Author Topic: Alex's Major Home Improvement Thread  (Read 10336 times)

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Offline Alex

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Alex's Major Home Improvement Thread
« on: January 11, 2021, 05:51 PM »
I've been quite busy the past year, litterally working almost every single day on a large variety of projects. I had a lot of things to do for lots of people, but besides that I had to completely renovate my own home also. Unfortunately, due to all the work, I could not make very much progress in my own home, but yeah, the bills gotta be paid first. 

Nevertheless, now that a year has passed, looking back you can see that quite a lot has been done already, and I thought I'd share it here for those interested. Basically every Festool I have has been used by now in this project, but the main roles are for the T15, RO150, DTS 400, CS70 and the CTL Midi.

Most of the work I have to do is plastering all the walls, some just a bit, but lots of them from the bottom up. And I didn't really know how. But now that I've been practicing for a year I'm getting it under control, almost able to do a wall in one go, but in the beginning, the first few months, I really struggled very hard to understand the whole process. The walls I had to plaster, well, they learned a lot of bad words from me.  [embarassed]

And lots of other things have to be done too, I have to paint everything, but that's routine for me so not a big deal. I have to do lots of carpentry also, installing trim everywhere, make closets, fix doors and windows, basically every piece of wood in the house needs work. This was my parents house, now it is my home, and my father very enthousiastically renovated it two times, back in 1974 and 1984, but I am sorry to say, he was not very competent at it and I have to redo everything he did to get it to an acceptable standard.
   
I started with the hallway. It was actually the worst place of the house, because all the walls were almost in the same shape they were when they were originally build over 80 years ago. My father had never really done anything to make them better, he just just placed wainscotting over the old bad pieces, and covered everything else with wall paper. I had to remove it all, I want everything just straight, plastered walls painted with white latex.

Started by removing all the wainscotting. I lived here for 45 years now, I never knew this green goo was behind it.









At the front door I found there used to be tiles there. Tiles were gone but the thinset was still there. And proud of the surface of course, great, now I have to remove it all.




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Offline mrFinpgh

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Re: Alex's Major Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2021, 06:07 PM »
Looking forward to this thread.  I'm sure you have progressed by leaps and bounds, and will take my vicarious satisfaction where I can get it. :-)

What is the plaster of choice over there?   

Online DeformedTree

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Re: Alex's Major Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2021, 06:17 PM »
I was going to make a comment based on the first door, but then all the other photos show a dutch door.  So they aren't a myth.  But I'm guessing you don't call them dutch doors there.   You made me happy that your house has one.

House reno can be a killer, but it can/should be seen as skills development.  You sound like you have been learning plaster, though learning the skill many decades after when most do.

Offline Alex

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Re: Alex's Major Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2021, 06:37 PM »
Lot of damage to the walls, plaster's dropping off everywhere, and big nail holes because of all the wainscotting.



After a lot of work, all the wainscotting and wallpaper is gone. So roomy suddenly!  I like! [smile]



Then I had to chissel all the thinset away. I didn't have my hammer drill yet, so I had to do it all by hand. What a work, and apparently at the wrong time as my old neighbour politely but sturdily came to ask me to stop because I was interrupting him & his wife's special Bold & The Beautiful hour. So I went on the next day.





And then fill it up again with a first layer of plaster. I also hid the wire for the doorbel under it in a piece of electrical conduit.



After removing all the wallpaper I found this mess everywhere: my father cut slots for the electrical wiring, and filled them up with cement. Well, cement is nice for sticking bricks together, but you don't put it as the finish for your walls. And all very uneven and often proud of the surface again. And ofcourse cement is very hard, you don't just put the Rotex or the RAS on it to even it out, no, this needs hammering, again. Near electricity. Great. Again.  [mad]
 


You see this often with older houses, due to the movent of doors, the bricks layer above them cracked. This is difficult to repair without taking all the bricks out. I tried as best as I could to inject the spaces with a caulk that was made to replace mortar.

You can also see the white spots around the cracks, this is the original wallpaint that was used 80 years ago, and it is terrible stuff that I needed to remove all. It is a kind of white paint that dries but always stays soluable in water ("Witsel" in Dutch). You can't paint or plaster over it without removing it all. So I had to meticulously wash all the walls in the entire hallway with a sponge to get rid of it.
 


