Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Why Expertise Matters

This is how it looked in July 2007 when plaster expert Rory Brennan was using his Big Wally's PlasterMagic system to anchor up the plaster in the central hallway ceiling at Howard Hall Farm in Athens, New York.

Notice how smooth and flat everything looks. Notice how few holes he had to drill, and how few washers he utitilized to get a successful result. Notice how they're screwed in just right, neither too loose nor too snug.

Got it?

On the other hand, this is what it looks like this evening after I used the same system to reattach some of my study ceiling in Beaver, Pennsylvania.

See my ceiling pockmarked with washers. See how lumpy and bumpy the surface appears. See how I squashed in some of the plaster by tightening the washers too far.

Does practice and expertise and mastery of one's craft matter? Jolly right it does.

Nevertheless, this is still a plaster repair system that anyone with a reasonably good drill can successfully use. It's much easier and better and more efficient that trying to mud over permanent washers or ripping out the plaster and lath and installing drywall. My ceiling may end up looking a little-- uh-- rustic, but if the plaster stays up the Big Wally's has done it's job.

And messy as my repair job may be, I can plead that has a lot to do with what I was working with. Maybe my 93-year-old ceiling was actually in worse shape than the one at Reggie Young's 229-year-old farmhouse. After all, at some points I had to use longer-than-normal screws (2") just to get the tips in to the lath, the plaster was sagging so badly.

Or maybe it comes with being an amateur. In any event, the washers stay up the next two days, to give the adhesive time to dry. Between now and then I'll be praying I didn't tighten them all too tightly and squeeze all the adhesive out.

I doubt it. That's a couple of tubes worth up there. And it didn't all squirt out, did it?


Sandy said...

I sure do hope it comes out perfect (and I consider a few bumps perfect - it adds character)!

Elaine said...

Plaster disasters are the worst. We can't take it--we just start over with drywall. Guess there's just no easy way out. Fie, fie, FIE!!!

Kate H. said...

It would have been a lot easier if I'd gotten to it sooner.

There'd be no way I could start all over with drywall up here in my study. The ceiling lath is holding up loose blown-in fiberglas insulation and it'd literally be biting me forever if I took things down and let it loose.

Maybe if I get some plastering practice I could hire out? ;-)