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Masonry Preservation Pre-Conference Workshop

09.05.2023 @ 9:00 am - 09.06.2023 @ 4:00 pm

Stone structure connected to large stone furnace.

This workshop is hosted by the Preservation Trades Network as a pre-conference workshop to its annual International Preservation Trades Workshop. It will be led by Preservation Maryland, and take place at the Catoctin Furnace’s Isabella Stack in Frederick County, Maryland. Read more about the site’s history at the Catoctin Furnace Historical Society: https://catoctinfurnace.org/history/ These workshops are supported by a generous grant from the Maryland Historical Trust and Preservation Maryland. The grant has subsidized tuition costs to make attendance more accessible to more people.


This masonry preservation workshop will teach the fundamentals of brick arch construction and techniques for stabilization, repair, and repointing. Participants will learn to:

  • Identify and assess masonry materials and styles
  • Identify and carefully remove vegetation and biological growth
  • Stabilize masonry features
  • Non-invasively remove failed mortar
  • Mix historically appropriate mortar and repoint masonry


Bruce Wright
Stone Mason

Bruce Wright has decades of experience restoring brick and stone masonry structures across the country. Hailing from Arkansas, Bruce started his career working locally and learning about historic preservation trades. He then spent several years working with the NPS Historic Preservation Training Center. Now retired, Bruce is focusing his time on teaching and instructing new historic tradespeople.

Benjamin Curran
Historic Trades Curriculum Developer
Preservation Maryland and The Campaign for Historic Trades

As the Historic Trades Curriculum Developer, Benjamin designs and develops multimedia educational content available online. Additionally, he will be coordinates the development and execution of historic trades related workshops around the state of Maryland.

Benjamin is the former Department Head of STC’s Historic Preservation and Restoration Program and the Director of STC’s Center for Traditional Craft. He was the lead faculty instructor for Historic Preservation at Edgecombe Community College in Taraboro, NC. While working in the remote sensing lab at the University of New Hampshire Earth System Research Center in Durham, N.H., he was a co-investigator for research funded by a National Geographic Society/Waitt Foundation grant investigating the impacts of sea level rise on saltwater intrusion for coastal heritage sites. Benjamin received his bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from the University of New Hampshire and his graduate degree from Plymouth State University where he studied Historic Preservation and Education.


Tuesday, September 5, 2023

8:45 am | Check-in at the Isabella Stack
9:00 am – 10:00 am | Introduction to Masonry Construction, Materials, Preservation, and Safety
10:00 am – 11:00 am | Site Tour, Identify and Assess Repairs
11:00 am – 12:00 pm | Stabilization Instruction and Layout
12:00 pm – 12:30 pm | Lunch
12:30 pm – 1:30 pm | Stabilization
1:30 – 2:30 pm | Vegetation Removal Techniques and Practice
2:30 – 3:00 pm | Mortar Removal Instruction
3:00 – 4:00 pm | Mortar Removal and Practice

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

9:00 am – 9:30 am | Review and Set-up
9:30 am – 10:00 am | Mortar Mixing and Repointing Instruction
10:00 am – 12:00 pm | Mortar Mixing and Repointing Techniques and Practice
12:00 pm – 12:30 pm | Lunch
12:30 pm – 4:00 pm | Mortar Mixing and Repointing Techniques and Practice


Besides a good time, prepare to be active and learn. Participants will be sitting, standing, crouching, using repetitive motions with their hands, and potentially climbing ladders, in addition to working outside in the weather. Participants should:

  • Wear comfortable works clothes and close-toed shoes
  • Bring a jacket and/or a rain jacket in case of rain and temperature changes
  • Wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and/or a sun hat
  • Water bottle

We will provide:

  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Tools and Materials
  • Additional sunscreen
  • Bug Spray
  • Coffee, water, and other beverages
  • Lunch and snacks


Cost per participant is $200. There is a limit of 12 participants. We will intake a waiting list. By registering to the event, you agree to our event policies and procedures–please read them here. Registrants can cancel their registration up to 30 days before the workshop for a full refund minus any associated taxes and fees. Cancellations within 30 days of the event will not be refunded, with exceptions in PTN’s Health and Safety Policy.


09.05.2023 @ 9:00 am
09.06.2023 @ 4:00 pm
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Catoctin Furnace
12714 Catoctin Furnace Road
Thurmont, MD 21788 United States
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