Oil Primer Recipes and the Ask a Painter Facebook Livecast with Nick Slavic of Nick Slavic Painting and Restoration.

Posted on Posted in Historic Preservation, paint

I just had the great pleasure of being the first interview on Nick Slavic’s Ask A Painter  Facebook Livecast program where we talked for two full hours about historic paints, varnishes, finishes and historic preservation and gave a quick look at The Landing in Shakopee, MN.   Nick hosts his live program each week on Facebook and gives an informed, in-depth discussion on painting, restoring and maintaining both old and new buildings for homeowners and painting professionals alike.  If you have a few minutes take a look at the interview program. I think you’ll enjoy it.

One of the many topics we covered was mixing oil paints and primers.  In the 19th and early 20th centuries painters usually mixed and tinted their paints and primers on the job site rather than buying pre-mixed paint.  Exterior paint jobs usually required two primer coats and two top coats to give even coverage.  Here are some paint recipes for primer and finish coats from the 1928 Handbook on Painting by the National Lead Company:

Formula No. 1 – Priming Coat  (New Outside Wood)

100 pounds Dutch Boy white lead

4 gallons pure raw linseed oil

2 gallons pure raw turpentine

1 pint pure drier

This will make 9 gallons of paint which will cover 5,175 square feet.

Formula No. 2 – Second Coat  (New Outside Wood)

100 pounds Dutch Boy white lead

1 1/2 gallons pure raw linseed oil

1 1/2 gallons pure turpentine

1 pint pure drier

This will make 6 gallons of paint which will cover 3,600 square feet.

Formula No. 3 – Third and Fourth Coats  (New Outside Wood)

100 pounds Dutch Boy white lead

3 1/2 to 4 gallons of pure raw linseed oil

1 pint pure turpentine

1 pint pure drier

This will make 6 1/2 to 7 gallons of paint which will cover about 3,900 to 4,200 square feet.

There are a couple of things you might find particularly interesting.  First, consider how much the white lead weighs in relation to the amount of paint mixed.  100 pounds of white lead only produces about 7 gallons of paint.  Two, notice how the ratio of linseed oil to primer shrinks during the successive coats.  Primer coats were much thinner to soak into the wood substrate and the top coats thicker to provide better coverage.

 

 

  

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