Applying the Scratch Coat

Applying the scratch coat is the hardest part of plastering. The bare straw will seem to swallow remarkable amounts of plaster, and you will require hawk fill-ups at an astounding rate. Avoid overworking the plaster by using as few strokes as possible to achieve your best result. The brown coat will offer lots of opportunity for straightening the walls, so concentrate mainly on even coverage and a good bond with the straw for the scratch coat.You should keep a pair of wire cutters in your pocket, to trim bits of string, straw, and wire that refuse to be buried beneath the plaster.

You will need to scratch the surface before it becomes too hard to do so. If the plaster is too soft, the scratching tool will leave lumps that will annoy you on the next coat, and cause that coat to be thicker than necessary. Be sure to score the plaster well, using horizontal motions.

We often use a trowel that has been cut with ridges to do this scratching. This allows us one last shot at working the plaster while also doing the scratching.

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