A Guide On Some Of The Tools Of The Trade

There are a multitude of tools that are used in the stucco process. They range from simple hand tools like metal cutters and a hatchet to engine-driven equipment such as a mixer. These tools make modern stucco what it is today and it is only going to get more advanced in the future.

The Hawk And Trowel:

These are the most used tools throughout the trade… hands down. These are what a plasterer uses to apply the cement to the wall. The “hawk” is a square metalic type of surface that has a handle on it for the user to grab a hold of. It is made out of either magnesium or aluminum and is very light-weight.

The trowel is essentially a thin piece of steel that has a handle attached to it so you are able to use it. These can be used by tile workers, concrete finishers and even painters for their particular job requirements. They are pretty common these days and many individuals have either used one or have seen one being used before.

The Go Devil:

This particular tool has many names: A Go Devil, A Boogie Board, A Cheater Board and so on. This is a great tool that is used for scratching and/or browning. It holds 2-3 times the amount of cement that a hawk and trowel does and greatly speeds up the process of applying the material to the wall. These are not typically used by union employees, but rather independent stucco contracting companies.

A Darby:

A darby is used specifically on the brown coat and is a long trowel looking tool that has two handles on it. It is used to make sure that the cement is spread evenly on the brown and removes any low or high spots in the wall. The edges can be serrated or smooth and can even have both types on either side of the tool. These take some time to master.


A scratcher or scarifier is a tool that is used to make indentions in the cement that produces a rough finish that the brown coat can stick to. Some plasterers use tape on them to provide a cleaner, more controlled look in the end.


Floats are basically a sponge that has a handle mounted on it and they are used in all of the process that require cement to be applied. They are available in different varieties of coarseness to allow for more customizable options.

Margin And Pointer Trowels:

These are handy tools that allow you to get into those tight spaces around the house. The margin trowel is a small rectangular shaped tool that is great for tight spots and scraping. The pointer trowel is used where a regular or even a margin trowel cannot reach, primarily gable peaks and triangular shaped areas.

Corner Tools:

These are basically tools that assist in forming “free hand” corners and curves where corner and arch aid is not present. These make it easier to get professional looking results on corners that need to be custom made.


Scoops are used to transfer the cement that is inside of a bucket to a plasterer’s hawk. Sometimes A bucket is used in place of a mud board because it is easier or more convenient to do so and a scoop does just that… scoops the material out of the bucket.


The mixer is the actual machine that mixes the sand, water and cement together to form the stucco mix. They can be as simple as a drill with a mixing paddle attached, or a larger tow-behind, engine powered type. The tow-behind mixer is for larger areas and the drill is for smaller ones, including acrylic finishes.

Dash Brush:

These are used on the finish coat for traditional stucco finishes and are ideal for small to medium areas. It holds the cement on the bristles and is then flicked on the wall to create a series of splatters, which are knocked down by a trowel a little later. This creates a unique texture that is commonly known as a dash or knockdown texture.

Staple Guns, Compressors And Accessories:

Staple Guns are an essential part of the lathing process and can speed up the time that it takes to secure the wire to the wall. It requires a compressor and a hose to be attached to it and of coarse…staples. The stapler require larger staples than you may think, carefully study the pictures.

Tin Snips, Cutters, Etc.:

These particular tools are used in the lath process and are used to modify all of the metal components that are found in stucco like the wire, corner aid, weep screed, etc. There are different sizes of metal scissors and a range of styles for specialty cuts.


About the author

The Stucco Guy

My name is Ryan and I have been in the construction trades for many years now and I feel that there is a huge "knowledge gap" when it comes to particular trades.... like stucco. I made this site to inform others about the simplicity of the art and that many people can do stucco themselves, if they put their minds to it. I hope you find the information here useful and please don't hesitate to contact me by leaving a comment. Thanks for stopping by!


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