I already wrote about N-daub in an old post, titled Marked Cards: Classic Daub, but I didn't include any images of daubed cards. Also, I am making this post because I recently made it available through my online store. At this time I only have a small limited supply available, for $75.00 per can, and the best part is that it comes packed in original vintage tin cans that were acquired from the old KC Card Company.
The vial next to the can of daub contains a liquid that I'll call daub rejuvenator. Basically, it is used to rejuvenate the daub, so that it doesn't completely dry out. The rejuvenator should be used very, very sparingly. Basically, every once in a while a small drop of rejuvenator should be added to the daub, then the daub should not be used for a couple of days, to make sure that the liquid spread throughout. The best way to ensure that the drop of liquid is small enough is to use a plastic toothpick, or some similar object.
Storage is also important. If the daub is kept at a constant temperature and relative humidity at around 55%, the rejuvenator might not even have to be used for years. So, the best place to keep it stored is in the fridge, zipped up in an airtight plastic bag.
The daub should never feel wet to the touch and it should not crackle. One of the most common mistakes people make is to put the work on the cards too strong and if the daub is too moist it will definitely produce work that's too strong.
I don't really want to provide detailed instructions about how to use this daub (or any other), but here are a few details that I am willing to share.
The can may easily be kept open in the coat pocket (a small magnet on the inside of the coat will keep the daub secure inside the coat pocket). When reaching inside the pocket to retrieve an object the painter can simply press the tip of a finger on the surface of the daub. Please note, it would be a mistake to rub the finger into the daub; pressing is the correct technique when using an open container. The amount of daub transferred to the fingertip should be minute. The image below should make that clear.
The amount of daub transferred to the fingertip in one dipping should be enough to put the work on several cards. How many cards exactly is anyone's guess, because it will greatly depend on the size of the smudges. But the fingertip should never be darker than seen on this image.
Every paper player will have his/her own techniques and code, so I'm not going to get into this here, but let's look at a sample card.
The image below shows a card that's been daubed light to medium strength. I'm not sure how well daub reproduces in photographs but I can see the work just fine, from the picture. Of course, there's a technique to reading the work.
This work was put onto a Diamond Back Bee card and the work can be read like juice (by the way, the letter "N" in the word N-daub, is the first letter of the main ingredient for one of the two juice recipes I use; the main ingredient is the main active ingredient of this daub). So, by blurring your vision you should be able to see the work better. Also, the work is easier to read at a distance. And finally, to help you read the work I made this into a rollover image. I actually took two pictures from the same distance, one picture is in focus and the other one is out of focus. So, by passing the mouse over the image, you will see the blurred version.
Some people might still have trouble seeing the work, even when looking at the blurred image. That's understandable, especially when one doesn't know what to look for. So, to make this easier I will explain what the work looks like. If you prefer to look for the work without knowing, just don't read the next paragraph, yet.
The card is marked in the upper left and lower right corners, next to the long edges. The smudges are fat and short, running horizontally.
There's one more detail that I need to explain, or better say, emphasize, about daub in general. Let's look up some dictionary definitions of daub:
1 - n. A crude patch, splash or smear of a semiliquid substance or something.
2 - v. To put or spread a semiliquid substance, for example, mud, paint, or cream, on a surface, in a crude, irregular, or hurried way; to paint or apply paint crudely and inexpertly.
That should say it all. Daub work should not look neat and deliberate. The whole point is to make it appear as of the cards have just been smudged through regular use, should anyone discover the work. In other words, technically speaking, one could mark the cards as neatly as I did in the example, above, but that's not really how it's done.
In closing, I will just mention that professionals almost always work teamed up. One or two painters will sit early in the game and put the work on the cards. They will leave the game early and walk away with the only piece of incriminating evidence; i.e. the actual can of daub. One or two players will join the game at a later time and exploit the work. Two players is always, especially on kidney shaped poker tables, better because each can read one half of the table and signal to the other.