Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Local Scholarships for the Woodworking Foundation Class

The Port Townsend School of Woodworking and Preservation Trades is proud to announce a scholarship program for the school's first Woodworking Foundation Course. This 12 week intensive runs from Monday, January 10th through Friday April 1st, 2011.
Tim Lawson, the School's Executive Director, said 'We're delighted to offer scholarships to this new course. We want to help young people develop skills that will last them for life. We're looking to kindle that passion for wood and working with their hands into a lifelong love affair. That we're able to offer scholarships to young residents of East Jefferson County makes the opportunity extra special.'
This course is designed to provide a deep understanding of basic woodworking techniques with hand and power tools and to provide broad exposure to a range of woodworking techniques so that the graduate from the program can develop their own voice and style as a woodworker or furniture maker. The course will provide the students with pragmatic and safe techniques for effective work in a woodshop.
We are offering these scholarships to young people in the Port Townsend / East Jefferson County area only. We plan to expand the scholarship program in subsequent years.
The course description and on-line application can be found at
If you have questions about the scholarship application or course details - please feel free to contact Tim Lawson by email or by phone 360-440-7660.

Intermediate Furnituremaking - November 2011

We finished the year with a bang - we taught our first two week Intermediate Furniture Making class. Four students - two, locally, from Clallam County and two from Southern California ended up braving a rare but intense pre-Thanksgiving Snowstorm.

Our thanks to them for their fortitude with the weather and for the great feedback on the class.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Port Townsend Woodworker's Show 2010

The Port Townsend School of Woodworking is proud to be a sponsor and organizer of the Port Townsend Woodworker's show. The show is held annually on the first weekend in November and attracts up to 30 exhibitors from the surrounding area. Many of the local faculty display their work.

It's a great chance for us to catchup many alumni and friends from the region. We encourage students to enter the show - either at school's booth or at their own booth. Entries for the 2011 show will open on June 1, 2011.

Enjoy the show:

See other galleries of the show:

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Woodworker's Ball 2010

Just to give you a taste of the Woodworker's Ball 2010. We held it at the NW Maritime Center on November 6th, 2010. Arran Stark's Shepherd's Pie and Farmer's Pie (vegetarian) were filling and sublime; a creme brulĂ©e to die for; wonderful service. Airstream Traveller were the perfect accompaniment keeping toes tapping and the dancers whirling.

At the Ball we launched ourselves as a non-profit. We're transitioning the operation of the school to "The Port Townsend School of Woodworking and Preservation Trades". The new name reflects our goal of teaching woodworking, historic preservation; and our intention to also become a vocational school.

Our deepest thanks to all our supporters, donors for Silent Auction. I don't have the list at hand - we'll list them fully on the School's website.

Finally a huge thanks to Shelley French who took the notion of going above and beyond to new heights. Thanks Shelley - it was a fantastic night.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Totem Pole Raising at Peninsula College

I was proud to attend the Totem Pole Raising at Peninsula College in Port Angeles last week. Steve Brown accompanied Darcy McNamara, Teresa and I to the ceremony.

The pole was carved by Jeff Monson and some apprentices from the Jamestown S'Klallam tribe. The totem is in a S'Klallam style (North Coast Salish) of a woman welcoming visitors.

The pole was carried from the carving place to the House of Learning - a contemporary longhouse on the Peninsula College campus. The procession was accompanied by singing and dancing by members of the local Tribes: the Hoh, the Makah, the Jamestown S'Klallam, the Port Gamble S'Klallam; the Lower Elwha Klallam and the Quileute. Listen to the videos rather than watch them.....

Jeff and his father, Jerry, offered a knife-making and carving class in our first year of operation. We hope get them to come back to the school and teach.

Woodworking For Women - Fall 2010

Once again Martha Collins inspires and enthuses new women woodworkers. The Port Townsend School of Woodworking is delighted to host classes for Women taught by a very accomplished woman. The variety of project and materials is always impressive; as is the demand for more classes. We're adding a Woodworking for Women 102 in 2011.

As ever our thanks for Martha teaching these classes.

And Elizabeth is going to hate me but.....

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Staining and Colouring with Michael Dresdner

Michael Dresdner is teaching the Staining and Colouring Workshop as part of his Master Class series on Finishing at the Port Townsend School of Woodworking this weekend. Drop by the School to watch the students learning the arcane art of dry brushing and layered finishes on Sunday.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Beginning Marquetry - October 2010

Tim Swanberg is teaching Beginning Marquetry this week (Oct 11-15) at the Port Townsend School of Woodworking. Stop by and watch the work progressing. We'll be updating this album through the week.

