Jacob Cook of Brownville, left, a student at the Maine School of Masonry in Avon, with Steve “Mitch” Mitchell of Phillips, the school’s founder/director/instructor, at the historic Titcomb House in Farmington. Contributed photo

The Maine School of Masonry recently worked and collaborated with OSHA, Arbortech and Safety Works at the historic Titcomb House in Farmington.

The group included masonry students, founder/instructor Stephen “Mitch” Mitchell, Arbortech representative Troy Conary, OSHA representative Nancy Keune, and Safety Works representative Mary Matthews from the Maine Department of Labor.

Kenneth Summers from Oakland, New Jersey, works on the historic Titcomb House in Farmington. He is a student at the Maine School of Masonry. Contributed photo

The students are in the restoration part of the curriculum at the masonry school in Avon. Jane Woodman of the Farmington Historical Society contacted the school regarding the brick foundation in need of repair, and while the students were on site, Woodman gave the students a tour of the house.

The masonry school is approved by the Maine Historical Society to do restoration work around the state. The students and Mitchell are currently working at Fort Knox in Prospect on much-needed restoration as well.

Maine School of Masonry is accepting applications for the 2021-22 school year. There will also be an open house from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, May 28, at 637 Rangeley Road, Avon. Everyone is welcome to come and learn more about the school. For more information about the masonry school or courses, visit masonryschool.org.

While at the historic house, Conary did a demonstration on the safety of the All Saw used in restoration. Arbortech is one of the leading companies in masonry tool development. The All Saw significantly reduces the silica dust that is created by removing mortar. It is also a precise tool used for restoration. The saw can be hooked into a HEPA vacuum system, which makes it safe to use in enclosed areas.

The masonry school is in an alliance with OSHA and Safety Works; it is the goal of the school to teach students about best safety practices in the field of masonry. Six students from the school spent the day learning about the saw and other tools. Masonry school student Kenneth Summers of Oakland, New Jersey, had a chance to try the saw, and the students will be using the All Saw and vacuum system in the future. These types of opportunities allow the students to work in the community and use materials and equipment that they are learning about.

Arbortech representative Troy Conary of Berwick at the Titcomb House in Farmington. Conary has been one of one of the school’s biggest supporters, and helps the school get Arbortech saws, blades and tools. The company has also donated to the school.

There are currently eight students enrolled in the school this year, and there are three efficiency apartments that house students from Maine to Virginia.

The program is designed for the students to develop skills and knowledge in the brick, block, stone, tile, and restoration techniques used in masonry fields. The students develop skills through lab projects, classroom instruction, and hands-on and community involvement projects.

There is a great demand for masons in the United States and around the world, and these students will be able to use their skills in a variety of work settings.