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  • Cynthia Lawrence

Association for Preservation Technology Historic Finishes Workshop at CU Denver

Updated: Aug 30, 2018

Mark Minor led a session for APT’s (Association for Preservation Technology) workshop on Historic Finishes, June 13-14.  The workshop was held at University of Colorado/Denver, in the College of Architecture and Planning, as well as a hands-on day at the Matthew Gotthelf Mansion, on Champa St. in Denver. Mark’s session concerned historic finishes on wood, and focused on types of historic wood finish materials, their characteristics, and identification of them in the field, through visual examination, long-wave UV examination, and solubility testing.

Through understanding the materials used, and identification of them on site, informed decisions can be made about the stabilization and preservation of historic finishes. As such, Mark stressed the “low tech” means that could be undertaken  with a basic understanding of the materials, and without a great deal of expensive equipment. 

At the Gotthelf mansion, we were able to look at a relatively unaltered entryway, and learn about the finish history via UV and solubility tests. Other areas covered in the workshop were architectural paints, decorative wood graining, plaster reattachment, and historic metal finishes. These sections were led by Natalie Feinberg Lopez, John Canning, David Riccio and Rosa Lowinger.  The ability to have traditional “classroom” presentations, followed by on-site work on an actual preservation project was very valuable, and the weekend was very much a success.