The formation of a perfectly white japan ground and of the first degree of hardness has always been difficult to attain in the art of japanning, as there are few or no substances that can be so dissolved as to form a very hard varnish coat without being so darkened in the process as to quite degrade or spoil the whiteness of the colour. The following process, however, is said to give a composition which yields a very near approach to a perfect white ground: Take flake white or white lead washed and ground up with the sixth of its weight of starch and then dried, temper it properly for spreading with mastic varnish made thus: Take 5 oz. of mastic in powder and put it into a proper vessel with 1 lb. of spirits of turpentine; let them boil at a gentle heat till the mastic be dissolved, and, if there appear to be any turbidity, strain off the solution through flannel. Apply this intimate and homogeneous mixture on the body to be japanned, the surface of which has been suitably prepared either with or without the priming, then varnish it over with five or six coats of the following varnish: Provide any quantity of the best seed-lac and pick out of it all the clearest and whitest grains, take of this seed-lac 1/2 lb. and of gum anime 3/4 lb., pulverize the mixture to a coarse powder and dissolve in a gallon of methylated spirits and strain off the clear varnish. The seed-lac will give a slight tint to this varnish, but it cannot be omitted where the japanned surface must be hard, though where a softer surface will serve the purpose the proportion of seed-lac may be diminished and a little turpentine oleo-resin added to the gum anime to take off the brittleness. A very good varnish entirely free from brittleness may, it is said, be formed by dissolving gum anime in old nut or poppy oil, which must be made to boil gently when the gum is put into it. After being diluted with turps the white ground may be applied in this varnish, and then a coat or two of the varnish itself may be applied over it. These coats, however, take a long time to dry, and, owing to its softer nature, this japanned surface is more readily injured than that yielded by the shellac varnish.