Want to Learn Historic Restoration?

By Scott Sidler February 19, 2018

want to learn historic restoration?Want to learn historic restoration? I may have a lot of posts and videos on this site to help you learn the skills you need to restore your old house, but sometimes you need a little bit more. Sometimes you need someone to hold your hand and walk you through it in person. With that in mind, I felt it would be immensely helpful to share some of the places around the country where you can get that hands on training in the dark arts of historic restoration.

These classes and workshops are usually not available at your local community college, though that may be the case. You will likely need to travel to find the classes that meet your needs, but there are a lot of great schools, instructors, and workshops to choose from depending on what you want to study. I have met most if not all of these teachers and personally recommend them. Their knowledge and curriculum is top notch!

In addition to learning some great skills, taking a class like these will hook you up with other folks in the restoration industry or other homeowners who have been where you are. Fast and long lasting friendships often result from these too!

WPA Annual Conference

Coming up March 9-11, 2018 in Greensboro, NC, you can come meet and learn from window restorers from all over the country. This conference is geared toward professional window restorers and there will classes on topics like lead safety, OSHA, running and growing a restoration business, and more. There is a also a Glaze-A-Palooza competition where you can show off your glazing skills for some great prizes!

This is not only a great way to meet and learn from other window pros, but it caps off with a charity project where you’ll get to work along side other pros from all over the country as we donate a full day’s worth of window restoration working on a historic building to help a local charity. Find out more here information here!

Historic Homes Workshop

Coming up soon (Feb 23 – March 2, 2018) this workshop is near and dear to my heart since it is right here in my backyard in Tampa, FL and I’ve been involved with it for the last 5 years. Steve Quillian at Wood Window Makeover puts on a great weekend workshop and you’ll get a chance to learn a ton with lots of different classes on Saturday, and then work alongside window restoration pros on an amazing charity project restoring the windows on the historic May-Stringer House in Brooksville, FL.

Professional window restorers from all over the country show up for this event and they will teach those willing to learn. There is also a good focus for those interested in how to start their own window restoration business. Check out the website here to register before its too late!

The Belvedere School for Hands-on Preservation

In Hannibal, MO Bob Yapp runs a great school that has a variety of classes on historic preservation ranging from How to Make Wood Storm Windows to Masonry Restoration and everything in between. Bob is one of the most respected preservationists in the country and has worked tirelessly to not only restore our greatest landmarks like George Washington’s Mount Vernon, but to also teach the next generation his venerable skills.

The classes are small and intimate, which means you get great instruction. While Bob teaches most of the classes, he also brings in other extremely talented pros for specialty classes. Top it all off with a stay at the Belvedere Inn while there and you’ll get the royal treatment from his wife Pat who is quite the hostess. Check out their 2018 schedule here!

Yestermorrow Design/Build School

You can study where I did by heading up to Vermont’s Mad River Valley and studying at Yestermorrow Design/Build School! I loved my time at Yestermorrow and learned a ton from their huge group of talented teachers. You can take everything from a weekend class on plastering to a full semester in Sustainable Design/Build. The classes are plentiful and the schedule is pretty good with a lot of 3-day to 2-week workshops to help you learn the skills you need without having to quit your day job.

In addition the great classes, you can’t beat the scenery since it is located in an old ski resort on the side of a mountain. The meals are provided and the housing is a choice between dorm like accommodations or cabins and yurts built by formers classes of students. Check out Yestermorrow here!

Preservation Trades Network

PTN is a great place to meet others in the preservation world. Their annual conference brings together people who are versed in almost any discipline of historic preservation to show what they are working on. Attendees will learn new and innovative techniques for hands on preservation. Their annual workshop is usually in the fall, but check out their website for other events around the country that may be of interest as well.

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10 thoughts on “Want to Learn Historic Restoration?”

  1. I live in Wylie, TX in a circa 1906 Craftsman with all its original wood sash windows and glass in need of lots of TLC. I’m working on the house myself and Lear inf as I go. I’d love to have a workshop here and learn more. If your ever in Texas I hope you’ll look me up!

  2. We could do a workshop in your neck of the woods pretty easily. Gotta have a needy old building with a wood window in despair, invite people and bang, we gotta workshop.

    Steve Quillian – Artisanarmy.com

    1. I have a 1906-1916 Craftsman style house. We have leveled the foundation, removed tile and hardy plank from yellow pine floors and refinished them, removed a huge handicap ramp and repaired the rotten wood at attachment points, scraped and repainted the entire outside of house, replaced the rolled seam roof, rebuilt most of the porch floor, installed skirting around the foundation, installed gutters to drain the water away from the house, and, scrapped off blue paint covering concrete caps on stairs and under pillars Now that we have run out of money, we have 33 double hung windows that appear to all have their weights and most work (at least a little bit) until they were painted shut by the painters. They will come back out and cut the windows away from the frame when we are ready to restore them. Some have lost much of their paint on the inside and the wood is grey. Many have over 1/4″ gaps where they come together, some don’t fit into the frame at all, leaving 1/2″ open at the bottom. Some are missing their wavy glass, and many are missing the glazing and many will not close enough to lock. After investing much money in the rest of the house, I would really like to restore these windows myself , which are definitely in despair. We have many historic buildings in Georgetown, Texas that need the same service. Would you like to come on down here for a workshop. I’ll volunteer my modest house and you will have a good time with great food and some great people who are interested in preservation and restoration of wonderful old historic homes.

  3. Sigh. Most of the classes and workshops seem to be on the eastern side of the country. It’s harder to find those or period furniture and salvage for an old house in the Northwest. ..

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