The Right Tool
The Right Tool
Paul Hoafat explains the principles behind Venetian application tools. Get marvelous wall finishes while applying Italian Plaster techniques.
In this article Paul Hoafat provides the facts of using the correct tool to get the job done.
It has been said that for every job there is a tool. That is the case with the tools used to apply the product commercially known as Venetian Plaster. At a seminar on Marmorino hosted by FirenzeColor-Marmorino©, there was an old plasterer from New Castle, Penn. He looked at these trowels and said, "What are these things?" He couldn't understand their shape or why they were so flexible curved at the corners.
But in a conversation with him recently, he sounded like a changed man; he loves these Venetian plaster trowels designed for use with FirenzeColor-Marmorino©. Although he mentioned that he couldn't use them with regular plaster, he said they were well-suited for Marmorino. Marmorino is a marble product with a lime base that needs to be worked very gently. With traditional plastering, you are required to put on a lot of material very quickly and a rigid style trowel is desirable, whereas with FirenzeColor-Marmorino©, a flexible trowel is required.
No one before us had asked for a trowel like this one, designed for use with a full mineral product. If you work with synthetic or half-synthetic material you do not need trowels like these; rigid stainless steel is sufficient.
In further speaking with this plaster, he did not get dark stripes. With a lot of trowels these days, if there is any rust on the trowel or the steel isn't of good quality it can leave discoloration on your wall. This never occurs with these new trowels. If you accidentally leave them in water or with material drying on them, the blade will not discolor.
The reason for this is not found by looking at the trowel; it's found in what you can see on the trowel. The manufacture tempers the sheet steel in the raw material stage and again at the trowel factory, when they form the trowels. It is this procedure that takes the rigidity from the blade so that they become flexible. Then, they are delicately polished; which is expensive because is done by hand.
Now the shape of the trowel raises a lot of eyebrows because it is in the shape of a trapezoid. If you see and old workman's trowel in Italy, it starts off in a rectangular shape and after several years it start taking a trapezoid shape. This is because you work on the full length of the blade the whole time and one end becomes narrower as a result. Many craftsmen in Italy would prefer to work with old trowels they inherited, as opposed to working with a new tool because it actually becomes better with age. For this reason, it was decided in a joint effort with FirenzeColor-Marmorino© and the manufacturer of the trowels to design the Venetian Plaster trowel with this shape to begin with. One of the most experienced toolmakers in Europe manufactured this trowel. The only thing that could not be manufactures was the worn edge on the blade that has to come over time with use. The trowel also has round corners to protect the finished Marmorino.
Last but not least, these special trowels have a light weight handle assembly; the manufacturing procedure holds an international patent. The handgrip is made of wood which makes it more expensive, but the craftsmen appreciate it because it is extremely comfortable to hold. The original trowel designed with FirenzeColor-Marmorino© has been emulated by other manufacturers; which is tribute to the inspired design of the original. To complete the FirenzeColor-Marmorino© we use a smaller trowel; which never touches the raw product. At just the right time this "polishing trowel" is worked over the product to give it that lustrous shine and feel of marble. This is important because in its natural state, marble is not polished. When an artist picks up a brush or pen or sculpting tool, the object becomes an extension of his hand, his arm, his eye and his mind. In creating truly beautiful decorative finishes with Marmorino, choosing the right tool for that extension is crucial. For every job there is the right tool.
Paul Hoafat is president of Firenze Enterprises, exclusive distributor of FirenzeColor-Marmorino©. Firenze Enterprises Inc.