UNDER THE GUIDANCE OF A RENOWNED EXPERT in old-world masonry and lime plastering, Hess Pumice formulated a natural plaster product that puts the strength, durability and beauty of the old-world masters in the capable hands of today’s plasterers.
THE MAN BEHIND LIMESTRONGTM
tan Petersen has a long lifetime of seen-it-all experience formulating and applying natural plasters and mortars. His expertise as a master plasterer and his deep knowledge of old-world plaster formulas and application techniques is recognized world-wide. That “world-wide” term is easy to throw around, but in Stan’s case, he is a true globetrotter, willing to go wherever his expertise is needed...historical building restorations in Europe and the US, high-end custom homes in Aspen, Colorado or Park City, Utah, or a resort village complex in the Baja on the shores of the Sea of Cortez.
OLD-WORLD FINISHES: CHARMING DURABILITY
While many simply settle for mediocre and common, there are those out there who are much more discriminating about the eye appeal and green-cred of not only the materials used to construct their home or business structure, but the finish of it as well. There is a delighted group of those discriminating types lucky enough to have known somebody who knew somebody who knew Stan Petersen. As Stan is fond of saying: “I count among my best friends my former clients. That wouldn’t be the case if my finishes had failed.”
A STUDENT OF THE OLD (WORLD) SCHOOL
Stan comes from a line of masons and plasterers—his grandparents immigrated to America from Norway and brought the old-world craftsmanship and savvy with them. From the time Stan was a boy, he was working with his father building masonry and wood structures and finishing them with plaster. It was during those formative years around his father and uncles that Stan developed an intense desire to fully understand the materials he was working with. It was not enough to simply apply a beautiful lime-washed plaster finish, he wanted to understand and master the delicate chemistry that made it work so well and last so long.
As the demand for his skills took him beyond the American West and into Europe, Mexico and Central America, he relentlessly sought out and learned from those master craftsmen who formulated and applied the neglected art of old-world plaster and mortar. Whether it was learning from master masons and plasterers in Scotland, or living and working among Mexican villagers in Chiapas learning from the plaster “maestros” he found there, or in Morocco learning the traditional craft of tadelakt lime finishes, Stan has been a voracious student of tried-and-true old-world techniques and sustainable, economical mix designs.
“My professional education has been as complete as it has been colorful,” says Stan, “not from some school somewhere—no college teaches such things—but from the maestros themselves. Take additives, for example,” he continues. “Different regions use different additives to lend desirable characteristics and color tints to their plaster finishes. Deep in the hot humid jungles of southern Mexico I learned to brew barrels of Nopales cactus to get a juice that helps make lime plaster more impervious to the wet tropical climate. In other places it was three-day-old cow dung. Or ox blood. Or egg whites. Fascinating.”
Through it all, Stan learned, applied what he learned, shared what he knew with others, and relentlessly expanded his world-renowned expertise.
When plans are made to preserve, restore, or even recreate the character and integrity of the beautiful lime finishes in beloved historical structures, experts turn to Stan Petersen. When actor and director Sam Wanamaker led the charge to faithfully recreate Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in the London Borough of Southward, Stan was hired as the supervising mixologist for the lime plaster used to accurately reconstruct the harrowed finishes on that painstakingly researched and lovingly recreated building.
Stan consulted on restoration and preservation plans to protect the pioneer craftsmanship of the historic Mormon Tabernacle (including a earthquake-proofing retrofit) in Salt Lake City, Utah USA.
The list goes on. It’s safe to say that Stan Petersen knows more about formulating and applying traditional lime finishes than any single person in the United States.
THE BEST POZZOLAN FOR HIS PLASTER
As the Romans discovered, lime cements and plasters are at their strongest when fine-grained pumice (which they called pozzolana) is present in the mix. Stan, of course, knew that, and would scrounge around the local job area for a pozzolan (typically pumice) to use in his lime plasters and mortars. And then came the day that Stan discovered the ideal pozzolan for his formulations. In the corner of southeast Idaho was a pumice mine yielding a pure white pumice that proved to be the perfect performer for Stan’s go-to lime plaster formulation. From then on, whenever logistically feasible, he sourced Hess Pumice exclusively for his lime plaster and mortar projects.
Several years later, Stan was approached by Hess Pumice to formalize his lime-and-pozzolan plaster recipe for a bagged product. As Stan put it, “we took the formulation I was custom mixing at every job and put it in a bag.” The result is an amazing product that eschews the use of problematic Portland cement and embraces a finishing material is that is economical, sustainable, durable, breathable, flexible, consistent, beautiful, and wonderfully forgiving to work with.