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Plastering: Plain and Decorative [Hardcover]

William Millar
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
RRP: £105.00
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Hardcover £70.00  
Hardcover, 18 May 1998 £99.77  

Book Description

18 May 1998

The first edition of this important book was originally published in 1897, but it is still viewed by most traditional plasterers as the plastering 'bible'. Now available in this facsimile edition this impressive volume presents a comprehensive coverage of traditional plasterwork, including everything from plain lime plastering through to hand modelling and cast plasterwork. Written by William Millar, who had practical first hand experience of using these methods, the book provides a fascinating and unique record of a craftsman's intimate knowledge of these traditional materials and techniques. This, the only detailed work currently available on this subject contains: a vital record of craft skills being practised 100 years ago; fully illustrated examples of decorative ceilings and other features; and in depth instructions for making casts and moulds.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 760 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; Facsimile edition (18 May 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1873394306
  • ISBN-13: 978-1873394304
  • Product Dimensions: 28 x 21.2 x 6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,283,775 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


For anyone interested in or who needs to know about plastering... Structural Survey Who would I recommend this book to? Well just about everybody professional, intelligent client or tradesman. Any young professional working in historic buildings should be made to read it from cover to cover... SPAB If you want to explore and acquaint yourself with the historical detail of this important area, then this is the book for you. Context It must be said that this book is simply marvellous SALVO

About the Author

Mr Millar was a Scottish plasterer active during the second half of the 19th century, the latter part of which was spent in and around London. He descended from a large family of plasterers, and was able to draw upon first hand knowledge and experience stretching back for generations.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
The book has been invaluable to my husband as he is a plasterer of many years. This book has help him through many complicated jobs. He highly recommends it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Invaluable Millar 28 May 2007
Millar is recognised as the final word on ornamental plastering by those studying or working in conservation and restoration.

This is an invaluable guide to the history, materials, receipes and methods that were either long established or contemporary to when this was written in 1897. Millar has twice guided me through matching the processes of unique products I've encountered in ancient buildings.

This reprint includes adverts I've seen in the first eddition from Millar's own company and from others working at the time, really giving this book the context of it's time.

Sarah - England's Ornamental Plastering
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compo men and plasterers 10 Nov 2010
Donhead Publishing has reprinted in facsimile the book described as the plasterer's bible, Plastering Plain & Decorative, written by William Millar in the 1890s, and edited and revised in 1927 by George Bankart, an architect turned craftsperson in lead and plaster who worked with the Bromsgrove Guild and Ernest Gimson of the Arts & Crafts movement.

The first chapter, on the history of plaster, written by George Robinson, and the date of the book at the peak of the English Arts & Crafts movement, is affirmed in comments made about Robert Adam that 'very little work was left to the art of the plasterer' who chiefly cast 'monotonously repetitive' elements, and now 'it is no longer the plasterer who adorns the house - it is the compo man'.

Chapter 5 on modelling and design in relief, written by Bankart, shows photos of the author's own work inspired by poems of William Morris and installed in Exeter (could this be Bystock?). The panels, in light relief and cleverly done, are pre-Raphaelite in style but almost like Flaxman in their modelling. 'Another bad habit is working with a wet sponge and finger,' he writes, because it 'leaves the surface smooth and shiny'.

Chapter 6 on plaster tools gives common names, except for riffle files, and while most tools are owned by plasterers, employers usually supply files and rasps. There are group photos and drawings of plaster tools, including American ones from Goldblatt Tool Co of Kansas City. What is the difference between a larry and a rake? A larry or drag has three or four prongs with a handle of six to nine feet for mixing hair with coarse stuff and knocking it up for use, while a rake has a plain blade and is used for making setting stuff.
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