Conservation and Repair of Architectural and Structural Metalwork with Geoff Wallis

Ref: B3D13290

Location: West Dean

About this course

This course covers the conservation of structural metalwork, architectural features and statuary, and includes both ferrous and non-ferrous metals, with tuition from leading practitioners on a wide range of repair techniques.
It also includes the methods of manufacture and shaping of ferrous metals, the history of their use, deterioration, surveys, practical cleaning methods, surface preparation and coatings, and specifying metalwork repairs. It covers corrosion science, the latest developments in cathodic protection as a remedial solution to rusting cramps and the art of patinating metals.
There will be a 'hands-on' opportunity in the Forge when students will be able to try out traditional and modern techniques relevant to architectural conservation such as forging at the hearth, arc and gas welding, flame cutting and needle gunning.

Course Description

Day 1   
Introductory Lecture.  Metalwork conservation, definitions and ethics
Questions and discussion

Day 2   
Ferrous and non-ferrous metals.  Physical/chemical properties, corrosion mechanisms
Cathodic protection.  Theory and practice
Ferrous metals.  The making of iron and its traditional uses
Techniques for shaping iron, surveys
Repair techniques using hot and cold processes with case studies and samples
Ironwork conservation techniques   

Day 3   
Surface preparation and coatings
Non-ferrous metals.  Overview.  Surfaces:  patinas, corrosion assessment, cleaning 
Introduction to work in progress, discussion on ethics. 
Tour of Conservation Workshops
Specifications and contract procurement   

Day 4   
Non-ferrous metals.  Traditional manufacturing methods and uses
Maintenance of metalwork
Practical session in the Forge.  Hot and cold repair processes.  Participants may ‘have a go’ at selected techniques
Discussion of techniques seen and done during the day   
Issue of certificates and depart

Course Materials

What students need to bring

Please remember to bring work clothes/overalls and work boots (preferably steel toecaps) for practical sessions.  An umbrella may be useful on the short walk to the Forge.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

General Information


Geoff Wallis - Conservation tutor at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation

Geoff Wallis

BCM Course Leader

Geoff is a consultant with over three decades' practical experience in the conservation of architectural and structural metalwork and historic machinery. He is a Founder and former Chairman of Dorothea Restorations Ltd and a Chartered Mechanical Engineer.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.