Preserving History Through Teaching to Restore Historical Buildings

Looking to learn about building restoration?

Classes

Masonry

These classes dive into and cover the fundamental understanding of the actual application of masonry, showing the methodology with a trowel, slick and hawk to provide long term durable restoration of historic fabric.

plaster stucco

Plaster has been around for thousands of years for walls, floors, and hearths. Throughout history, plaster has made many developments starting from clay mud to create walls, floors, and hearths.

tuck pointing

In order to preserve history, we must know how to preserve the architecture that surrounds us every day. Understanding pointing and re-pointing can help to restore old buildings to their former glory.

Upcoming Classes

Plaster Repair/Paint Stripping

9-12-20

Instructors: Sharon Ferraro & Blair Bates
Students: 6 in each class
Location: Sexton's Lodge, Kalamazoo, MI

Stone Masonry

9-12-20

Instructors: Blair Bates
Students: 6 in each class
Location: Tillers International, Scotts, MI
Tuition: $295 includes materials

MHPN’s 40th Annual Statewide Conference

9-20-20 to 9-23-20

1 Hour Presentation
Location: Fetzer Center, Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan

Services

drone Inspection

With advancement of technology a new perspective of buildings in need of renovation is possible. Initial inspection utilizing a drone allows for a more complete understanding in a safe manor of the overall exterior condition of a structure.

Get a Complete Understanding of the Exterior Condition of a Structure

Latest Blog Post

What do you need to know about salvaging old brick?

3-27-2020

Quite often we find specifications or owners requesting that we are to use historic salvaged brick to match the building that needs work. Recently I view a specification for salvaging brick from a 1910 Era building that was 4 wythes (4 bricks) thick and all of the brick were to be salvaged for re-use. They were to be re-used in mostly the outer wall of a building in my Michigan environment. Now that’s a mistake…

Testimonials

Blair Bates is my top advisor and craftsperson for anything dealing with masonry and the trowel trades in old buildings. He understands old buildings and respects their character and inherent durability. He has been the instructor at workshops since 2003 for both the Old House Network and the Old House Owners Workshops.

Sherron Feraro

Kalamazoo Historic Preservation Coordinator

“If you own an old brick building, you need Blair. He’ll teach you important principles that have gotten lost in modern construction trades, best practices and techniques to use in your own work, and how to work with contractors to make sure they’re doing work right.”

Kyle Gulau

Building Developer

“In the 40 years, I have known Blair, his commitment to learning and readiness to share with others have never diminished. He’s an energetic instructor whose enthusiasm is contagious; he really instills in his students the mindset of not just honing the skills but also understanding the materials and processes that go into the work.”

Tom Nehil P.E.

Structural Engineer

“Blair’s enthusiasm and teaching style are amazing. He not only visited our project site but after just a short demonstration, Blair put the tools in our hands and guided us to competence and confidence in the completion of our project. Blair remains on our call list; he makes learning interesting, fun, and as effortless as stonework can be.”

Joan and Steve Eddy

Homeowners Grayling, MI

“I am an Architect working on older and historic projects. I went to Blair’s Historic Mortar classes and learned a lot more than I ever thought. He covers the subjects in-depth and demonstration. You learn hands-on.”

Nelson B. Nave

AIA, Architect

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Call Us

(269) 680-9615