Re: Skim coating-HELP!
The one thing that someone new to applying drywall compound should keep in mind is that it takes a bit to get a feel for the material and the tools.
IMHO, it starts with good tools. Walk past all the plastic and get yourself a stainless steel pan with good quality 3", 6" and a 10" or 12" drywall knife. Wood handles are top notch, heavy resin with a metal ferrel on the end of the handle extremely good. Stay away from the injection molded wimpy plastic stuff.
Next comes working with the drywall compound itself. If you buy it premixed in a bucket, also buy yourself either a paint mixing wand or a plaster mixing paddle that attaches to a drill (size depends on the size of your bucket of premixed mud ). Whip the mud until it's smooth and creamy, add a touch of water to thin it slightly IF needed. Put only a small amount into your pan - 1" to 2" in the bottom when you're ready to start working and reseal the bucket. If you've purchased a box of premixed compound, then carefully open the box and the bag, remove a small amount into your pan, then carefully close the bag back up. You want to take care not to get any excess mud on the sides of the bag because this will dry and fall back into the mud when you open it the next time, resulting in chunks and lumpy mud that will make your work extremely difficult. Don't worry, it's not that big a deal as long as you handle the plastic bag carefully. At any rate, once you've gotten the mud from the bag to your pan, mix and mash it with your 3" or 6" knife until smooth and creamy, again, you can add a touch of water if it seems too thick, but just a touch.
From there, work as Jack suggests, small areas, spaced apart. When all is dry, go back and fill in the spaces.
I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!