Update - what a wonderful week! In one of those moments of inspiration I suggested that the students make a panel of the Copper Canyon Press logo. Calling it a logo is a low blow. The Kanji of the logo means "Word Temple". Copper Canyon Press is our closest neighbour at Fort Worden State Park.

Tim and the students accepted the challenge immediately and with gusto! The completed panel will be auctioned off at the Woodworker's Ball on November 6th at the Northwest Maritime Center. We hope a generous soul will buy the Word Temple Panel and give it back to Copper Canyon Press. Your never know - it could end up in the Office of the Poet Laureate of the United States. The Panel will be on display the Port Townsend Woodworker's Show 2010.

I want to thank Tim Swanberg for his wonderful teaching style, humour and dedication to the art. We'll be getting him back soon.

Again the slide show says it all.

Plane and Simple - October 2010

At the Port Townsend School of Woodworking Plane and Simple is one of our favourite classes. Jim Tolpin and I spend two days teaching folks how to use sharpen, maintain and use benchplanes. It's wonderful to watch the grins when a student leaves with a garage sale plane working perfectly. We've a pretty high success rate - but some planes are beyond help (sorry).

Plus we add a teaser for Beyond Plane and Simple (our course on specialty planes, spokeshave and other rarer tools).

Everytime we teach this course we learn more and have more to share. The big innovation for this class is using heavily cambered blades in Jack planes to do a lot of flattening of a board. We took a crude video of this process and it is posted on our YouTube channel (and I'll post it here shortly).

I want to say a big thank you to the students on this course. I had a great time, Jim did too. Thank you for putting up with the bad jokes. We're working on those American / English woodworking translations!

The Videos:

Jaap Romijn - Designer, Maker and Creative Force

Port Townsend is blessed with a wonderful array of craftspeople. In this occasional series we'll highlight them. Plus we can be bribed - Undertown Coffees are a great currency.

Jaap Romijn emigrated to the US from Holland many moons ago and put himself through college working as a gardener. He's also worked as a street entertainer. Art and sculpture have been his first loves and that creativity shines through to his furniture.

Jaap moved to Port Townsend in the mid oughties and setup his shop in Glen Cove (just up the street from my shop). I've enjoyed getting to know Jaap and and delighted that we're working on a project together. I'm always inspired when I visit his shop.

In this short slideshow you'll see a stunning live edge sideboard; wonderful simple plywood bikes he's making for his daughter Rebecca's twins; a scrapwood chair which he hopes will make the Port Townsend Woodworker's Show next month and other neat stuff happening in his shop.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Small pieces - Large Grins!

Martha has been teaching our Woodworking for Women classes for the last two years and has been gently urging us to let her teach "Making Wooden Jewelry". The class ran last weekend at the Port Townsend School of Woodworking and was very impressive. Martha hauled in wonderful array of sanders, additional small bandsaws, epoxy and isocyanate (Superglue) glues, lots of veneer and boards of gorgeous wood. Much sawing, sanding a gluing up.

I dropped in on Sunday afternoon and everyone was begging (well asking) for more time in the shop; for longer and more courses next year. Those direct appeals will work. The new 2011 schedule should be out tomorrow and we'll add more of Martha's classes before we publish the final schedule.

Pictures say this better than words (as usual):

Monday, September 27, 2010

Jointing with Drawknife and Try Plane - Jim Tolpin

In the first of our new tips and techniques Jim Tolpin writes and demonstrates how to remove a lot of material when jointing by using a drawknife first:
In just a couple of weeks, I’ll be attending the Woodworking in America conference in Cincinnati, Ohio. These shows are extremely popular (this year’s show has been sold out for months!) and well worth attending if you want to learn more than you ever thought possible about choosing and using hand tools. As for me, besides getting to see some of the best hand tool woodworkers in the country do their stuff, I get to do some stuff myself! Chris Schwarz and I will be demonstrating how to flatten boards by hand with a sequence of hand planes as well as demonstrating some typical—and not-so-typical— uses of the drawknife.
Now a lot of furnituremakers are already fairly familiar with using hand planes, but the lowly, and rather homely, drawknife is kind of looked down upon—or at least seen as primarily the tool of old-world bodgers (chairmakers). Having come to furniture making via boatbuilding, however, I have been long aware of the use of the drawknife in that trade, and of its inherent abilities that most furnituremakers would find most useful. 
At the WIA I’ll be showing how the drawknife can be used in lieu of a rip saw to bring a board to width and how it can be used in lieu of a band saw to made inside and outside curves along a board’s edge….and far more, including how to use it to create decorative treatments such as stops on chamfers and scalloped edges (prolific on gypsy wagons!).
Sometime early next year I’ll do this presentation about drawknives at the Port Townsend School of Woodworking, but for now--if you want to see just how fast the drawknife can be relative to a rip saw--try this:
  1. Draw a straight line along the edge of a board about ¼-in. in from one edge. (Choose a straight-grained piece to reduce the challenge a bit!) Bring the line around to the other face and mark it.
  2. Now clamp the board in a vise, orient the drawknife bevel side up and slice just about down to the line on one face at a bevel of about 45 degrees. (If you experience tearout, reverse the board in the vise).
  3. Next bevel down to the line on the opposite face. What’s left is a “mountain” in the middle of the edge—which you’ll slice off until the bevel disappears on each side. On a two foot long board with straight grain, this should take only a minute or so.
  4. Finally, plane the edge true with a try plane and you’re done!
Here's our first how-to video. A little rough round the edges - we'll get better.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Reuse Recycle

This is by way of a cheat for a blog article but I follow a number of blogs of woodworkers in the US and UK.

One these by Robin Wood (is there a Little John in the house?) who is a leading light of the English Heritage Crafts Association. The article contains a little vignette on how natural Grindstones (the good old Carboniferous Millstone Grit) have been used to make walls in Sheffield, UK. Read Robin's Article here.

I also like the fact that Mike (and I suspect I know which Mike) in the comments refers to a chuch in Tacony, PA which is built with reshaped grindstones from Disston and Sons the saw and tool makers.

What a wonderful way to share and propagate knowledge.

Making NW Carving Tools with Steve Brown

Five of us took Steve Brown's NW Toolmaking Class this last weekend at the Port Townsend School of Woodworking. Steve bought his portable blacksmithing kit - forge, Anvil, blacksmith tools, and grinders which we set up inside and outside the class. We started with a presentation on the history of steel tools in the Native American tradition and it clearly predated the settlers - pointing to connections to China and Japan. 

Steve's background in ethnography, carving and toolmaking is staggering. Mitch (one of the students) makes Aleutic style Baidarka and grew up in native communities in Alaska was having great conversations about Prince William Sound style of carving with Steve.

Onto the toolmaking - Steve went into depth on the materials, design of adzes and knives using his wonderful array of tools to explain the subtleties between types of blades.But as usual pictures are worth more than my descriptions.

Thanks Steve for a great class - we hope to get Steve back to teach this and more classes in the future.

Here's a slideshow of the class and several movies of the making process:

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Pix of the School

A couple of folks have asked for pictures of the school - the Bench Room and the Machine room.

These should give you a good sense of the Port Townsend School of Woodworking's teaching spaces.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Fort Worden Windows Project is complete

We've had the great privilege to work with the good folks at Fort Worden State Park (Kate, Carmyn, Russ and the C&M crew, Jake and many more) and Peninsula College (Jackie) to offer a series of classes in Window Restoration and Building Storm Windows.

The Port Townsend School of Woodworking's lead Historic Preservation Faculty - Kevin Palo gathered many fans from the 65 people took part in the two to three week courses. The Graduation ceremony last week was a proud and humbling experience. We were delighted that nearly 35 graduates of the classes turned up to recieve their certificates from Dr Thomas Keegan - the President of Peninsula College. The camaraderie and depth of learning was clear from the students who addressed the audience (many thanks to Larisa, Serena, Jeremy, Chris and Al for stepping up to the microphone).

We'll post the graduation pix soon. To keep you engaged here is a slideshow of the highlights of the classes.

Announcing the Woodworking Foundation Course

When we started the Port Townsend School of Woodworking we always planned to start a longer intensive course at the School. In the last year we've had a lot of inquiries about "apprenticeships", "journeyman" classes and longer courses that will build a solid foundation of woodworking skills.

We're heeding those who asked and we're proud to offer our Foundation Course starting in January 2011. This is a three month / twelve week class where we steadily build your skills before switching into a final project class. The final project can be in any of three areas: Furniture Making, Cabinet Making or Building a Gypsy Wagon.

You can read a fuller description here.

This is a really exciting development and we hope you'll be tempted to join us next year.

Feel free to comment or email us with questions.

Catch us at the Wooden Boat Festival

The Port Townsend School of Woodworking will at the Wooden Boat Festival in Port Townsend - September 10-12, 2010. We've changed our booth location to be out on the Point of the Point Hudson Marina by the Woodworking Stage.

Jim and Tim will be giving presentations at 1:00pm at Woodworking Stage each day:

  • Hand Planes (Friday 10th)
  • Sharpening Hand Tools (Saturday 11th) 
  • Using Chisels (Sunday 12th)
This is the biggest event of the year in Port Townsend and a wonderful opportunity to catch up with old friends.

