Preparing the site for installation of our new pellet stove has become a larger project than I had hoped - doesn't it always? The foyer had been partitioned by a prior owner of the house by creation of a coat closet. Therefater a sheetrock ceiling was installed. When the closet was removed, of course the ceiling had different elevations. My wife insisted on restoration of the plaster, after removal of the sheetrock. I am a not too bad plasterer but getting a smooth surface over a large expanse of ceiling is challenging my abilities. Any thoughts on technique? The difficultly is the area against the wall where I cannot bridge the gap from intact old plaster to intact old plaster in order to achieve a smooth and uniform elevation, because one side has no intact old plaster. Any ideas will be welcomed. I should add that, at least around here, no one stocks spackle powder which I always used to retard the hardening time of my paster. I have been reduced to using joint compound (powdered) as a retardant, and it seems to be working out OK. Thanks.