Impressive midcentury drywall installer

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2021/01/13/impressive-midcentury-drywall-installer.html

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Hmm, that is good.

I could spend all day thinking about the cultural issues that make this not a thing today, even though plenty of modern construction workers could learn to do it and would like their jobs better if it were asked of them.

(the bit with knocking out a hole for the outlet is still pretty standard tho)

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Just looking at the ridiculous number of seams to mud made me shudder. Dry wall technology has come a long way. (also: nails!)

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Is that actually drywall or plaster lath? It’s nothing like the size of sheets of drywall in use today.

In the 1950’s there were still plenty of plasterers working. My first house was built in 1957 and had plaster walls and ceilings. The house I grew up in was built in 1964 and by then it was less common but my dad insisted on plaster walls.

Yeah, I was wondering whether drywall came in 2’ widths back then.

It looks like there’s some rock lath at around 5 seconds in the video. It’s the walls behind the framing on the right. Rock lath has those holes to let the plaster key and hang on the wall much like it does with slats of wooden lath.

The smooth boards being hung don’t appear to be lath. I suspect since it’s a demonstration and drywall was fairly heavy back then that they used smaller panels for the filming.

ETA: Huh, based on the full video it is gypsum lath. Looks like it was at an intermediate step before wider boards were produced and the idea of taping and skim coating took hold.

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Full 18-minute video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1CACkgUJcU

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I’m willing to bet that guy took care to keep the blade on his tool sharpened on a daily basis.

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Notice how when he is scoring the visible side of the curve, he has his hand behind the drywall so he can feel exactly where to score.

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My Dad did home/apartment construction for years, he had one of those hammers and I seem to recall me asking what it was for and he told me it was a drywall hammer, but never explained why it had that axehead at the back - it was in no way sharp enough for scoring drywall by the time I saw it (1980s). Not sure he ever used it for that, by the time I was old enough to remember, he was using a carpenter’s knife which is basically a fancy boxcutter.

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Don’t forget your mask and safety lenses!

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A 100% satisfying video. I want dem skills!

edit to add a thank you to Logolepsy for that video. I’m loving this guy’s skill!

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gotta wonder what kind of mouth cancer he got from holding all those nails in his lips all those years.

Amphetamines

On the one hand, I love videos like this, showing competent people quietly being competent at their jobs. Very uplifting.

On the other hand, I hate them. Every time I’ve tried that score-and-break technique, it never works. It’s always a jagged edge, and breaks the part that I don’t want broken. I just use a saw now…

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200

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This is how our 80 year old house was built. I recently put in a network jack in our guest room/home office, and this is the chunk of the wall I cut out. The right is the gypsum lath, the left is the base coat and finish coat of plaster.

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Also: Plasterers like that had a high likelihood of silicosis since they weren’t wearing masks, and probably got stuff in their eyes all the time.

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Sure wasn’t his first rodeo.

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And asbestosis from asbestos in mud and some gypsum board.

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