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Mortars Workshop


Their Characteristics, Selection and Use

TIME: 9 am – 4:30 pm, Saturday October 1 and Sunday October 2
PLACE: Willowbank Estate, Lower Campus, 5 Walnut Street
COST: $350, includes lunch

Canada’s historic buildings span the period where a dramatic evolution in building technology and material characteristics occurred. Evidence of the use of lime as the principle binder in mortars and plasters can be dated to the 6th millennium BC and it only fell from use in the beginning of the 20th Century following the introduction of early forms of cements, the predecessors of what we know today as Portland Cement.  The workshop covers the full range of mortar materials and thinking, including the Lime Revival of the past 45 years.

Topics covered will include:
  • Mortar chronology, including hydraulic limes, natural cements, Portland cement and the historical and modern use of additives to enhance performance.
  • The characteristics and performance of mortars
  • Mortar analysis and testing
  • The preparation of historic mortars
  • Criteria and recommendations for the selection of mortars for historic buildings
A lime burn will take place during the workshop. Both a high calcium lime and a natural cement will be produced and mixed to mortars in the traditional manner. This is a class for architects and those with a keen interest in the science and evolution of traditional mortars. Lunch is provided. The class will occur at the Upper Campus in the Barn, with access to the outdoor lime kiln.


Keith Blades

Stone Conservationist

Keith Blades is a stone conservationist with an MA in Conservation Studies, from the University of York, England. Keith has had an extensive and long career in the conservation of stone in Canada and has worked on the Parliament Buildings and the Legislative Buildings here in Ontario, as well as projects further a field, like Louisbourg Fortress in Nova Scotia. This past summer, Keith, along with 2 Willowbank students and a Willowbank Alumna, took on the conservation of the Great Fireplace at Sainte-Marie-Among-The-Hurons.