Impressions from the 2018 IPTN Workshop by Emily Garrison

Thursday, December 13, 2018 3:27 PM | Anonymous

Emily Garrison, one of this year's recipients of APT DC's Emerging Professionals Sponsorships, attended the 2018 IPTN Workshop in Frederick, Maryland. The following is her summary of the workshop.

I recently had the opportunity to attend the International Preservation Trades Workshop in Frederick Maryland through the Emerging Professionals Sponsorship Program. The workshop features craftsmen and women as well as other professionals in the preservation industry. The workshop included many demonstrations and hands-on sessions, ranging from how-to presentations of a specific repair/preservation method to presentations on projects and advocacy.  As a structural engineer it was a great opportunity to observe the aspects of preservation construction, as I am not on-site as structures are repaired.

I went to one session on the process of a dutchman repair. The mason presenter, from the National Park Service, who apart from detailing the process of dutchman repair, shared some of the repairs he conducted in the national parks. One such example was repairing a monument which was struck by a car. It was illuminating being walked through the process of fitting pieces of stone together to minimize the transition from old to new. Had it not been for the difference in color of the two pieces of the stone from age and weathering, it would have been hard to see the dutchman repairs. After explaining the process for a dutchman repair, he demonstrated varies parts of the process on a spare stone, identified his tools, and gave us the opportunity to experiment.  I carved a piece of the stone and eventually got somewhat comfortable using the air chisel, after first carving out a very wavy line of stone.

Perhaps the brick mason keynote speaker, Dr. Gerard Lynch, was the best. On the first day of the workshop I walked by Dr. Lynch’s area as he was setting it up to give a presentation.  Later, while heading to another session, I stopped as a large crowd was congregated waiting for the presentation to start. The workshop program didn’t include an explanation of the session, so it was not on my list I intended to attend.   Witnessing half the workshop attendees were gathered around Dr. Lynch, I decided to stay.  His session was a demonstration of tuck-pointing a masonry wall, interwoven with stories from his decades as a mason. He explained the history of tuck-pointing, and took everyone step by step through the process, explaining both tools and techniques.

Dr. Lynch explaining the process of tuck pointing before beginning the demonstration

Beginning the demonstration by grouting the joints

Tuck pointing the joints

Later, during his keynote address, he stressed the importance of apprenticeships and preservation training, emphasizing that modern training regimes often don’t equip craftsmen and women with the knowledge or skills to repair historic structures, as the materials and techniques can differ significantly from modern practices.

Overall, the workshop was a great opportunity to learn about preservation trades with which I don’t have regular contact.  I’m grateful for the opportunity to participate

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