Men of Letters
"I read your article ‘Wall and Ceiling Finishes to the Next Level' (October, 2003 issue) about Venetian plaster. I am in the stucco business in Kelowna and would like to know if this product is available in Canada, and if you know of anyone that gives hands-on training.
"We are located about 350 miles northeast of Seattle and about 250 miles from Vancouver."
Ron, I am looking into the possibility of doing a seminar/workshop in Canada-or close to the border-this year. I'll keep you posted.
Plastober fest"I read your article about a form of Venetian plaster and would like some more information on this technique. I have never worked with Venetian but am trying to expand the services offered to our clients. I am interested in different plaster systems and would be honored to have any advice of yours on the subject. "
"I have just finished reading your article on Venetian plaster and it looks like something I would like to learn more about so I could possibly offer it to my customers as an alternative finish. Please send me the details on how I might try this product and the training.
"Also, I read where you were looking for plasterers who have been in the business 25 years or more. I've been in the plaster business for 30 years, mostly all residential plastering."
Charlie"Hi Robin. I am the third generation plasterer in our family-fourth if you count great grandpa, who mainly was a hoddy helper and all around blacksmith. So, now I'm the last one alive. I started professionally at 16. I quit school and dodged the business agents in the union when they showed up on the job. So, now I continue the tradition as a contractor and I am teaching my son (who does a fair job with the trowel). I will always remember visiting an old plasterer friend in Germany seven years ago with my father and how excited we got when we saw Marmorino plaster in his whole house. It took him years to get all the sections done but what a look. Well, it's a great trade and will always be around. Styles come and go but quality never goes out of style."
Steve, Perris, Calif.
In answer to these letters and to the many others I received, the answer is that I am working on training videos on Venetian plaster. We started shooting these videos in December and they should be available shortly. I cannot tell you how fast this type of plaster is catching on. I-and those I have recently trained-only have to show the clients the sample boards of the product and they immediately are sold on it. I've never had a product that sells itself so easily. And believe it or not, pricing is not an issue as I thought it might be at first.
And I also want to add, as a partial response to Charlie's and Steve's letters, that I will be making efforts to interview them, as well as several other plasterers this year for upcoming columns. I've already been able to talk with some fascinating people that have great experiences to share. So, be looking for these "Plaster Profiles" soon.
"I am from New York and have been plastering for about five years now. We specialize in one and two coat veneer, EIFS and stucco. My question is this: We are having a severe bucket shortage and would like to get our hands on some better buckets. Not too long ago you highlighted a Samson Bucket. How can I get information on how to obtain some of their buckets and other products?"
I am glad to say that I have finally reached an agreement with a company to make these buckets available (I want to emphasize that many products for plastering are still considered "specialty items"-which means the companies are not real keen on breaking down the quantities into smaller amounts). The 12.5-gallon buckets are now available with or without lids. Just e-mail me and I'll give you the information. We have also been working hard on getting fiberglass mesh (38 inches wide by 150 foot long rolls) and screws and plaster washers, as well as a bonding agent, all used in interior resurfacing work. I've gotten tons of requests for these items, and we have gotten sources for these items, as well.
I have a long-term goal to bring all the products for plastering into one distribution chain, with one source for all the products and training that are available. I have actually thought seriously of having a "Plaster Roundtable" soon. If you would like to be a part of such a discussion group, please let me know. Please send me your contact information, your experience, including your connection to the plastering field, and the area of expertise you would bring to the table. A location and invitations to this event will be coordinated by me sometime in the near future.
To finish out, here's a quick letter showing that Walls & Ceilings is reaching an international audience:
"I am seeking plastering instructional videos/DVD's for my father. Do you know if there are any available?"
Good news Darren: I have gone to many companies and they are sponsoring a brand new series of "how-to" videos that we are planning on releasing the spring of 2004: two on veneer coat, one on repair work and one on resurfacing. So hang in there. They should be ready soon.
I thank all of you for your letters, comments and questions. I always welcome letters and enjoy keeping in close contact with many of you in the field. Continue to become the best you can be in the work you do. I wish you well. Until next time, Plaster On!