That poor wire of the doorbel had been hanging there since 1974, I thought I'd cut a nice little slot for it to cosy away. The layer of plaster was pretty thin there, no space to put a plastic tube in for protection.



The original plinths on the hall were pretty big, I am bringing everything down to 9 cm height. I didn't want to remove this so I cut it with the MultiMaster.



Radiator temporarily had to go. Was planning to put it back, but I found a nicer new one for almost nothing.



This had some very ugly wooden slats here, took them out and put a shiney new board in.



Then it was time to plaster. On the bottom there was a layer of green textured paint that I wanted to get rid of. But I know of textured paint and asbestos, so I asked an expert I know about it, and he said there was no asbestos in it. In fact, I did not have to worry at all in this house from 1938 because they didn't use it here until after the war for the rebuild. Well, that's a relief. So I sanded it all flat with my Rotex and put a first, thin layer of plaster over it.

I made a rookie mistake here that I hope won't come to haunt me later. I didn't use a primer, because the plaster package said you could use it almost everywhere without priming first due to special additives. Almost. [tongue]






Offline Alex

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Re: Alex's Major Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2021, 06:53 PM »
What is the plaster of choice over there?

All gipsum based. We have two major brands, Knauf and Gyproc, and they have many different types for different applications. I like the type Knauf MP75 best.



I was going to make a comment based on the first door, but then all the other photos show a dutch door.  So they aren't a myth.  But I'm guessing you don't call them dutch doors there.   You made me happy that your house has one.

Hm, a Dutch Door, I had to look that up. A door that can open the top half. Yep, that's my door. We do call them dutch doors, because we call all our doors dutch doors, just like we call all our houses dutch houses and all our streets dutch streets. And have you seen our dutch carpets? [smile]

House reno can be a killer, but it can/should be seen as skills development.  You sound like you have been learning plaster, though learning the skill many decades after when most do.

I've learned quite a few skills over the course of my life already, and I never stop adding them. But I must say, of all the DIY skills I have learned, plastering is most certainly the most difficult one.

Offline Alex

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Re: Alex's Major Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2021, 07:01 PM »
Well, buggers. Disaster struck.

This part certainly needed primer. I noticed a big bubble forming a few days later and with a few jabs of a putty knife it just all came down.



But so far the other parts of the hallway remain solid. This part was the only part that was dark green, while all the other parts where light green. Apparently someone put a different coating on this wall alone. Well, let's start over. WITH primer this time. And that's what I learned, ALWAYS PRIME!
 

Offline six-point socket II

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  • formerly @the_black_tie_diyer - 22/02/21 inactive.
Re: Alex's Major Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2021, 08:23 PM »
Great to see you starting a home improvement thread, Alex!

Your latest disaster reminded me of the time when such a bubble formed on our ceiling, but literally decades after it had cured ... That was a big mess.

Looking forward to see more of you work! Have fun!

Kind regards,
Oliver

Kind regards,
Oliver

"... . Say yes to stuff, and it will take you interesting places." - Anne Richards, CEO Fidelity International

Offline Bob D.

  • Posts: 1900
Re: Alex's Major Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2021, 09:15 PM »
I feel for ya Alex. I can relate to a lot of that work having done the same on my first home back in 82, well started in 82, didn't finish until 89. Then sold it in 1990. It felt like every hour I wasn't at work I was working on that monster 4600 Sq. foot house of 27 rooms and 64 windows.

That 10 foot tall Christmas tree was our first there having just moved in the month before.

The leaded glass window is about 38"W x 66"H. If I stood on the rim of the tub my head
was even with the top of the window and I'm 5'-11".

Luckily I did not have to do any plastering, only some minor repairs.
-----
It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?

Online DeformedTree

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Re: Alex's Major Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2021, 11:24 PM »
I was going to make a comment based on the first door, but then all the other photos show a dutch door.  So they aren't a myth.  But I'm guessing you don't call them dutch doors there.   You made me happy that your house has one.

Hm, a Dutch Door, I had to look that up. A door that can open the top half. Yep, that's my door. We do call them dutch doors, because we call all our doors dutch doors, just like we call all our houses dutch houses and all our streets dutch streets. And have you seen our dutch carpets? [smile]

House reno can be a killer, but it can/should be seen as skills development.  You sound like you have been learning plaster, though learning the skill many decades after when most do.