We hope to see you next weekend.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Coopering on a perfect summer weekend

Seven students and eight buckets at the Port Townsend School of Woodworking. When we taught this class before we only made a couple of buckets in a one day course - on the new extended version everybody gets to make and keep a bucket.

From the slideshow (it's pretty long) you'll see the sequence of operations to make a bucket. We split old growth cedar and sawn sugar pine so that folks could get a real understanding of the differences working with different types of wood. Both types of bucket look great. 

We also added a section in making some of the special tools needed for Coopering - the angle gauge (pretty easy) and the croze (the tool for making the groove the bottom slots into) was more challenging.

This is still one of my favourite courses and I'm going to have to make a cooper's plane (that's the big inverted 5' long plane!).

Pictures by William Zerby and Tim Lawson

Friday, July 23, 2010

Greene & Greene Details I - July 2010

The Port Townsend School of Woodworking was delighted to host Darrell Peart teaching his signature Details I class again. Next year Darrell will also be taking these classes on the road to the East Coast and the Mid West. We'll miss folks coming in from out-of-state but we're glad we've helped further establish Darrell as a leading furniture maker, teacher and Greene & Greene maven.

Darrell recently was named one of the top eight furniture designers in the world. We're working with Darrell - offering his next generation pair of one day courses "Designing Furniture" and "Precision Woodworking" in November 2010.

Here's the class picture form the course last weekend:

Credit to Ed White for the photo - or rather for letting me use his camera and sending me the image, Thanks Ed! (Seated at the left)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

NASA - First-of-its-Kind Map Depicts Global Forest Heights

Port Townsend School of Woodworking

I found these maps fascinating and kind of scary at the same time. Using a laser based remote sensing technology NASA has mapped the average height of forests around the globe. The darker the green the taller the trees. The linked article talks about where the carbon released by burning fossil fuels ends up and highlights the value of forestry as a carbon sink.

What I find scary is just how small a part of the globe still has big trees and, to me, emphasizes how important it is to conserve them and to create the next generation or big trees (tree generations are much longer than human generations).

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Coyote Woodshop - Bainbridge Island

Port Townsend School of Woodworking
Bob Woodyard, Jaap Romijn and I made a visit to David Kotz's Coyote Woodshop down on Bainbrdge Island. We were scouting for material for some furniture projects and wanted to meet David and see his operation.

The three of us were very impressed. David has amazing selection of local wood and a great setup.

If you're in the Seattle area and want some slabs for that special project - I'd recommend taking a trip out to Bainbridge Island. Coyote Woodshop

I'm hoping that we can work with David to pull together a course on working with live-edge slabs in 2011 at the Port Townsend School of Woodworking. Let us know if you're interested.

Since pictures are worth a thousand words -  I'll let the slideshow do the talking:

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Working with Japanese Handtools - Dale Brotherton

We were honored to have Dale Brotherton teaching at the Port Townsend School of Woodworking last week. As one of the students said "Dale embodied the spirit of working with wood". For the first two, two and half days of the course, the students sharpened the blades of their planes and chisels. I was impressed by the elegance of the blades and the persistence needed to get the perfect edge - tapping on the softer steel on the back of the blade to flatten the hard steel laminated on the front.

They then plunged into working with the tools. In the true Japanese style Dale does not advocate using vises or clamps. You use your body or a simple stop to hold the wood in place. This allows you to sense immediately how the wood is reacting to the tool and then adjust how you are cutting.

It was Dale's style of using a Japanese handsaw that set me thinking - he uses it vertically - pulling downwards or  upwards (look through the slideshow to see some examples). Also when making the long cuts for the tenon cheeks he flips the wood over every 10 strokes or so - made much simpler by not using a vise or clamp. The other technique that he really impressed on me is how lightly he holds the saw - there's just enough pressure to stop it slipping out of his hand. (Reminded me of being coached on holding a squash racquet).

We look forward to having Dale back at the school next year.

(Click through on the link in the slideshow to download the images)

Here are a couple of very short videos showing Dale planing a beam:
Movie 1:

Movie 2:

For the students on the class here's a scan of the sketch of the saw horse

Friday, July 9, 2010

Summer Classes Update

Summer is finally here at the Port Townsend School of Woodworking. As usual it arrived the day after Independence Day - it was too cold to watch the fireworks. Now we're getting warm but not as hot as the rest of the country!

