Coffeehouse Conversations 8 - Plaster Works

We've just posted the eighth video in our Coffeehouse Conversations series. This episode is entitled Plaster Works, and it features Conservator of Architecture Matthew Webster; it also shows members of the Historic Masonry Trades Staff, bricklayers from the Maintenance Department, and members of the Conservation team.

In the video, Matt describes the process of acquiring lime from oyster shells, and then goes on to explain the composition and application of plaster in the Coffeehouse. Coffeehouse Conversations is produced by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation's division of Productions, Publications, and Learning Ventures.

The video is 6 minutes and 13 seconds in length, and requires Adobe Flash® to view. If you don't have Adobe Flash installed, you can download a free version from Adobe's website.

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steve's Gravatar

When I was an apprentice the fellow I worked with (who was 65 at the time) would spend alot of coffee breaks explaining to me how they used to slack lime in pits on site, he would drill into me the fact that the plaster we were using today (gypsum) was rubbish, and that the trade is heading to its demise ...this was in the mid 70's in the north of england....Geoff Prest how right you were my friend !

Fast forward 30 years and I am seeing a resurgence in the call for lime finishes,although I hope I am not at any time in the near future having to build a lime rick:P
I'm hopefull that eventually the use of drywall and gypsum's take an about face,and we see an even greater use of lime base coats and lime putty finishes.
Although these products are available in the market place most are imported from europe...making them cost prohibitive with a large carbon footprint left behind in the shipping lanes.

This is an excellent account of the use of a lime rick,and the work involved in producing quality craftmanship.
Hopefully people continue to expand there knowledge of this trade before it is to late and long lost.

Keep up the good work....excellent video!

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Posted By steve | 11/22/09 2:17 PM