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.

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