Its looking like most of the folks in the NW prefer to spend their summer out of doors so we're down to just a few classes - but really great classes. There are some spaces in all of these classes:
  • Greene and Greene Details I with Darrell Peart  7/17-18
    First in the next round of Darrell's classes exploring Greene and Greene details. Darrell shares the secrets of his production techniques for those characteristic details
  • Coopering with Steve Habersetzer  7/24-25
    Make a cedar stave bucket by hand:split the staves with a froe; shape the staves with an ax; bevel on a cooper's plane; rivet the straps; assemble!
    Everything used to be shipped in barrels - we'll try making barrels too. Great fun and a good part of it outdoors!
  • Greene and Greene Details 2 with Darrell Peart  8/14-15
    Round two of Darrell's renowned Greene and Greene classes - various draw pulls, foolproof finger joints and base straps. No need to take Details I first.
  • Build a Gypsy Wagon with Jim Tolpin and Steve Habersetzer  9/3-5
    This class is developing quite a following! Your chance to learn how to design and build a traditional vardo. Covers everything from the choices for a trailer bed to the canvas for a hoop top wagon.
Like the New Style?
We've updated the look of the School's main Website and the School's Blog to this great new scheme designed by Megan Foley. Thanks Megan!

Great Places in Port Townsend
We find that at some point in every class there is the inevitable question about where are the best places to eat, drink or "Where can my wife go?"

To whet your appetite we're put together this annotated Google Map listing good restaurants, bars, coffee bars, and other neat stuff. The list is idiosyncratic and biased (its the places we like) but we hope it will help you plan your trip to the School. It's also a work in progress - we'll keep updating it.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Why understanding Old Buildings is important

Port Townsend School of Woodworking
We were extremely privileged to have Mark Liebman present "Getting Under the Skin of Old Building at the Port Townsend School of Woodworking on June 17th. Mark's talk was primarily on the tools used for non-intrusive methods of assessing old buildings. These methods allow the forensic preservationist to get a much better idea of the state of an old building. Mark illustrated how these tool have helped in a series of case studies.

There were some real Aha! moments for me:

  1. Keeping an old building (or any building for that matter) in good condition is all about managing water and moisture. If you change the permeability of the walls, restrain ventilation or add insulation you can cause the moisture in the building to find a new path through the building. The new path may not be where you wish it to be and can cause rot or other damage.
  2. If you replace materials in a building it is vital to keep the same physical properties of the material - ideally using the original material. See case study on the Cotton Building (the slide on material degradation) in Port Townsend. Adding an impermeable mortar when repairing the masonry caused the bricks to disintegrate when the water moved through the bricks instead of through the mortar.
  3. Buildings adapt. A building settles, this can changes the forces on different parts of the building; load can be transferred to unexpected parts of the building. Windows can be become load carrying - not the adjacent columns (as originally designed). One thing Mark has noted is that the greater the variety of materials in a building the more the building changes! Metal, stone, concrete and glass do not mix well. Some of our new buildings are going to set serious challenges for preservation in the future
We're delighted that Mark has generously shared his presentations. We share his belief that more people - especially architects and contractors need to more fully understand the materials in old buildings. Using new (or rather modern) materials is not necessarily the best way to fix an old building.- these may introduce more problems than they solve.

 We hope this will encourage old building owners to seek advice; ask questions  before making changes. We plan more courses to help you understand buildings next year.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Fort Worden Windows Restoration Project

Port Townsend School of Woodworking
We're just coming to the end of the first set of classes on the Fort Worden Windows Restoration Project. The Port Townsend School of Woodworking has partnered with Fort Worden State Park and Peninsula College to offer an innovative way to get energy conservation projects completed. Prompted by the reciept of an ARRA (Stimulus) grant Kate Burke asked us to put on a series of courses to get the work completed. These courses have been free to the students. We've has some great crews from State Park Construction and Maintenance teams, the Washington Conservation Corps and the Veteran's Conservation. Local contractors and homeowners (from around Puget Sound) have added to their skills too.

This slideshow should give you an idea of the professionalism of the work and the enthusiasm of the students. Our thanks to Al McCleese for these great images.

You can learn more about the project here

Windfall Forestry - the best in local lumber production

Port Townsend School of Woodworking
Windfall Forest is a small family run sustainable forestry and milling operation on the outskirts of Port Townsend. Robin McKann and his family have set up a very impressive operation. Theirs is a multi-part operation - part of a carbon offset program (NW Neutral), part a certified felling and lumber preparation (FSC certified forestry); part furniture making.

The thing that really impressed me was the quality of the wood they are producing and the deep care and concern they show for the forest. Matthias's knowledge of the woodland - the interaction of all the different parts of a forest that make a healthy forest, differences in growth rates of healthy and less healthy trees and more was willingly shared. I'm planning to go back and buy wood from them soon. Plus get another lesson on forestry.

