Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Meet us at the Port Angeles Woodworker's Club - Feb 7th 2008

We'll be giving a presentation on the Port Townsend School of Woodworking to the Port Angeles Woodworker's Club at their February meeting.

After the presentation on the school Jim Tolpin will give you an illustrated tour of his most recent project: A reproduction of an English Gypsy Caravan..

Time & Date: February 7th 2008 at 7:00pm
Where: The Fellowship Hall, Hillcrest Baptist Church on Black Diamond Rd, Port Angeles

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Winter 2008 Course Schedule

I've just published our Spring 2008 course & event schedule. We're excited by the variety of courses we're offering. We want you to look the schedule over, salivate and mark you calendar.

We won't accept any registrations until we have out conditional use permit signed off by the City (we expect that to be around Feb 15th). It seems unethical to make any commitment before we know we can use the space. We'll keep to the courses in the later part of the schedule and reschsdule earlier courses if we miss our opening target date - that way you can have a fairly high level of certainty that the courses will happen in later part of the schedule.

In these early courses we're limiting many courses to the number of benches (8) that we'll have in the bench room. You'll get the benefit of a wonderful 4:1 staff student ratio! Later in the year will be adding more benches (until we reach out planned maximum of 12).

Many of the courses are offered on both a weekday and a weekend day. We recognize that many people work and want to learn more and that there are others who have the time to indulge new hobbies or want to hone their skills. Choose which works best for you.

We're also offering some week long basic woodworking courses. We strongly believe that full immersion in a topic is the best way to learn.

Our initial courses offerings are focussed on hand tools - both because we prefer them and (really) because we won't be adding stationary power tools (table saws etc) until we get the second room ready for use in early June.

Last year we got a lot of interest in our Introduction to Cabinet Making course. We've thought long and hard about the response to those courses and we've decided to teach a couple more Cabinet Making courses but with the focus on Cabinet Making in the home shop. These will emphasize how you can build cabinets without a table saw or other big stationary machines!

Most of our courses are aimed at folks new to woodworking or with some experience and wanting to learn more. We've added several courses aimed at the intermediate to advanced or the professional woodworker who wants to increase their repertoire of skills. We're bringing in some local master craftsmen to teach with us on these courses:
  • Seth Rolland on Bent and Curved Work in Furniture Making

  • Michael Hamilton on Vacuum Bags in Furniture Making
We think of our teaching mission with three main programs:
  • Furniture Making
  • Cabinet Making
  • "Preserving the Tradition". This is a kind of catchall program that will cover both the Native American Tradition of the area and the traditions that came with the Settlers and their Victorian descendants.
The first courses in the "Preserving the Tradition" will be taught by Jerry and Jeff Monson from the Jamestown S'Kallam tribe. Jerry and Jeff will teach "Making Traditional Carving Knives". We've sat down and talked with Jeff and Jerry and were blown away by the various tools they can make. I use some commercially made traditional style knives in my work and find them both easy and very precise to use. I'm really looking forward to learning how to make these knives. We're hoping that Jerry and Jeff will come back in the Summer and teach more courses from their tradition - they've mentioned drum making and carving! We're also talking to other folks there about more possible courses.

Port Townsend and Fort Worden have a rich Victorian / Edwardian heritage and many of the skills of those Victorian carpenters and furniture makers are slipping into obscurity. There are craftsmen, here in Port Townsend, who we are trying to pry out to teach those skills. We're penciled in a course on "Victorian Millwork and Finish Carpentry" - watch the site or this blog for updates.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Cottage Talk Aftermath

Seeing as how the talk on cottages at the County Library was a standing-room only affair, and that I was soon after deluged with requests for more information on cottage design and furnishings, I've realized that I should use the venue of the school to "feed the need". In the early Spring (or perhaps even sooner), we will therefore hold some seminars on cottage design, tentatively titled "Creating Cottage--Making your house into the home you've always longed to live in". We will also offer some hands-on workshops where students can learn to build cottage-style furnishings. Watch our schedule for these developments!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Jim Tolpin on Cottages 1/16/2008 6:30pm at Jefferson County Library

Catch our very own Jim Tolpin presenting " The Thing About Cottages: How to Create the Home You Long to Live In" at Jefferson County Library on Wednesday 16th January 2008 at 6:30pm.

Jefferson County Library: 620 Cedar Ave, Port Hadlock - (360) 385-6544

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We get a permanent home.....

We're busy working on our new permanent home. We've signed a memorandum of understanding with Fort Worden to use two rooms in the Old Power House (Building 315). This is a big solid building built of reinforced concrete (the walls are 18" thick) that used to contain the boilers and generators to power Fort Worden. The boilers and generators were stripped out a long time ago. Most recently the space has been used for storage and as the paint shop for the park.

There is a 1300 sq ft room that we intend to use as a benchroom / classroom. This is the room we get first. The other room is about 900 sq ft and this will be our machine shop - we expect to get this space later in the year.

We're about to submit a conditional use permit with the City of Port Townsend - this includes a public comment period - we hope to have it approved in 4-6 weeks. We're also applying for a building permit to make changes to the building - we're planning to add doors inside the big steel doors, add a dropped ceiling (to make the space warmer and a lot less noisy) and to bring the bathroom and access to the building up to ADA compliance.

We share the building with a recording studio so we'll also be working on minimizing sound and vibration transmission.

Our current guess is that we'll be open in early March to start teaching. Until we get the machine shop open the focus of our curriculum will be on working with hand tools and projects that can be done using portable power tools. We've outlined courses on making shaker benches, end tables, a course on cabinetmaking in a home shop and more. We're also talking to some folks from the Jamestown S'Klallam tribe about teaching carving knife making, carving and drum making courses. If you want to be notified when course schedule becomes available please sign up on our website.

Before I close this post I want to thank Kate Burke and Steve Shivley from Fort Worden for the terrific support and encouragement they have given us: giving us access the Old Power House and helping us through the partner review. We're proud to be the latest recruits to the Life Long Learning Centre at the Fort.

I also want to acknowledge the advice and support of Russ Hendricks (the Fort's Building Maintenance Manager) and his crew in helping us get the space ready