or step ladders – should be provided. To delay drying while the brushing is in progress, all windows and doors should be kept closed. But as soon as the coat is on, they should be opened, to create a current of air and promote quick and even drying. Nor should any attempt be made to lay off the distemper like paint by finishing strokes in one particular direction.


The distemper is applied in the same manner as the clearcole, by short strokes in all directions, care being taken not to miss any places, since retouching afterwards will not be successful. Should a ceiling show bare patches when dry, the only safe course is to go over it again, using a thinner distemper. The same course will have to be followed if the ceiling is not evenly white all over.

If distemper is too rich in size it tends to flake off; if too weak, to rub off easily.

Surfaces which are much cracked and show signs of looseness should be papered with lining paper, and the distemper applied to this.

It is useless to distemper walls where they have been discoloured by damp, until the darkened places have been gone over with a quick-drying flat paint of some kind.

Since a large surface of smooth distemper throws up any irregularities of tone or brushing, it is common practice to stipple wall distemper while wet with the points of a special stippling brush and give it a grain. When this is to be done a second person should follow with the stippler closely behind the distempering brush.

A Sanitary Dog Kennel

Matchboarding is used for sides, ends, and bottom; weather-boarding for the roof. The dimensions should not be less than: length and height 30 inches; width, 20 inches, even if the kennel will be used for a small dog in the first instance, as it may be needed later on for a larger animal.

The ends are made first by nailing matchboarding across four 2 by 1 inch battens – x x, y Y – the upper ends of which are halved into two roof-pieces; x x are set inwards from the ends of the boards by a distance equal to the thickness of the sides, so that these may be behind and flush with the ends which shows the junction of an end and a Bide in plan). The door is cut out with a padsaw before Y Y are fixed, the vertical saw-cuts being a little farther from the centre line than Y Y, so that these shall protect the dog from rubbing against the rough wood. Short verticals outside, in line with Y Y, complete the protection.

The sides are now nailed on to the x xs of each end. (Note. All the matchboards must be arranged with tongue upwards, to prevent water lodging.) Battens D B are then nailed to the sides and back end, inside, at a distance from the bottom edges equal to the thickness of the bottom boards and the battens B and c to which these boards are fixed.

The weather boards of the roof project 6 inches beyond the door end, to prevent rain blowing in; and 3 inches beyond the sides to throw water clear of the sides. The eaves are supported by wooden brackets nailed to the sides. Begin laying on at the eaves, and work up to the ridge, which is made watertight by a notched wooden beading or a 6-inch strip of zinc bent into V-shape.

The bottom is raised off the ground by two crass-pieces of 2 by 2 inch deal, on which the body rests at the ends. Thcso pieces are set out beyond the ends of B, O, to be flush with front and back.

The kennel is thoroughly creosoted out-side, and limewashed inside. The inside should be exposed to the sun occasionally, and the bottom board be well scrubbed at the same time.

Door Bolts. These are of many different kinds and patterns. The majority are for screwing to the surface; others are sunk into the door flush. All are simple devices and seldom give trouble, provided that they are kept properly lubricated.

A bolt which shoots into the solid wood of the door frame gives better security than one with a socket or staple, unless the latter is stout and secured with large screws. The resistance of a bolt is only that of its staple or socket.

Circular bolts with knobs which can be turned against the door are not so likely to catch on things as those with knobs that cannot be reversed. Bolts of the above with a stick or other implement. First kind should be used on house doors If a bolt is difficult to get into its with glass in them, or on doors in outside socket, owing to the door being warped or partitions, since when the knob is turned sagged slightly, remove it and file the end down it cannot be moved by striking from all round to a taper.

A useful form of bolt for outhouse doors, gates, etc., is the padlock bolt with a hasp in place of a knob. A rectangular hole in the hasp passes over a staple when the bolt is revolved, and a padlock in the staple makes movement of the bolt impossible.

When fitting a bolt and ring staple or socket, fix the bolt first; shoot it; adjust the staple on it; and screw on the staple. The two must then be in line.

Door, Ledge-and-Brace. The construction of a panelled door is beyond the abilities of most amateur joiners; but a door of the kind to be described is easily put together. It is composed of vertical match boarding held together at the back by horizontal ledges, and prevented from sagging by oblique braces let into the ledges. The boards may be f or f inch thick; the ledges and braces should be of 1 inch stuff, 6 or 7 inches wide.

Assuming the door to be 3 feet wide and 6 feet 6 inches high, the boards should be 6 feet 7 inches or 6 feet 8 inches long. As many boards will be needed as will give a width of 3 feet when the groove of one outside board and the tongue of the other have been removed. Assemble the boards, and square across them the positions of the ledges. The braces are bevelled on the edges only.

Each ledge is screwed at one end to one outside board. The boards are then cramped tightly together, and the ledges screwed at the other end. The door can then be turned over for the intermediate boards to be nailed to the ledges. The ends of nails should be clenched flush along the grain of the wood.

Now comes the making and fitting of the braces. To be effective, the braces must run in the correct direction, that is, upwards and away from the hinge edge of the door, so that they shall be in com-pression. Each end of a braoe is square -ended part-way across and then sloped oil to the edge of the ledge.

To mark a brace, lay the board out of which it will be cut across two ledges, with its edges not less than 2 inches from their ends. Pencil marks are made on the brace over the edge of the ledges; and it then has the ends shaped, and is cut out. The ledges are marked off from the brace, and notches cut in them. Gare must be taken that these are not too deep, as the braces must be a tight fit.

Any slack will allow the door to settle The hinges to be used are cross and got out of square. When the braces garnets which should be at least 15 have been placed and nailed on through inches long.

The front, the ends of the doors are squared A door which is to be painted and will across and sawn to their final length. Be exposed to the weather should have all

DOVE-COTE surfaces painted before assembling that will be inaccessible to the paint-brush afterwards: tongues and grooves, insides of ledges and braces. White-lead paint is the best to use for the joints. If these are well sealed, water will not be able to find its way in.

Low doors of this kind need a ledge at top and bottom only.

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