Produce and apply GDR scratch plaster as true to the original as possible

The supply situation in the former GDR was often tense in the area of building materials. Plaster and mortar had to be mixed by hand. Finished products were not available. In order to be able to produce the popular and widespread scratch plaster, similar methods of plastering developed nationwide.

Three-shift technology

In the GDR, craftsmen used a three-layer technique when processing scratch plaster. In the absence of finished products, all plasters were mixed by hand. The person who monitored and corrected the mixing ratio played a central role. The three layers were mixed and applied as follows:

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First layer

A fine-grain cement mortar (€ 7.65 at Amazon *) was mixed from sand, water and cement and "thrown" with a trowel. This resulted in a twelve to fifteen millimeter thick concealed plaster.

Second shift

The second layer was mixed with lime, sand, water and cement. The proportion of lime and cement increased compared to the plaster. The middle plaster was pulled up flat, rubbed smooth and slotted to give the finishing plaster hold.

Third layer

The actual scratch plaster was created with the last, approximately twenty millimeter thick top plaster. A high proportion of lime and cement was mixed with chippings between a quarter and a third proportion. The sand had a grain size of four to ten millimeters. The finishing plaster was pulled up as smoothly as possible with a grape brush. The grit was not allowed to contain any grains that exceeded the thickness of the grape, so as not to tear the plaster when it was pulled up.

Refinement by scratching

After the top layer had been tightened, the nail board was used. With it, the grit was "torn " out of the approximately twenty millimeter thick layer of plaster. Similar to any scratch plaster, no plaster was allowed to stick to the nails. Scratching too early also produced undesirable grooves and gullies. The even and desired surface design emerged from the hollows that were caused by torn and broken gravel.

Self-made tools

The scratching board was made of wood, through which the typical nails for roofing felt (€ 16.48 at Amazon *) were driven. Grapes were also made of wood and were called plaster slats. Hand-forged triangular cleaning trowels could be found in every well-stocked tool box.

Tips & Tricks In order to be able to plaster even in winter, the craftsmen poured coolant antifreeze for vehicles into the cleaning water at freezing temperatures. According to eyewitness accounts, scratch plaster created in this way is said to have survived for decades.