I've learned quite a few skills over the course of my life already, and I never stop adding them. But I must say, of all the DIY skills I have learned, plastering is most certainly the most difficult one.

Well, if you had to look it up, it just matches up to my comment.  While they aren't a common door here, they are called "Dutch Doors" for some reason, and I have always guessed if I went to Holland/Netherlands there would be no such doors.  Your house having one gives me hope that not all random named things are without basis.  So do you have a name for that style door verses a "one piece door".

Yeah, never stop adding skills.  Plaster is not high on my list for sure, of course it's largely dead in this country as discussed in a different thread. Buying a house and rebuilding it causes one to learn lots of stuff, the older they are, the more random things you have to learn that often you could do without learning.

Offline Alex

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Re: Alex's Major Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2021, 03:58 AM »
@six-point socket II Thanks Oliver, got plenty of pictures right now, so I'm not done posting yet.

@Bob D. Wow, nice house. That's a lot bigger than mine.


So do you have a name for that style door verses a "one piece door".

Had to look that up to, I never had a second thought about this type of door before. It is called a "boerendeur", which translates to "farmer's door". Apparently it is a style of door that became popular with farmers when they made their stables and wanted to have a way to open it for fresh air without letting their livestock get out. My door doesn't farm anymore though, both parts were bolted together long ago. It is a very solid teak door, but due to movement of the wood there was always a problem keeping the door insulated in the winter.

Offline Bob D.

  • Posts: 1900
Re: Alex's Major Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2021, 08:48 AM »
Thanks, I no longer live there. Bought it only as a fixer-upper and to make enough to get into the house I really wanted. Took 8 years but once sold I had enough to buy a lot and new 1600 sq ft home with no mortgage. I learned a lot along the way though. I hope you enjoy your project as much as I did that one.
-----
It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?

Offline Sparktrician

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Re: Alex's Major Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2021, 09:29 AM »
Alex, your comments about your father's workmanship reminded me of my own father's attempts at home repair.  When I was growing up, I thought he could fix almost anything, including doing electrical wiring for lights, replacing switches, etc.  Then after I completed military electrician school, I returned home and was horrified at what he's been doing and set about redoing things to get them safe.  He asked why and I told him there were reasons for there to be a safety code.  Another early warning was him cutting off the tip of a finger using a radial arm saw.  He actually managed to live quite a few years beyond that time, but I think he must have had a large contingent of angels protecting him and my mother.   [big grin]
- Willy -

  "Show us a man who never makes a mistake and we will show a man who never makes anything. 
  The capacity for occasional blundering is inseparable from the capacity to bring things to pass."

 - Herman Lincoln Wayland (1830-1898)

Online DeformedTree

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Re: Alex's Major Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2021, 10:58 AM »

So do you have a name for that style door verses a "one piece door".

Had to look that up to, I never had a second thought about this type of door before. It is called a "boerendeur", which translates to "farmer's door". Apparently it is a style of door that became popular with farmers when they made their stables and wanted to have a way to open it for fresh air without letting their livestock get out. My door doesn't farm anymore though, both parts were bolted together long ago. It is a very solid teak door, but due to movement of the wood there was always a problem keeping the door insulated in the winter.

Sounds like a future skill for you to master "doorwright",  restore the door to it's former agricultural glory.  Is a shame to hear it can't farm anymore.

Online Cheese

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Re: Alex's Major Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2021, 11:39 AM »

All gypsum based. We have two major brands, Knauf and Gyproc, and they have many different types for different applications. I like the type Knauf MP75 best.

Hm, a Dutch Door, I had to look that up. A door that can open the top half. Yep, that's my door. We do call them dutch doors, because we call all our doors dutch doors, just like we call all our houses dutch houses and all our streets dutch streets. And have you seen our dutch carpets? [smile]


Just curious if the 75 refers to the cure time?

This is how I became familiar with the term Dutch doors...from Mr. Ed the talking horse series, 1958-1966.  [big grin]






Online DeformedTree

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Re: Alex's Major Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2021, 12:16 PM »


This is how I became familiar with the term Dutch doors...from Mr. Ed the talking horse series, 1958-1966.  [big grin]

(Attachment Link)

That is a joint development of Dutch and French door technology.

