2Leaving the subject of floors, we must next treat of stucco work. This will be all right if the best lime, taken in lumps, is slaked a good while before it is to be used, so that if any lump has not been burned long enough in the kiln, it will be forced to throw off its heat during the long course of slaking in the water, and will thus be thoroughly burned to the same consistency. When it is taken not thoroughly slaked but fresh, it has little crude bits concealed in it, and so, when applied, it blisters. When such bits complete their slaking after they are on the building, they break up and spoil the smooth polish of the stucco.
2But when the proper attention has been paid to the slaking, and greater pains have thus been employed in the preparation for the work, take a hoe, and apply it to the slaked lime in the mortar bed just as you hew wood. If it sticks to the hoe in bits, the lime is not yet tempered; and when the iron is drawn out dry and clean, it will show that the lime is weak and thirsty; but when the lime is rich and properly slaked, it will stick to the tool like glue, proving that it is completely tempered. Then get the scaffolding ready, and proceed to construct the vaultings in the rooms, unless they are to be decorated with flat coffered ceilings.