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Start with water in the bucket, not the powder. Add powder and mix periodically until you get where you want to be. If you start with the powder first, the bottom will sit and get clumpy. Also, you need a mixer with some power to it. I love the hole hawg on slow. It's about perfect. Once I have the consistancy I want, I mix the whole thing about another 15 seconds. It's enough to turn the contents of the tub end for end and I can see if there's any little clumps.
Eric, I agree w/RW, about starting w/the water but would then quickly add all the powder you need, plus a little. Mix it well. (I find that the lumps mix out much more quickly if the mix somewhat dry). Then sponge in what h2o you need to get it to desired consistency. My 2 cents.
I use a squirrel cage paint mixer to mix my hot mud. It works real well. I start with water in the bucket and and a "dump" of powder. If it is a little loose, I mix it well and then add powder a little at a time. If too dry, sponge in some water.
They make the mixers out of plastic and metal. I use a plastic one in a one gallon bucket. I don't normally mix more hot mud than that as I am doing small jobs. If I am going to mix up a lot, I will do it in a 5 gallon bucket with a 1/2 drill and standard mix paddle. I also only mix the 40 or 90 in that size of quantity.