Michael Power is a plasterer based in Tasmania who was recently hired to restore an old building, the 1815 Hobart. In order to make the renovation be as close to the original as possible, he tried to incorporate horsehair into the solution wherein it acted as a binding agent. Many of the known plasterers in Sydney are impressed with the solution.
He tried to find sources of horsehair from different parts of the world but it was not only difficult to do so but it was also quite expensive.
Once as he was driving around the rural properties located around Tasmania, he realized that a more feasible solution was available at home. This is when he turned to one of his friends, a partner in playing golf, who has a horse.
Mr. Power said that he asked for the horsehair from his friend’s pet and he also asked other people he knows who have access to horsehair. His main specialty as a plasterer is in refurnishing old heritage buildings.
Looking back, lime plaster was originally created through employing animal hair as an agent for binding the mixture.
Mr. Power explained that its main purpose is as a backing coat that will be added on the plaster. The horsehair acts as a reinforcement to make sure that the plaster is not only more cohesive but its tensile strength is also improved.
Aside from horsehair, it is also possible to use hair from various animals such as bullocks and goats. If hemp fibre is available, it can also be mixed on the plaster. While it is possible to utilize man-made fibre, it is more favourable to use hair because of the little barbs present which can be seen when placed under the microscope. These barbs are where the lime is sticking.
Joe Csaki, Mr. Power’s friend with a pet horse, said that when he heard about the request he was quite baffled. He has no idea about the uses of horsehair. He has no idea that it can be used to revive one of the oldest buildings found in Australia. It is not surprising if other plasterers in Sydney are also going to use this trick as it is very effective.