I'd strongly recommend checking out the McKann's if you are looking to buy lumber locally.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Curious Cabinets and Elated Students

Port Townsend School of Woodworking
Garrett Hack (note two T's) just finished teaching "Cabinet Curiousities" at the Port Townsend School of  Woodworking. Nobody finished a cabinet but there was no expectation of doing so - Garrett is much more concerned (we fully support him here) in ensuring that the students fully understood the techniques and processes he was teaching. I'm really impressed with the quality of the work and the confidence of the students with their tools at the end of the six day class. Garrett is teaching again on Monday. We've currently booked him to return in September 2011.

(Students - you can click through on the slideshow below and down load larger images from the Picasa gallery. Plus if you'd like to post comments that would be great!)

Friday, May 28, 2010

What a week in turning! Classes with Bonnie Klein

Port Townsend School of Woodworking
Renowned woodturning teacher Bonnie Klein has been at the Port Townsend School of Woodworking this last week. She's taught three classes so far and will be teaching this weekend as well.

The energy and the focus in the classes is palpable - there is a great rapport between the students and a remarkable quality of work. The quality of the work from novice turners is stunning - look through these slide shows and figure out who has never turned before - I'd never guess. I'm hoping to take one of Bonnie's classes when things ease up!

If you're wandering around the Fort this weekend feel free to drop in and watch what is happening. I'll be around in the machine shop and will be happy to guide you around.

(Students - click on any of the slides to go to the Picasa Gallery. You can download printable sized images.)

Basic Woodturning (24-25 May)

Turning Small Bowls (26-27 May)

Turning Boxes (28 May)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Carbon Offset Tour - June 18th 2010

Port Townsend School of Woodworking

The Port Townsend School of Woodworking is delighted to help promote the Carbon Offset Tour on June 18th 2010. We think that helping woodlot owners to receive cash for a commitment to leaving trees on the stump is major incentive to preserve trees and to sequester carbon. The bigger the tree the more carbon dioxide it takes out of the atmosphere; helping offset the amount of carbon we each burn every year.

The Northwest Natural Resource Group is based here in Port Townsend and they are pioneers in small scale carbon offset programs, plus they are group certification organization for the Forest Stewardship Council. The Carbon Offset Tour is a series of presentation followed by a guided tour of several small(ish) private woodlands. Inspiring and informative - highly recommended.

The School's new non profit board includes Shelley French (NNRG's Financial Director and Operations Manager) plus we're partnering with then on some grant applications.

You can read more here.

I plan to be there - hope to see you!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Windows Restoration Project starts at Fort Worden

Port Townsend School of Woodworking

The Port Townsend School of Woodworking in partnership with Fort Worden State Park and Peninsula College has started teaching old window restoration as part of an ARRA (Stimulus) grant received by Fort Worden. We've setup a millwork shop in the Old Bakery at Fort Worden and have started work on Building 200 (the Fort Office). Keep coming back to the entry to watch the slide show grow.

Details to follow on the Schools website.

Out of Square 2010

Port Townsend School of Woodworking

In the last week of April Seth Rolland taught to a small but incredibly enthusiastic class at the Port Townsend School of Woodworking. There was a great deal of improvisation and experimentation going on. When we came to empty woodbins it was the first time I've had to use a whip to keep the pieces under control. Hopefully these images will give you a sense of how things were in the class!

Plus the first in class use of Sketchup to work on designs!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Windows Restoration Training in Port Townsend

Port Townsend School of Woodworking

For Immediate Release
Contact:  Jake Hollingsworth, 360.344.4404

Fort Worden State Parks, Port Townsend School of Woodworking and Peninsula College are coming together on a Historic Window Restoration Class project.  Fort Worden State Park was awarded Energy Recovery Funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009.  The funds will provide for free tuition and enrollment for the historic window restoration classes.  The students will receive certification in historic windows restoration from Peninsula College while receiving expert training from the Port Townsend School of Woodworking.  These classes are for those interested in an in-depth look at construction and maintenance of double-hung windows, and appropriate storm window options for historic structures. 

Class focus is basic-to-intermediate window maintenance and repairs.  This program gives the participant a beginning knowledge of practical in-shop millwork practices. Included are project layout, appropriate materials, joinery techniques, storm sash manufacturing and glazing.  The class will also be introduced to the manufacture, hardware, and installation of operable storm windows on two historic buildings at Fort Worden.  Buildings 200 (park office) and 310 (gym) will be the project sites for these classes

Classes are two or three  weeks in length – Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.  There are no classes on weekends.  Each class is limited to 12 students/participants.  Each student/participant must successfully complete the restoration of two windows to receive certification.  The roster currently has many participants from the Veterans Conservation Corps, Department of Ecology’s Washington Conservation Corps and Washington State Parks. 

