Monday, June 30, 2008


There was a little surprise waiting for me when I got home today. No, it was a big surprise. A very big surprise that came in a small package. A small UPS box was waiting on the front porch. Immediately I began to search my brain for any impending deliveries. Was there something I ordered that I had forgotten about? I couldn’t think of a thing.

I stared at the flat, square box as I unlocked the door and couldn’t think of anything I had ordered. My arms were full and I squinted at the label to see if it was in fact addressed to me. It was. I tried to see where it came from but the writing was too small.

After I unloaded on the floor of the foyer and went back out to get the mystery package. It was from HardwareStore.Com. Again I searched my memory for something I ordered. I mean, hardware store dot com, this must be something I ordered, but I couldn’t remember ordering anything lately.

Well, it turns out I didn’t order anything, but it was for me. It was a very unexpected gift from a blog reader, and no doubt a fellow plasterer. At some point I must have either complained about my crappy home-made plaster hawk, or maybe this thoughtful person caught a glimpse of it on a post. Either way, once you see my hawk, even if you’re not a plasterer, it is painfully obvious that I need a new one. Emphasis on the word “painfully”.

Here’s my hawk…

I made this about 5 years ago when I first put trowel to plaster in the upstairs bathroom. This was in my pre-blogging days. That is quarter-inch plywood with another quarter-inch of dried plaster on it. The handle is a piece of 2X2 with the corners knocked off “for comfort”. I’m a cheap bastard. I know it. What can I say.

To make matters worse with this hawk, one time it fell of the ladder with 10 pounds of plaster on it. The handle broke off when it hit the floor. Did I throw it away and buy a new one. Nope. I got a pair of pliers and unscrewed the now broken off screw. I then move the handle over an inch or two and drove in a new screw. Now, not only does it weigh a ton, but the handle is off-set so it lists to one side.

Plaster is heavy and holding any hawk for any amount of time takes its toll quickly. Using this hawk was brutal. I know it is. I think I’m both cheap and lazy. This is what makes me use a monstrosity like this for 5 years without replacing it. I think some of it has to do with the fact that I don’t feel like a real plasterer. Its like walking around with a tool belt on. Its not that the belt is uncomfortable, it just feels awkward to wear. Buying a real hawk is making a statement about how I feel about my abilities.

So Michael in Vermont bought one for me. He must have spotted a shot of mine on a blog post some place. No doubt something that would have gone unnoticed to most. It was just an unbelievably selfless, kind act. It was unexpected and made my week. Michael, I can’t thank you enough. The Blog-o-sphere is just a wonderful thing, isn’t it?

Here’s my new hawk….

This thing easily weighs one fifth that of my other “hawk”. Note the half-inch foam pad where the handle meets the plate. Notice how the handle is rounded with a tapered grip. This thing is a dream to hold. It almost makes me want to stop work on the butler’s pantry just so I can take this baby for a spin and do some plastering some place…..almost.

Michael, I can’t thank you enough. The next wall I plaster, this blog post gets stuck in the wall so future generations will know of your generosity.


Bill said...

I wish I had sprung for one of those when I (attempted to) plaster.

Anonymous said...

this post made my day. good on both of you.

Jennifer said...

How nice! I love packages... and a SURPRISE package? WOW!

This world is full of the nicest people.