I'm working on my 1908 wood lathe and plaster coved ceilings, filling
some cracks and small holes. For most of the coves, I can smooth out
my work by running a taping knife straight up the wall around the cove
and across the ceiling. However, the inside corners are alot more
difficult, as it is basically all curved and there are no straight
lines. Does anyone have any suggestions or advice on how to handle
these areas? How were they done originally?
The original plasterers would have had shaped trowels...
Best is to take a smoothing trowel of sufficient dimension and cut the
appropriate diameter to make one...if it's just a tiny amount of small
cracks, could get by w/ a plastic bowl or other semi-rigid piece...
OK, I can see doing this for the straight sections of cove, but it
seems like a curved trowel wouldn't work in the inside corners. As
you approach the corner, you'd hit the top of the curve of the
adjoining wall. If you tilt your trowel so the bottom is closer to
the adjoining wall than the top, you've now changed the shape of the
Or am I missing something here?
They were (probably) originally done with profiled metal scrapers,
with the plaster laid in several steps. I had the opportunity of
watching a master plasterer do this on a Brooklyn Heights renovation.
He used cardboard to get the profile of the existing cove (which was
fairly complex) and used that to grind a blade. He made it look real
easy but that's what experience looks like.
I've got plaster coves here and have been meaning to cut a scraper to
handle this ever since I got the place. Now that I'm almost done here
it doesn't make much sense. Anyway, inside corners are a bitch. I
used an 1-1/2" blade and a lot of sandpaper.
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