[The leather is first securely stretched on a frame or board.] In this case, that is when no priming coat is previously applied, the best way to prepare the surface is to apply three coats of coarse varnish (1 lb. seed-lac, 1 lb rosin to 1 gallon methylated spirit, dissolve and filter). This varnish, like all others formed from methylated spirits, must be applied in a warm place and all dampness should be avoided, for either cold or moisture chills it and thus prevents it taking proper hold of the surface on which it is applied. When the work is prepared thus, or by the priming made of size and whiting already described, the japan proper is itself applied.
The japan ground properly so called consists of the varnish and pigment where the whole surface is to be of one simple colour, or of the varnish, with or without pigment, on which some painting or other form of decoration is afterwards to be applied. It is best to form this ground with the desired pigment incorporated with shellac varnish, except in the case of a white japan ground which requires special treatment, or when great brilliancy is a desideratum and other methods must be adopted. The shellac varnish for the japan ground is best prepared as follows: shellac 1-1/4 lb., methylated spirits 1 gallon. Dissolve in a well-corked vessel in a warm place and with frequent shaking. After two or three days the shellac will be dissolved. It is then recommended to filter the solution through a flannel bag, and when all that will come through freely has done so the varnish should be run into a proper sized vessel and kept carefully corked for use. The bag may then be squeezed with the hand till the remainder of the fluid varnish is forced through it, and this if fairly clear may be used for rough purposes or added to the next batch. Pigments of any nature whatever may be used with the shellac varnish to give the desired tint to the ground, and where necessary they may be