The characteristics of American maple wood and how to finish or stain it.
¶ Another excellent wood for use in a room that should have comparatively fine and delicate woodwork is maple, which can either be left in its natural color or finished in a tone of clear silver gray. As is well known, the natural maple takes on with use and wear a tone of clear pale yellow. This is not considered generally desirable, but if it should be needed to complete some special color scheme, it can be given to new maple by the careful use of aqua fortis, which should be diluted with water and used like sulphuric acid. The same precautions should be observed in using it, as it is a strong corrosive.
¶ Maple is generally considered much more beautiful when finished in the gray tone, as this harmonizes admirably with the colors most often used in a daintily furnished room, such as dull blue, old rose, pale straw color, reseda green and old ivory. It is not at all difficult to obtain this gray finish, for all that is needed is to brush a weak solution of iron rust on the wood. This solution is not made by using oxide of iron, which is commonly but erroneously supposed to mean the same thing as iron rust, but is obtained by throwing iron filings, rusty nails or any small pieces of iron into acid vinegar or a weak solution of acetic acid. After a couple of days the solution should be strained off and diluted with water until it is of the strength needed to get the desired color upon the wood. It is absolutely necessary in the case of this treatment to experiment first with small pieces. of wood before the solution is applied to the woodwork as a whole, because otherwise it would be impossible to judge as to the strength of solution needed to give the desired effect. The color does not show at all until the application is thoroughly dry. If it is too weak, the wood will not be gray enough, and if it is too strong, it will be dark and muddy looking, sometimes almost black.
¶ After the woodwork so treated is perfectly dry and has been carefully sandpapered with very fine sandpaper, it should be given a coat of thin shellac that has been slightly darkened by putting in a few drops of black aniline (the kind that is soluble in alcohol) ; then it is given the final finish by rubbing with wax. These are the only methods we know that give good results on maple. We have tried the sulphuric acid treatment upon this wood, but have not found it satisfactory.
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This is Maple Wood.
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