Offline Alex

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Re: Alex's Major Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2021, 12:49 PM »
I hope you enjoy your project as much as I did that one.

Unfortunately I am pretty sure I don't. Too much pressure right now, everybody wants a piece of Alex and I get nothing in return. I am in an exceptionally complicated situation in my life right now. Ready to cross over into something new, but due to circumstances my old life won't let me go.

@Sparktrician

That's about the only thing I have little to complain about, at least he did that right and all safe and according to code. Only thing that baffles me is he installed a two way switch in the hall to turn the lights on and off on the frist floor and the second floor. But he only installed it on the first floor, and not on the second. So when I'm downstairs I can switch the light downstairs and upstairs, but when I'm upstairs, I can't switch the light downstairs. To correct it, I have to shove an extra wire in the conduit up two walls, and break open two floors to get to the junction boxes.

 

Offline Alex

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Re: Alex's Major Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #16 on: January 12, 2021, 12:56 PM »
Sounds like a future skill for you to master "doorwright",  restore the door to it's former agricultural glory.  Is a shame to hear it can't farm anymore.

Not sure I'm a master in it, but I can shape a piece of wood anyway I want, so that should not be a problem. But I don't want to. I think it is best currently, I don't need the top to open.

Just curious if the 75 refers to the cure time?

I don't think so. Not sure what it does stand for.

The way you work with it, you mix it, and then you have 30 minutes to apply it to the wall. Then you must let it sit for 2 hours to get stiffer, and then you have 30 minutes to plaster it all flat. Totaal work time 3 hours. And after that it has to dry, rule of thumb is 1 day per mm thickness, so if you applied 10 mm, you have to wait 10 days before it is fully cured and you can do the next thing, like painting.
 
« Last Edit: January 12, 2021, 02:08 PM by Alex »

Online Cheese

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Re: Alex's Major Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #17 on: January 12, 2021, 01:00 PM »
To correct it, I have to shove an extra wire in the conduit up two walls, and break open two floors to get to the junction boxes.

Or just install 2 new "electronic" switches that no longer use traveler wires. The switch downstairs would make the actual electrical connection while the switch upstairs would simply switch the downstairs switch on & off.

For 2-way, 3-way, 4-way...switching I haven't run a traveler wire in the last 5-7 years...all RF technology.

I've been using these exclusively for the last many years. There are also other brands out there available.

https://www.insteon.com/wall-switches
« Last Edit: January 12, 2021, 01:08 PM by Cheese »

Offline FestitaMakool

  • Posts: 826
Re: Alex's Major Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #18 on: January 12, 2021, 01:26 PM »
Alex, I’m gonna watch this space.. [big grin]
I’m too in the same dinghy so to speak. I’m considering a thread for my longish project too.
Now, plaster learning!  [wink]

And yes, farm door or stable door, quite common on cabins and small farms here too. Not so much in houses. There’s loads of sheep around mountain terrain, so it was just as well keeping these from a sneak peak inside too [blink] - still enjoying a half door open.
I think they’re cool, you should unbolt yours, have a lock inside to unlock when you’re opening for the sellers that puts a foot in the door!  [big grin]
“The Stig” Yes, it is true, at least some part of it..
“If you have an old Land Rover and a fit wife, you’re most likely always busy”

Offline Bob D.

  • Posts: 1900
Re: Alex's Major Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2021, 03:39 PM »
"That is a joint development of Dutch and French door technology."

aka Double Dutch :-)
-----
It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?

Offline Alex

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Re: Alex's Major Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #20 on: January 12, 2021, 04:11 PM »
Here's my Double Dutch Door again. [smile] Fast forward a couple of months. So little time to work on my home, on average maybe 10 hours per week. Entrance all done and walls and wood painted. To the right of the door there's a little closet for the gas and electricity meters, and it's front was completely demolished due to all the nails of the wainscotting. So I put a new layer of 4 mm multiplex over it.



Good progress in the rest of the hallway also, though not entirely done yet. But a huge difference with how it was.





And my new radiator. Some of the fins on the back were bent that's why it was discounted from 150 to 10 euros.  Couple of hits with a hammer and it was good to go.



