[Download not found]NCPTT and Tulane University held a two-day hands-on workshop on the care and preservation of ornamental iron from June 18-19, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The purpose of this event was to educate people about the differences in cast and wrought iron and investigate preservation or restoration methods for each type of material. This workshop was useful to anyone who cares for historic buildings that contain railings, balconies, or other decorative elements, parks, or cemeteries.

Cost of the workshop was $399.

Only 25 workshop seats were available on a first come first serve basis.

Iron Fence and Ornamentation at St. Louis Cemetery #3

Iron Fence and Ornamentation at St. Louis Cemetery #3

Workshop instructors were conservators Jason Church, Eric Schindleholz, and Mary Striegel.

Lectures were held at the Architecture Department of Tulane, Richardson Memorial Building Room 204.

Hands-on workshop sessions were held in St. Louis Cemetery #2.

Day one
Tour of iron working facility (this will help familiarize the students with the construction methods of different iron types)

Lectures on:

  1. Construction techniques of ornamental ironwork
  2. Documentation
  3. Metallic structures
  4. Mechanisms of deterioration

Day two
Lectures on:

  1. Conservation Sequencing
  2. Safety

In the field/Hands-on round robin sessions:

  1. Documentation
  2. Re/Setting
  3. Cleaning
  4. Simple repairs
  5. Rust treatments
  6. Surface finishes

Dorm rooms are available during the workshop on the Tulane Campus. The rooms are double occupancy at a rate of $25 per night, (includes linens). If interested please call Jason Church 318-356-7444.

Participants are also welcome to make independent lodging arrangements.


Jason Church

Jason Church

Jason Church is a Materials Conservator in the Materials Research Program at the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training in Natchitoches, LA. Jason’s focus is in the coordination and development of the Center’s national cemetery training initiative and related research. He was previously a conservator and historic metals expert for the City of Savannah, Ga., Department of Cemeteries. He earned his M.F.A. in Historic Preservation from Savannah College of Art and Design.

Eric Schindelholz

Eric Schindelholz

Eric Schindelholz is a conservator in private practice specializing in metals and marine archaeological materials. Prior to entering private practice, Schindelholz served as objects conservator for the National Park Service at Harpers Ferry Center.  He holds a masters in art conservation from Queen’s University and is currently a materials science student at the University of Virginia.


Mary Striegel

Mary Striegel

Mary F. Striegel is the Materials Research Program Director at NCPTT. She specializes in understanding the effects of air pollution on cultural resources. Mary holds a Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry from Washington University in St. Louis.

Share →

3 Responses to Ornamental Iron Workshop

  1. Renee Benzaim says:

    I was very happy to read about this conservation and restoration training of our old wrought iron. Most people walk right past beautiful wrought iron fences and balconies and don’t even see them. It’s such a shame. But now artisans and wrought iron designers like Lee Sauder in American and Carlos Galvan in Mexico are reviving the traditional methods of making “bloom” for their wrought iron designs. We are again seeing beautiful results like those of the renowned Italian wrought iron artist Nicolo Grosso Caparra from the late 1400s.

  2. Wesley says:

    I love to hear people saving the wrought iron pieces that we already have. Wrought iron is also known as virgin steel. This is a much more pure form of steel that we don’t have access to anymore, unless you have a lot of cash to burn. Most steel used for ornamental iron pieces used today is a recycled steel that has many different metals mixed together.

    The problem with trying to work with this recycled steel is that each piece has a different mixture than the piece next to it. This makes recreating the same bend very difficult. So if you are trying to create two halves that mirror each other, you can run into trouble.

    Since it is so hard to recreate these beautiful pieces with the materials we have today, we need to do everything in our power to preserve what we still have left from the past.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *