This month's letter discuss Plaster Man and March's cover story.

Man on the moon?

Dear Nick,

Is Plaster Man supposed to be a funny column like Adventures in Drywall? I find Plaster Man to be quite entertaining. Plaster Man spends so much time with his aimless diatribes trying to convince readers that he is an expert that he is truly entertaining. Having lived and worked (I was a lather/carpenter for more 25 years) in central Illinois for all of my life, I believe I can state that unless Plaster Man learned some new skills, he's only mediocre at best. My family has more than 130 years of combined plastering experience with Dan Woiwode Plastering-a true "Plaster Man." I can recall Mr. Raymer's father-in-law working for Dan Hull Plastering-a mediocre contractor-back in the 70s.

Again, unless new skills were learned, I'm not convinced Mr. Raymer is the Plaster Man he claims to be. As a matter of fact, looking at the photos from the Feb. 2002 issue ("Basecoat Basics") I see several non-approved conditions: tape should never be overlapped (see USG handbook or the instructions on the bag). Also, if Plaster Man uses Kal-Kote then the use of self-sticking tape is not allowed by National Gypsum. Plaster Man notes that the fireplace has heavy corner beads installed. I see Kal-Korner beads that have an 1/8-inch ground-nothing "heavy" about that. Perhaps the beads were set incorrectly causing more than the required depth. Or, if the wall had a bow or was out of plumb then the bead could have been pulled out to compensate-but that wasn't indicated in the article. As far as mixing goes, an 80-pound sack of plaster can be mixed in a 6-gallon bucket (Sto buckets) easily. Or, if more than one sack is to be mixed a plastic garbage can works well. Plastic is better than metal as the metal can accelerate the set of the plaster if left in the can.

Plaster Man is a better salesman, in my opinion, than a plasterer.

Best regards,

Tim Golden

Plaster Man responds:

Mr. Golden,

Thank you for your letter. I totally agree that Dan Woiwode set a very high standard in plastering in central Illinois. Unfortunately, Mr. Woiwode died last year and his business no longer exists. And what makes this story more sad is that it's not an isolated case. In town after town, city after city, those who have done such quality work continue to slip off the scene, leaving no one behind to fill their shoes. I constantly meet and correspond with individuals who use those all too familiar phrases: "There used to be the best plasterer in our town" and "I used to work with a really good plasterer."

In sharp contrast, my father-in-law, Marvin Newman, and Dan Hull, were, and continue to be, very generous with the knowledge that they have. Each has trained more than a dozen plasterers who have in turn trained others. I personally have benefited from such generosity. I will agree with you again in saying that I am far from a "know it all." However, I am trying to improve on the knowledge that I have and learn all I can. For those I can't please, an old saying comes to mind that goes, "The moon would never shine if it paid attention to the dogs that howled at it!"

My goal as Plaster Man has, and always will be, to bring People, Plaster and Profit together. For far too long, the materials and knowledge about plastering have been closely guarded by a very small group that somehow looks on it as an "exclusive trade." I'm out to change that. Before another phrase becomes all too familiar: "Plastering? What's that?"


Plaster Man

Robin Raymer

Photos don't lie

Dear John,

My name is Jim Griffith. I have been a Duggan and Marcon employee for more then 12 years and was one of several D&M foremen on the Regional Performing Arts Center project. I feel I must comment on this article ("Sound Surroundings" March 2002). The two photos on page 23 have incorrect captions. In the upper photo the two men shown are clearly not hanging drywall! Please note the lack of drywall in the work area. Also notice the dark wood panels installed overhead. The 1-inch-by-3-inch strips were screwed in place to allow the shims to push up against the finished wood panels to allow the glue to set up. Further notice the drywall overhead has already been taped and coated. In the lower photo, you have got to be kidding. The two men in this photo are NOT filling in holes. We at Duggan and Marcon do not cut holes in Fiberock just to, as you have stated, fill them in. The hole you see in that sheet of rock is there to accommodate recessed lighting! What you are seeing-and your readers will not know-is that these two men are back buttering a sheet of Fiberock! Let me explain.

Most ceiling wood panels in Verizon Hall were hung on three layers of Fiberock. We had to install the first layer. Then dryfit every sheet for the second layer. After dryfitting each sheet we had to back butter the entire sheet with drywall joint compound or Dura-Bond 90. After the second layer was complete we then repeated this process for the third layer, dryfitting and back buttering. After Fiberock, complete wood panels were installed. That is what you are seeing in the upper photo.

I must also point out one of the most difficult factions of this project. Inside Verizon Hall there are no straight walls. Most of the ceilings are curved and bowed at the same time with three layers of Fiberock and wood panels! The enormous scope and complex nature of this project were neglected at best and misrepresented at the very least!

Yes, this was a very impressive job-I just wish you would have had the correct captions.

Thank you,

Jim Griffith