Using Your Trowel
It is important to have a trowel
that is suitable for the job.
A brand new trowel out the box is fine for applying the backing coat but when it comes to the finish skim coat it is important to 'wear it in'. Otherwise it will be impossible to get a nice finish and the sharp points on the corners will forever be digging in to your wall. Plus even more importantly the square edges will almost cut into the plaster and will be far too harsh.
It is possible to buy 'pre-worn in' trowels but sometimes they still need a bit more work - it literally just takes a couple of minutes.
The corners need rounding off with a file or on a smooth concrete floor / paving. Once all four corners are slightly rounded all edges of the trowel can be gently smoothed off, again on a smooth concrete floor. But care should be taken to ensure the whole edge is smoothed and rounded in its entirety.
Whilst this is taking place putting a reasonable amount of pressure on to the trowel will encourage the blade to bend very slightly, meaning you will have a little tolerance if the angle of your trowel is not correct when applying the plaster.
Now this has been carried out just check that there are no harsh square edges - every edge should be slightly rounded and smooth.
Size of your trowel
Smaller can be better!
To achieve a good finish - it is important to push hard on the trowel. This not only keeps the plaster flat but also forces the plaster along the whole length of your trowel and into any hollow areas - hopefully to leave a nice even flat surface free of holes.
Therefore as a beginner a mall trowel is not only easier to control the angle (how far the leading edge is away from the wall) but also means more pressure can be applied over the smaller surface area.
The pressure you are able to apply as a beginner can vary due to your arm aching - therefore maximum pressure on a smaller surface area of the trowel can only be good (as long as you have the correct trowel technique)
A good size trowel for beginners (American site but it will give you the trowel details)
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The author cannot accept liability for the use of any of the materials or methods recommended in this manual or for any consequences arising out of their use. The author cannot guarantee the suitability of any recommendations made in this manual and shall not be under any legal liability of any kind in respect of or arising out of the content of this guide.