Venetian plastering trowel

Thursday, September 5, 2013 - 16:45

Let’s take a look at the most important specialist tool needed for Marble plastering: the Trowel

The trowel is the tool that makes the polished plaster “alive”, it’s needed for the application of all the coats and the burnishing; without it, creating stone or marble like finishes would be impossible.

Basic attributes

What makes the Venetian plastering trowel suitable for marble plastering? The most important quality is the quality of the steel and the most important technical features are the rounded edges and corners. These attributes enable the creation of smooth, glossy or stone-like finishes without scratching the surface as an ordinary plastering trowel would. Some trowels have to be broken in but the highest quality Italian trowels like Pavan’s can be used straight away.

Sizes and material

Venetian trowels come in different shapes, sizes and with different handles, but all have to be flexible, durable and perfectly smooth. The most common blade form is the trapezoidal and the most common sizes are the 200mm x 80 mm, the 240mm x 100mm and the 280mm x 120mm. Every applicator needs the smallest 200mm size but larger areas require larger trowels. For some great examples see the Pavan trowel selection at Impera Italia.

Most good manufacturers also offer different blade thicknesses. Why is this important? The standard 0.6mm thickness is already flexible but some prefer 0.5 or even 0.4mm thickness because they are more flexible. The thinnest, 0.3mm Japanese trowel is only used for special applications of Stucco (high-gloss acrylic Venetian plaster) or Grassello (lime-based polished plaster). The right blade thickness and thereby flexibility makes your job much easier!

The trowel should be of the highest quality stainless steel, completely rust-free. Some are hand welded and carefully tested, these can be your faithful companions for 10 or 20 years. The handle can be made of wood or plastic, the latter is usually better suited for large areas because of the easier grip but eventually which handle an applicator uses is based on his personal preference.


Some trowels have edge protectors which should always be on if you aren’t using your trowel, especially for transportation. If you work with polished plasters, the edge of the trowel should be as sharp as possible as any imperfections scratch the surface thereby destroying the beauty of the Venetian plaster.

To maintain the required sharp, clear edge, get different grit size sandpapers. First, smoothen every edge with 600 and then go gradually up to 1500. Generally you should use wet&dry sandpaper as it’s more efficient.

Final thoughts

As the trowel is the most important tool of Venetian plastering, you should make sure you have good quality stainless steel trowels of the right size with the right handle available. A good trowel is not an investment but actually assures the quality of the finish. 80% of Venetian plastering is about the skill of the applicator and knowledge and tools are significant factors.

If you have any questions call our office at 020 458 1969