Japanese Plaster Hawks

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Project by CFrye posted 04-09-2022 02:18 AM 726 views 1 time favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I need a plaster hawk for a workshop I’ll be attending in the fall. I have all the other required tools. So I thought “Surely I can make one!” I did an online search to get dimensions. That’s when I found a site to DIY a Japanese version. That’ll do perfectly (says the woman who has never used ANY kind of plaster hawk…that I recall. If I did it was a few decades ago)!
I gathered up the materials (cough/scraps/cough) and made two. You may notice an extra set of holes in one. That’s for flipping the handle for a lefty. Countersunk screws only, no glue.
The SurePly that I used is floor underlayment but not technically luan that the DIY article specified. I’m not sure how long it will hold up. I thought about covering it with some aluminum flashing that I have.
Let me know if you have any experience with this kind of tool. Do you like it better than the stick-in-a-square-board version?
Edit: The hawks are roughly 12” x 12.5” (305mm x 318mm) and the heaviest one weighed in at 1 pound 2.125 ounces (514 grams).

-- God bless, Candy

16 comments so far

View bazz135uk's profile


819 posts in 3344 days

#1 posted 04-09-2022 03:01 AM

Hi Candy .
Never seen a Japanese Hawk before and would be interested in how it performs against our standard version we use here in England.
I used to plaster as a younger man not done it for quiet sometime but an considering converting my garage into a hot tub room and insulating and plastering the walls .
The Plaster Hawks here tend to be now made from Poly Plastic or Aluminium.

-- BAZZ, LIVERPOOL UK A workshop is not a luxury . We need it to preserve our sanity in this frantic world we live in. A place to be at peace.

View wildwoodbybrianjohns's profile


3290 posts in 1039 days

#2 posted 04-09-2022 03:23 AM

Interesting. I have always used hawks like the one in the photo above. My concern with the one you have made would be the weight compared to the thin sheetmetal ones. If the weight difference is negligible, or if the amount of work area is not large, then fine. And the japanese-style crossbrace-grip looks to have interesting maneuverability.

When doing large areas there is technique whereby you just take the bucket of mix, with a fairly wet mix and run the bucket against the wall while tipping it back and forth so as to create a wide bead of mud, say about 6”, then just come back with a wide blade or trowel and smooth up, then down, in slightly overlapping runs, then done, very fast, no need for a hawk.

-- WWBBJ: the first to compare a woman´s cheek to a rose was a poet. The second, an idiot. Dali

View DanHalka's profile


24 posts in 98 days

#3 posted 04-09-2022 03:54 AM

Very interesting project but I’m curious how it’d be to work with over time. The standard central perpendicular peg handle design has clear advantages over the parallel, diagonal one from the japanese version, i’d think. Aside from ergonomics and balance, the ability to easily spin the hawk while knocking up plaster and mortar is just so handy. If it didn’t work, they wouldn’t use them, though! Good luck with the workshop

View Ivan's profile


17324 posts in 4359 days

#4 posted 04-09-2022 05:30 AM

Interesting project…. rvery help in a workshop is very welcome…

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View 987Ron's profile (online now)


4135 posts in 808 days

#5 posted 04-09-2022 11:49 AM

interesting and hope it is good for your needs. Nicely done.

-- Ron

View Eric's profile (online now)


5722 posts in 1365 days

#6 posted 04-09-2022 12:17 PM

Have never seen one in that style. Would be interesting to see how it holds up. I have done a few plaster ceilings, but used a pan and a pool float, tried a hawks few tines, most of the material ended up on the floor.

-- Eric, building the dream. the "Loft"

View GR8HUNTER's profile (online now)


9692 posts in 2204 days

#7 posted 04-09-2022 02:04 PM

i do wish you all the luck finishing is not easy for me :<(((((((((

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN :<))

View recycle1943's profile


7071 posts in 3114 days

#8 posted 04-09-2022 02:25 PM

Good looking tool but it appears to be rather large. I promised myself (and my wife) that I would never attempt any plaster fiascos errr I mean jobs again and I’ve stayed true to that promise for years.

-- Dick, Malvern Ohio - my biggest fear is that when I die, my wife sells my toys for what I told her I paid for them

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

27798 posts in 4597 days

#9 posted 04-09-2022 02:25 PM

Neat project, Candy. I had to look up how it is used….............Cheers, Jim

ps, you appreciate a tool more if you make it yourself!!!!!!!!!!!!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Andre's profile


5291 posts in 3297 days

#10 posted 04-09-2022 02:54 PM

Looks way more comfortable to use:)

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View tyvekboy's profile


2185 posts in 4505 days

#11 posted 04-09-2022 05:40 PM

Very interesting.

What are you planning to do with what you learn at the workshop?

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View Schwieb's profile


1925 posts in 4953 days

#12 posted 04-09-2022 05:56 PM

Good work Candy, Hope this works out for you.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30679 posts in 3829 days

#13 posted 04-09-2022 06:39 PM

Very cool!

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View CFrye's profile


11487 posts in 3331 days

#14 posted 04-10-2022 01:47 AM

Thank you all for your interest and comments. I edited the post to include the dimensions: approximately 12×12.5” and 1 lb 2 oz.
The plastering will be toward the end of the 7 day hands on workshop where I will learn how to build a house with straw bales! After ‘assembly’ so to speak, the bales are covered and sealed to make them water, vermin, bug, and rot resistant. Due to their density the bales are already fire resistant. Check out the website

-- God bless, Candy

View Eric's profile (online now)


5722 posts in 1365 days

#15 posted 04-10-2022 02:26 AM

I have seen a few of those, they are neat and very energy efficient for comfort. It would be interesting to see some photos of that project.

-- Eric, building the dream. the "Loft"

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