How To Make Your Own Japanese Plaster Hawk

by ziggy on July 7, 2017 -- 0 comments -- Follow

Japanese plaster hawk

Read ahead for some tips on how to make these ergonomic Japanese plaster hawks

Japanese-style plaster hawks are a comfortable, ergonomic alternative to the typical hawk design you come across in the states. Best of all, you can very easily make your own with only a few basic materials and customize the proportions to your liking. Here’s how you make your own Japanese plaster hawk.

How To Make a Japanese Plaster Hawk

There’s not much required in way of time or materials to make a serviceable Japanese plaster hawk. A scrap of sheet material for the top and some narrow strips of wood for the handles will get you there. Here are some tips.

Japanese plaster hawk - materials

This is all you need to throw together a respectable hawk

1.) Making the board — I like to use luan for the board. Luan is the thin sheet good product that is commonly used under vinyl floor installations. The key here is that it’s lightweight and very thin (about 1/8″ thick), but also durable and resistant to water damage. I have a collection of luan scraps from taking out floors and dismantling old kitchen cabinets that I use for making new hawks.

The dimensions of your board can be customized to your liking. Start with something like 12 1/2″ long by 12″ wide. You can vary those dimensions up to an inch, but 12 1/2″ x 12″ should give you a reasonable surface area. Cut off the two corners that will face you at a 45 degree angle.

Japanese plaster hawk - handle

Soften the edges of the handle with sandpaper to make it more comfortable

2.) Shape the handles — Use small pieces of a lightweight wood (such as pine or poplar) to construct the handle, about 3/4″ thick by 1″ wide. Again, this can vary based on the size of your hand, but these dimensions should be comfortable for most plasterers. Use a piece of sandpaper or a block plane to remove the sharp corners on the diagonal handle piece. This will make the handle much more comfortable to hold. Cut your handle material to length and install the cross piece at an angle… not quite from corner to corner, but a little less, like this:

Japanese wood plaster hawk

Here’s how the handle should get attached to the back of the hawk

3.) Screw the handles to the board — You can attach the cross pieces directly through the top of the luan. Use a screw with a small head, ideally, and be sure to set it just below the surface. The screws will not interfere at all with your trowel as long as they are barely sunk under the surface.

Japanese plaster hawk - DIY

These trim screws are ideal for attaching the wood strips to the back

4) Use it! — That’s about all there is to it! Easy, huh? Make a couple while you’re at it, so you have some ready for friends or work partners. If you have the material lying around, it shouldn’t take more than 5-10 minutes to throw one together!

Japanese plaster hawk - complete

Ready for action!

p.s. Interested in learning more about Japanese plastering trowels? Check this out!

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