Lovely holes in plaster/lath walls - where to buy materials?

Hello alt.home.repairers,
The darling wife's de-papering of the den of our 100-year-old house has revealed why there was paper up in the first place: crumbly walls. I've got several 12" holes down to the lath, and the whole thing needs a fresh skim-coat before paint will look decent.
So, I've figured out that I need something like structolite or gyspolite as a base-coat for the deep holes, and then something like Diamond finish coat (or Uni-Kal or X-KALibur, etc) over that. Preferably, I'll apply a bonder (plasterweld or USG pink or Durex plasterbond) to old plaster before skim-coating, and expanded metal lath over the existing lath to enhance the keying for the base coat.
Sounds great, but I haven't been able to find ANY or these things at the 5 hardware and big box shops I've been to. At most of these places, they stare at me like I'm a freak and then steer me to the Durabond 20/60/90 and tell me to use that for my basecoat and regular spackle for the top coat. Sounds a bit dodgy.
I'm in Chicago. Where can I buy the right stuff?
Thanks, TF1
PS: I realize that plastering ain't trivial, but I'm going to give it a try. My back-up plan is to lay 1/4 drywall over all the wals, so there ain't much harm in giving this a try first. I
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I think you may be being a bit ambitious to take on plastering. As you have discovered, wall papering may have been used to help the plaster, though it was quite normal to do even as brand new. If the overall condition is really bad, you may want to consider reinstalling one of the wall papers made for repair.
Structolite is a USG product. Contact any plaster contractor listed in your yellow pages and ask where they are buying their materials. They may sell to you from their stock or tell you what wholesaler they use. The local supplier here happens to be a cement company in their "dry goods" division. These are not lumber yard or borg items.
(top posted for your convenience) ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Keep the whole world singing . . . . DanG (remove the sevens) snipped-for-privacy@7cox.net

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DanG wrote:

Some might say since you always include the above it would be (top posting to be annoying and illogical).
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Yes, the heavy wall liner is another option - and cheaper than the 1/4 drywall. However, the big holes still need to be patched, and hence I'll want structolite and bonder to do that properly.
As for the skim coating... maybe I'll be up to the task, maybe not.
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