The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 3, Issue 8 (December 1, 1928)
The Art of Painting
The interesting article entitled “The Art of Painting,” which appeared in the September issue of the Magazine, has focused attention upon the importance of the painter's work. The writer refers to the great part which paint and colours play in the lives of human beings, and, very properly, urges painters to make a thorough study of the theoretical and practical sides of their work to the end of giving the Department the best workmanship of which they are capable. In the following brief article I venture to emphasise one or two fundamental principles of painting upon which successful workmanship depends.
In the first place then, the surface to which paint is to be applied should be free from dust. Dust prevents the oil from entering the grain or pores of the material being painted, and thus the preservative effect of the paint is largely lost.
Adequate attention, too, must be given to the operation of priming. It must be done in the correct manner, so that no imperfections will show through the subsequent coats of paint, and all openings should be carefully stopped after the first coat of priming to prevent dampness from entering the grain and causing decay. Sappy timber, showing a sound surface but decayed at the back, can always be detected by the appearance of black streaks showing through the old paint. This timber should be removed instead of leaving it to rot through, thus destroying the fresh paint work and necessitating repainting.
Different materials, iron, hardwoods, etc., must be treated differently. Timber with an oily nature, like totara for instance, is more lasting than timber that contains little oil. Hence the latter timber requires a liberal application of oil to enable it to resist the effects of dampness. If open-grained or dry timber is thus treated there is no reason why it should not last equally as long as totara or similar hardwoods.
The priming coat, if it is to act as a preservative (its chief purpose), should contain more oil and less pigment than the finishing coat.
In view of the importance of the painter's work, might I suggest, in conclusion, the desirability of the formation of classes in the workshops, wherein the apprentices could be taught the best methods of painting by thoroughly qualified painters? I put forth the suggestion for what it is worth.