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Found this piece of equipment (?) left behind by a previous owner and am trying to figure out what it was used for.

It's a thin, square metal plate with rounded edges. It's maybe 14 by 14 inches. On the bottom is a piece of wood shaped as a handhold and a thick rubber ring.

bottom view

On the top are concentric circles of a thin wire. The wire forms disjoint circles, not a spiral. There are 11 of them.

top view

My two guesses (neither of which fully makes sense) are

  1. Maybe it's some kind of tamping or stamping tool? But it doesn't have any grout, mortar, or concrete residue on it.
  2. Maybe it's a radio antenna that you walk around with while listening for a wildlife collar? But it isn't clear where you'd clip any wires.
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    No residue is just good maintenance of the tool (put it away clean or regret it later.)
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 2:46
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    It's like a mud pan. Here's the WP article: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawk_(plasterer%27s_tool)
    – J D
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 16:13
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    Clearly its for handing hot pizza to someone working up a ladder, so they can eat it without the risk of the pizza folding or dropping hot cheese on the people below.
    – Criggie
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 18:36
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    "The square academic cap, graduate cap, cap, mortarboard (because of its similarity in appearance to the mortarboard used by brickmasons to hold mortar) or Oxford cap is an item of academic dress consisting of a horizontal square board fixed upon a skull-cap, with a tassel attached to the centre."
    – Mazura
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 19:50
  • The images here show what wildlife tracking equipment looks like. Commented Sep 21, 2023 at 15:37

2 Answers 2

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It is called a hawk. It is used to hold drywall joint compound (mud), plaster, mortar or other materials of similar consistency. It is also called a mortarboard. The hawk name seems to come from the way the board sits on your arm, like if you were training the bird. enter image description here

The rubber ring is there to protect your knuckles as you work with it day after day. The concentric circles are there to prevent the material from falling off easily.

It is held in a manner similar to a painter's palette. What makes a hawk better than regular mud pan is that your arm is holding the weight, not your fingers, causing less fatigue. It's also a lot easier to scrape and clean. Since a lot of drywall and plastering work is spent cleaning your taping knife, having 4 long edges to scrape the knife against speeds things up. (Note that some people make a distinction between a taping knife and a joint knife, others don't)

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    And the rings on the surface give the plaster/compound some grip so it doesn't slide off. The things are known as plaster boards around here. (We don't normally speak English here, but we have so many foreign construction workers, that English is almost becoming the default language on some construction sites here.)
    – Tonny
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 9:13
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    So like a palette?
    – Huesmann
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 11:54
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    @Huesmann Yes, like a palette. What makes a hawk better than pan is that your arm is holding the weight, not your fingers, so less fatigue. It's also a lot easier to scrape and clean. Since a lot of drywall work is spent cleaning your knife, having 4 long edges to scrape the knife against speeds things up.
    – Cheery
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 11:58
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    I was doing some drywall once and couldn't find a thing like that at Home Depot. I knew it was exactly what I needed, so I made one from some scrap wood. Here in Texas, I see drywall workers using tubs to hold the mud. They are not as efficient.
    – Wastrel
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 13:05
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    ... And now you know what Hamlet was talking about when he said "I know a hawk from a handsaw"
    – keshlam
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 20:14
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Not plane, nor bird, nor even frog. 'tis a hawk. Put a glob of drywall compound on it and carry it in one hand as you apply the compound with a knife in your other hand. In some ways better than a pan if you get the hang of it. Here's a youtube video to give you an idea of how it's used.

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