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Hands-On Learning for Masonry Students
Students in Professor Roy Ingraffia’s Masonry Conservation Seminar (HSPV 739) have been busy this semester with a variety of workshops and a semester long project at West Laurel Hill Cemetery. Each student is assigned a historic mausoleum at West Laurel Hill, and has been tasked with developing a treatment plan for the structure based on the conditions and material characterization. West Laurel Hill Facilities and Capital Projects Manager Chris Conti has been supporting students with access to the mausoleums, obtaining mortar samples, and accessing upper levels of the structures via aerial work platform. In addition to site work, Rachel Wolgemuth the cemetery’s Special Projects Assistant, provided students with construction and maintenance records of the mausoleums to inform their broader archival research and treatment histories that will support the proposed treatment plans.
To supplement their work, students have participated in hands on workshops designed to teach them about the crafts of stone carving, bricklaying, and masonry repair and repointing. Master Stone Carver Jens Langlotz led students in a workshop at the Woodlands on October 23rd. Jens guided the group through a review of several different textures in dressed stone masonry. Students learned how to create a straight planer surface on the stone, and to use different chisels in order to obtain the desired texture.
On November 3rd, students spent the morning at the International Masonry Institute and the Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers’ training center in North Philadelphia. The session was designed to provide the students with practical, hands-on experience in mortar removal, mortar mixing, repointing, traditional bricklaying, and composite repairs.
Prepared by Ali Cavicchio (MSHP '22), one of Historic Preservation's Comminication Assistants.