Plastering goes way back to the earliest days of building. People used mud, and later lime plaster, to coat sticks and reeds.
Right through, plasterers have used hawks to transport the material for spreading onto the walls.
They made their hawks from a piece of board with a handle attached underneath…and this basic design hasn’t changed since!
Traditional Japanese plastering hawks
One notable style of plasterer’s hawk is that typically used in classical Japanese plastering, which produces very fine finishes in a range of colours and textures.
There is considerable ritual around the trowels (over one hundred different kinds!) and other instruments involved.
This style of hawk is still handmade by traditional plasterers today; its rustic simplicity reflecting the “wabi-sabi” (flawed beauty) aesthetic which informs traditional Japanese architecture. The two outside corners of the board are removed so that they don’t accidentally knock into the plasterwork.