There are many plasterers out there who do a variety of what is called “flatwork” or “solid plaster-working,” such as stucco, traditional lime or gypsum plaster, veneer work or various decorative plasters. Many are intrigued by plaster mouldings but might be intimidated by the work itself, visually looking so different or by the thought of setting up a plaster shop, not knowing what it entails or how much it might cost. My experience has been that plasterers take to fibrous moldings work; both shop production and field installation, very quickly. Regarding setting up a plaster shop and getting tooled up for the field, plaster is really one of the most inexpensive trades to get started in.
For about $10,000 and a little sweat equity any plasterer can be up and running. Compared to other trades, such as smith or millwork, that’s a bargain, a fraction of the cost easily covered by one or two projects. The really good news is that plaster has been steadily making a comeback in contemporary architectural specification. The market demand is there, the work is profitable and enjoyable. At this point we just need more individual plaster shops servicing local communities. I’ll pull back the veil of secrecy and show at least how I’ve set up a plaster shop for myself and others.