The punch list for a remodeling job that I am doing on an 1880s house includes a few small plaster repairs. The damaged areas are small — about the size of a hand — and they are not in a prominent area, so I feel confident that I can tackle them myself without calling in a specialty subcontractor. What’s the easiest way to patch small holes in plaster?

A. Contributing editor Tom O’Brien, a carpenter in New Milford, Conn., responds: First, make sure the surrounding plaster is firmly attached to the lath. If the plaster surface is sound but gives under pressure, I use plaster washers from Charles St. Supply Co. ( to anchor it firmly to the lath and the studs.

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