Question: What types of trowels do you recommend for use in plastering?

J. Kang,

Answer: I am talking personal preference here, as each plasterer has his or her own preferences. I break up the types of trowels into four categories: those for base coat, sand finish work, smooth coat finishing and repair.

For basecoat, finish and repair work, I use stainless steel trowels. For sand finish I use a carbon steel trowel, as it holds up better in using this rougher material. For the basecoat, I use a 14- or 16-inch-by-43/4-inch trowel. This works well for use in new basecoat work and in resurfacing older walls and ceilings, as it lays the basecoat on in a very even coat.

Marshalltown has a “broken-in” trowel line that is stainless steel and that has a curved shape that helps keep lines from forming when troweling. It’s worked well for me.

For smooth coat work and repair work, I really have liked using the Italian Venetian “type” trowels that are stainless steel with rounded edges. You can put a lot of pressure on them and feather well with them for smooth repairs that are done.

Hope this helps and much success on your projects that you do!

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Robin is a 20-year veteran of the plastering trade and has produced a series of videos on the subject. Write to the Plaster Man, Walls & Ceilings, 2401 W. Big Beaver, Suite 700, Troy, Mich. 48084.