The wall where the plaster dropped off is also fixed again, and now thanks to the primer adhesion is rock solid. I need to sand it lightly and apply a last ultra-thin layer with a ready made paste to get it completely smooth.



And the stairs done too, but also needs a bit of sanding and the last thin layer.

« Last Edit: January 19, 2021, 04:23 PM by Alex »

Offline Alex

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Re: Alex's Major Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #21 on: January 12, 2021, 05:23 PM »
I moved on to the living room. This was a lot of work. Wallpaper everywhere, and sometimes 4 layers thick. There was one layer in it with a paper that was waterproof, so I could not remove it by just making it wet and dissolve the glue, but I had to practically chissel it all away with a putty knife. The long wall alone took me 2 days just to get the paper off. But I was left with a good surface of drywall.

When originally installed, all the drywall was nailed though, and nails work themselves loose over time. There was a lot of movement in the boards so I got a pack of those black drywall screws and screwed it all tightly down. I also painted all the old nails with an oil based primer to prevent them from rusting from water in the plaster.

By the way, here is a picture of the room looked. This picture is 10 years old , but it still looked more or less the same. Some things were long gone though, like the book case and the CTL 22.

That wallpaper on the wall was originally as white as the paint of the window frame. That's what you get with two heavy smokers as parents.



Removed everything. I'm left with a wobbly but workable surface. Screwed everything tight.



Then it was time to apply the primer, this is the yellow stuff which means it is for poreus surfaces to regulate their suction. If you don't do this, the drywall will suck up lots of water when you apply the plaster, and your plaster will "burn" as they call it, it won't harden properly because it doesn't have enough water anymore. You can just roll it on, make sure to saturate the surface.



It dries quickly and you're left with a nice yellow wall. Time to place the 10 mm plaster profiles which ensure your layer gets the proper thickness. And place tape over the seams between the drywall boards.



I found a problem here though, the boards were so wobbly, that at one place they stuck out 10 mm beyond the profiles. Time for a little surgery. I made an incision with the multimaster so I could take off the drywall in the spot that was too high. Then I used the EHL65 planer to cut away 15 mm from the wooden supports underneath, and placed the boards back. Now everything fits.







So, now after 3 days of preparation it was finally time to start plastering. It was also the first time I got to use the new-to-me Protool MXP 1602 mixer I bought for this job. Suffice it to say, it performed flawlessly, with its 1500 watt motor it has all the power to make  mixing a full bag of plaster a breeze. So much better than a mixing rod in a drill. I am really glad I got this tool.

It was perfectly balanced, you can just put it down on the mixing rod and it will stay standing up.

I had this 45 L bucket, and that is enough to hold one bag of 25 Kg plaster. For one bag you have to add 16 liters of water. First the water in the bucket, then you pour in the plaster, and you let it sit for 5 minutes so it can "drink" as they call it. This improves the mixing result. And then you mix with the machine for 5 minutes until it is one lump-free mass. The mixer has 2 speeds, you start slowly in gear 1 for the heavy work, and when you don't see any dust anymore you can go to gear 2 which makes it all a lot easier.



The necessary tools laid out. A very handy step to reach the top of the wall.



A close up of the tools. I have to describe them, I got no clue how you call them in English.

1 - trowel to put plaster from the bucket on your board.
2 - board that holds the plaster.
3 - thingy that scrapes the plaster from your board on the wall.
4 - long straight edge to smooth your plaster on the wall.
5 - the knifes you use to plaster everything smooth in the end.




« Last Edit: January 12, 2021, 05:27 PM by Alex »

Offline mkasdin

  • Posts: 474
Re: Alex's Major Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #22 on: January 12, 2021, 05:28 PM »
You might want to cover the floors with Ramboard or the equivalent and hang plastic on the doorways for dust containment with a zipper for a passageway. Looking good.

Offline Alex

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Re: Alex's Major Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #23 on: January 12, 2021, 05:34 PM »
You might want to cover the floors with Ramboard or the equivalent and hang plastic on the doorways for dust containment with a zipper for a passageway. Looking good.

Thanks, but as you can see in the pictures, I did. But the carpet has to go anyway. I got a whole lot of PVC laminate flooring waiting to be installed instead.

