Rendering small wall, mix by hand?

get yourself a length of 2x1 which you can use to rule it off - square it up.
also you could use a polyeurethane float with a couple of nails in to lightly scratch it up and flatten it off nice.
give it a good wet with plain water.

I bought a little scarifier for £5 too scratch it up! Thanks for your advice, I hope it all works out! I've read a few people say buy plasterers sand rather than general building sand, is this what you'd do?
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I bought a little scarifier for £5 too scratch it up!
Is that the flat sprung steel teeth or the wires, the latter I find better but dont dig it in too deep
As suggested a plastic float with spikes is what a lot use, if you screw drywall screws through it will regulate how far they dig in
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