Craftwork Training Center at Carpenters’ Hall


The Carpenters’ Company in Philadelphia, founded in 1724, boasts an incredible legacy of high-caliber craftsmanship that’s helped build numerous structures in and around the city of Philadelphia. Established in 1724, The Carpenters’ Company comprised a group of Master Builders who were responsible for building many iconic structures that defined Philadelphia’s early skyline and still make a visual impact that supports the historic atmosphere of this important city. Buildings like Independence Hall, Christ’s Church, and of course Carpenters’ Hall were built by tradesmen who lived and breathed their craft daily. In those days, almost everyone was characterized and known by their trade discipline. This gave them the power to exchange their goods and services with someone else’s trade offering– thus, they “traded,” and hence the name “Trades” is the word that was and still is used today. Although our dominant structure for commerce today is not bartering, the trades are still an essential part of our economy and infrastructure. 

With a history dating back before the Revolution of 1776, it’s no surprise that the Carpenters’ Company is one of the oldest trade guilds in America that is still in existence today. This year marks the 300th anniversary of The Carpenters’ Company and the organization is not missing the chance to celebrate its important legacy in Philadelphia’s history. On May 18, 2024, from 11 am – 4 pm, we hope you can come to Old City Philadelphia to meet some of our staff from Craftwork Training Center and LimeWorks.us. We will be demonstrating stone carving, lime plaster over wood lath, stained glass window repair, and leatherwork as we represent some of the classes we have at Craftwork Training Center in Telford, PA. The Historic Trade and Crafts Fair is being held in the front courtyard of Carpenters’ Hall and we will be joined by other artisans from Cold Spring Village of Cape May, New Jersey who will also be demonstrating other traditional crafts. 

There is some deep history behind Carpenters’ Hall, which was built to be the official meeting place of The Carpenters’ Company. Construction was completed in 1771 and aside from being the headquarters for the Carpenters’ Company, the building also served as a meeting place for the First Continental Congress. Amidst the growing tension between the Thirteen Colonies and Great Britain, the First Continental Congress which included delegates such as Patrick Henry, George Washington, and John Adams convened at Carpenters’ Hall to discuss the future of the Colonies still under Britain’s control. Although a commonly overlooked feature in the American Revolution, Carpenters’ Hall played a significant role as a secret meeting place where delegates from the Colonies made plans for our country’s freedom from British Rule.

Carpenters’ Hall was built in a style called “Georgian” (named after the British monarch King George and his successors). Buildings with a Georgian style are often noted for their impressive symmetry and timeless elegance. These historic buildings predominantly utilized lime-based mortar, unlike the modern Portland Cement commonly used today. Allowing for moisture expulsion and accommodating slight movements all are dynamics that contribute to the sustained presence of lime mortar. Carpenters’ Hall and other vintage buildings built with lime mortar still stand today because of the utilization of traditional building methods and materials which were all installed with skill and knowledge. 

Today, builders have replaced pure lime mortars with modern Portland Cement mortars because of their fast set times which lower the initial cost of constructing a structure. However, part of the durability achieved by the iconic buildings we all love is due to the soft and breathable nature of lime mortar which has symbiotic properties with the natural environment. At LimeWorks.us, we supply various types of lime mortars that possess the same benefits as the lime mortars that were historically used. Whether the purpose is for the end-user to use lime mortar to build a new iconic structure for the ages or to repoint a vintage brick or stone church building, farmhouse, or barn foundation– our knowledge and material supply can guide you to select the correct mortar for the job. For more information, you can reach us at 215-536-1776!

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