Online DeformedTree

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Re: Alex's Major Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #24 on: January 12, 2021, 05:41 PM »
Alex,  this is all a historical journey correct? this and what you will show has been done, you are just showing us all after the fact (a review of the year, but presented as you experienced it)

Offline Alex

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Re: Alex's Major Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #25 on: January 12, 2021, 05:53 PM »
Alex,  this is all a historical journey correct? this and what you will show has been done, you are just showing us all after the fact (a review of the year, but presented as you experienced it)

Everything I did in the hallway was done over the past year. But I started in the living room last month. We have a lockdown here in Holland for a month now, so I am locked in here with all my tools and got to do something. And in oktober and november I did my attic. 

But isn't everything we tell a historical journey in a sense? Can't tell you what I've done if I haven't done it yet.  [tongue]  [big grin]

Online DeformedTree

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Re: Alex's Major Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #26 on: January 12, 2021, 07:11 PM »
Infinite Alex's in Infinite Universes on his Journey.  Some of which he master plaster at 19 years old, others he never heard of Festool, and one he was born in New Jersey to a used car salesman.

So, how big is your house?  Based on the comments, I'm gathering this is a row house, neighbor on one side at least (though shall not disrupt them watching their stories), maybe a shared wall on both.

Offline Jeff Zanin

  • Posts: 271
Re: Alex's Major Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #27 on: January 13, 2021, 03:50 PM »
Great thread Alex - you have made good progress and are making good use of your tools, also learning new skills, sometimes the hard way.  It sounds like the Multimaster is a workhorse for many of the tasks.

"ALWAYS PRIME" - I learned that on a previous project, not with plaster but seems to be even more important than with paint.

I am in a somewhat similar situation, living in the house I grew up in and trying to fix it up.  My projects are not as ambitious as yours, but you are giving me ideas...

Also, as far as I know my father never traveled to Europe, but he seems to have attended the same school or non-school as yours - every time I open up an area, or remove some camouflage that was applied years ago, there is more clean-up / rebuild / repair to be done. 

My place was built in the late 1950s, the walls are a combination of what I think was called "blueboard", then lath (wire mesh), then a coat of plaster or similar.  Instead of removing all of it back to the studs I am cutting out various panels here and there for electrical and other work.  I am using the TSC-55 with cement blade and finishing up with the M18 multitool, the blades for this last about one meter in these walls.  Obviously I am not going to rebuild with the same material but instead use normal drywall.  However the thickness of the existing finished walls does not match any available drywall, so I am furring out the studs to match the finished wall thickness.

Keep up the good work.

Offline cpw

  • Posts: 266
Re: Alex's Major Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #28 on: January 13, 2021, 10:13 PM »
Quote
1 - trowel to put plaster from the bucket on your board
2 - board that holds the plaster.
3 - thingy that scrapes the plaster from your board on the wall.
4 - long straight edge to smooth your plaster on the wall.
5 - the knifes you use to plaster everything smooth in the end.
I think these would be the right names:
1: Bucket scoop
2: Hawk
3: Trowel
4: Screed
5: Drywall knife

Offline Alex

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Re: Alex's Major Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #29 on: January 14, 2021, 03:05 AM »
Infinite Alex's in Infinite Universes on his Journey.  Some of which he master plaster at 19 years old, others he never heard of Festool, and one he was born in New Jersey to a used car salesman.

So, how big is your house?  Based on the comments, I'm gathering this is a row house, neighbor on one side at least (though shall not disrupt them watching their stories), maybe a shared wall on both.

Whoa, you're getting very philosophical here, not sure a home renovation warrants that.  [smile]

As for size, my house's base is 5,65 m x 9 m, with two full floors and an attic with a pointy roof. Total living space 150 square meters. And an 18 meter long garden.

 
Obviously I am not going to rebuild with the same material but instead use normal drywall.  However the thickness of the existing finished walls does not match any available drywall, so I am furring out the studs to match the finished wall thickness.

If you just want to close a patch here and there it is not so difficult. You can apply the plaster as top layer and just sand it flat. Maybe a few thin layers on top of each other. That's how I started out with this stuff.

I think these would be the right names:
1: Bucket scoop
2: Hawk
3: Trowel
4: Screed
5: Drywall knife

Thanks. I'll try to remember.  [smile]