The following classes have openings:
Window Restoration and Storm Sash Construction /Installation -   June 1 -11
Advanced Window Restoration and Wall Stabilization - August 2-20
Advanced Window Restoration -  August 23- Sept 2
There is no charge for a course - breakfast and lunch are provided. Assistance with accommodation is available.

If you are interested or need more information, contact Dale Hollingsworth, Fort Worden State Park at 344.4404 or email at

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Building Handsaws with Mike Wenzloff

Port Townsend School of Woodworking
Mike Wenzloff is teaching at the Port Townsend School of Woodworking this weekend. Five students are customizing Mike's exquisite handsaws to their own hands. They've been working in either American Black Walnut or Swiss Pear to make the handles.

The class has been a delightful romp through the materials, history and techniques of making handsaws. I dropped in a few times during the day and caught tantalizing snippets about  Disston, Kenyan and other makers.

You can catch a sense of what it is like to be in class room from the slideshow. Tomorrow (Sunday) they'll be plunging into the challenges of filing the teeth on the saws. There's some real trepidation there. In the afternoon they'll be learning the theory of sawing and practicing with their new saws.

Governor Gregoire uses Lawson's Lectern

Port Townsend School of Woodworking
Washington Governor Christine Gregoire visited Port Townsend on April 22nd. The Governor visited the NW Maritime Center to unveil a plaque commemorating Captain Vancouver's charting of the West Coast of North America. The plaque was placed by the American Society of Civil Engineers in conjunction with the Canadian and Spanish counterparts.

All the speakers presented from Tim Lawson's Winged Lectern which he presented to Centrum (the arts organization at Fort Worden) and was loaned to the NW Maritime Center for the occasion. The lectern has been flying around locations in the City!

Here's a picture of Governor Gregoire at the Lectern on an amazingly sunny afternoon.

(We're not sure who took the image but will be delighted to give credit if they'll own up!)
Update 4/28/2010: Scott Wilson - publisher of the Port Townsend Leader took the picture. Read the full story here.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Darrell Peart's Greene and Greene Details II - April 2010

Port Townsend School of Woodworking

Darrell Peart just taught another great Greene and Greene Details II class at the Port Townsend School of Woodworking.

Here's the graduating photo. I got there just a hair too late - they'd packed away most of their sample pieces for the journey home.

From 2010-04-19 - Greene and Greene Details II

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Windows and Wheeler - Article in The Leader - Port Townsend

Port Townsend School of Woodworking
There's a great article in the Port Townsend Leader about Fort Worden and the School's involvement in historic preservation projects at the Fort.

Read all about it:

Windows and Wheeler - The Leader - Port Townsend, Jefferson County & Olympic Peninsula's news website - Port Townsend, WA

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Really sharp students!

Port Townsend School of Woodworking

Ten students - twenty or more razor sharp tools. We just finished up another great class (a little difficult for me to really say as I taught it) -but I really enjoyed teaching the class. There was a great attitude from all the students, good insightful questions, and plenty of laughter!

Here are the pictures I took during the class. Doesn't show everybody but should give you a pretty good sense of what it was like in class. Please feel free to leave comments.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Congressman Norm Dicks visits the School of Woodworking

Port Townsend School of Woodworking

We were greatly honored to have Congressman Norm Dicks visit the School today. School founder Tim Lawson presented the mission of the school and, especially, it's Historic Preservation program. In 2009 the school taught two courses to members of the Washington State Conservation Corps. The one week class in March focused on the theory of Historic Preservation and the assessment of old buildings. The second course in June 2009 completed the restoration of the eastern facade of Building 365 at Fort Worden.

Building 365 is 5,000 sq ft facility that we hope to transform into a teaching facility for the practical skills of historic preservation with a millwork shop, a metalwork shop, a paint shop, classroom, library and office space. We hope to complete the restoration of the building by training teams of veterans and others in skills that will enable them to find jobs in restoration projects across Washington state.

Our thanks to Kate Burke, Mayor Michelle Sandoval, Thatcher Bailey and Dave Robison for making the connection with Congressman Dicks. Plus a big thanks to Mark Fischer, Roxanne Clark and Ed Bowen of the Veterans Conservation Corps for their early faith in our Historic Preservation program.

You can find more details on our historic preservation program here

Friday, April 2, 2010

Woodworking for Women - March 2010

Port Townsend School of Woodworking

What a bunch of happy people! John, Jim and I checked in at various times during the week. These women were working hard and clearly having a great time!

