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Masonry Workshop: Rediscovering Traditional Mortar – The More Sustainable Solution

Masonry workshops to be held May 6, 7, 8, 9, 2019.
masonry workshop

This two-day, hands-on workshop will take place on May 6th and 7th, with a second identical workshop on May 8th and 9th. The classroom learning location is graciously provided by Wayne State College. Field experience lessons will be held at the historic Wayne County Courthouse. To reserve your spot, visit:


The first day of this two-day workshop will primarily consist of classroom and lab learning through demonstrations and explanations. These classes will be held at Wayne State College. On the second day, participants will be using this knowledge on a hands-on application at the Wayne County Courthouse. Participants are required to furnish their own OSHA approved safety gear: hard hat, eye protection, gloves, etc. A list of necessary tools for use at the workshop will be provided at the time of registration. A block of rooms has been reserved for attendees of the workshop at the Cobblestone Hotel in Wayne, Nebraska. The block code is: Masonry Workshop. Registrations will be limited to 30 participants per workshop.  


Mortar has been used in masonry wall construction for centuries. The mortar has always been intended to be the “weak link” in masonry walls. Consequently, the need to replace that mortar has arisen from time to time. In the last 100-years, mortar composition has included more Portland cement to reduce its time to cure. By the middle of the twentieth century, it became obvious that Portland cement base mortar, when used for re-pointing, was too strong and inflexibile, which caused older brick units to fail. Today, throughout the British Isles, Scandinavia, increasingly across Europe and Canada repointing mortars are designed “like for like.” The emphasis is to match what exists, be it quicklime based, hot mixed mortars, lime putty mortars even Natural Hydraulic Lime mortars. The result of this trend is better compatibility, longer term stability and ultimate permeability. This workshop has been created for the benefit of masons and other crafts persons responsible for repointing older and historic masonry buildings. Participants will learn the appropriate methodology for repointing, like for like, using quicklime mortar.

About Nigel Copsey

Mr. Copsey is a stone mason, building conservator, and Research Associate of the Department of Archaeology at the University of York, England. His background as a stonemason and letter carver and his appreciation for historic structures has led him to become one of the world’s best instructors of historic preservation techniques for masonry restoration.

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