I also really appreciated the feedback that they really enjoyed that the class was just for women. One of the questions at the end of the class was "When do we get a second week with Martha?".  We'll work on that!

We also really appreciate that folks traveled from Boston and Iowa to take the class.

Thanks everybody for coming and thanks to Martha Collins for being a great teacher.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Build a Gypsy Wagon Class - March 2010

Port Townsend School of Woodworking

I turned up at the end of the workshop. Everybody looked happy and tired. It had a been an intense three days - a mixture of class time, shop time, visits to wagon makers in the area and a session steam bending and spelunking for wagon parts in Steve Habersetzer's shop.

If you were in the class you can click on the link on lower left of the slideshow above and download the class pix. I posted two - 'cos naturally not everybody was smiling in the same photo.

Also we encourage you to post comments to this post telling us what liked (or not) about the course.

Thanks for coming!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Woodworking Help Needed - For a Good Cause

Port Townsend School of Woodworking

Can you help? John, Jim and I are unable to help this very worthy cause. Is there somebody in East Jefferson County that can help? Please contact Marie.
Hello Tim,
Your name was given me by Pamela Roberts, WSU Coop Extension in Port Hadlock. Pamela and I have been coordinating services for a local man who is a quadrapalegic, following a devastating illness a year or so ago.
The program which I work for (Roads to Community Living--RCL) has purchased for him a computer with voice activation, printer, etc. This technology will be an enormous asset for him as he struggles to regain independence, network with his personal/professional network and otherwise be in touch with the broader world.
I am trying to find donated materials and labor to build for him a good bedside table to hold his computer, accessible storage and a good place for his printer. In his small home in rural Irondale, his friends built a large room with doors opening to his garden and we would like to have some components built to make this room convenient for him.
Pamela thought perhaps you or colleagues might help us and it would be much appreciated by a good man who caught a real bad break.
Thanks for your consideration.
Marie Campbell, RCL Contractor
(360) 452-3525
(360) 477-1242

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Darrell Peart and Lee Valley Tools make Greene & Greene Details easier

Port Townsend School of Woodworking

In the past Darrell has taught students to make the square holes to make the square holes for Greene & Greene style square plugs using either hand chisels or a hollow mortiser chisel. Darrell has worked with Lee Valley Tools / Veritas to come up with a set of square chisels very similar to a hollow mortise chisel.

The students in this class were working with some early production versions and they (and I) were impressed with how much simpler, cleaner and faster they made the process! Locate the square chisel; tap in to place; drill through the chisel; tap the square chisel down to depth; use the drill to clear the shavings; perhaps a little clean up work with dental picks and a fine chisel and you're done!

You can see the chisels and the process in the slideshow above. The square chisels will go on sale shortly.

Congratulations to Darrell and the Lee Valley Tool company! Darrell tells the story.

Darrell is teaching his Greene & Greene Details II in middle of April. Details I is repeated in July.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

“The Japanese Influence on NW Style”—Dale Brotherton - March 18th at 6:30pm

Port Townsend
Lecture Series: The Art and Craft of Working with Wood

The Japanese aesthetic and the skill of Japanese woodworkers has long influenced architectural and furniture styles in the Pacific NW. A few woodworkers have traveled to Japan to immerse themselves in the tradition and to learn from the master craftsmen.

Dale Brotherton is one of those who has made the pilgrimage and returned to start a successful business building homes, teahouses,  and furniture. We first heard about Dale for the work he had been doing to restore buildings at the Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon.

Dale will be teaching several courses at the school this year so this is a great opportunity for you to be inspired by the craft of Japanese Woodworking.

Entry by at-will donation.

When: Thursday March 18th 6:30pm
Where: At the School - Building 315, Fort Worden State Park

Chair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Port Townsend
Well not quite tomorrow but Friday. Chairmaker Tom Dolese is teaching a week long class on Chairmaking (starting March 8th through Friday 12th). Feel free to drop in at the school and take a look at the chairs in progress.

Here's a slideshow of progress:

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Schedule for March 7th Open House

Here is the schedule of events for the day. We're keeping the individual presentations short and sweet but there will plenty of time for Q&A after each session - the presenters will be there for most of the day. Plus there'll be plenty of ad-hoc demos.

Bench Room
Machine Room
11:30 AM
Historic Preservation
(Tim Lawson)
12:00 PM
Hand Tool Joinery
(Jim Tolpin)
Quick Casework
(John Marckworth)
1:00 PM
Gypsy Wagons
(Steve Habersetzer)
1:30 PM
Saw Sharpening
(Jim Tolpin)
Vacuum Bags for Furniture
(Tim Lawson)
2:00 PM
Studio Furniture
(Seth Rolland)
2:30 PM
(Steve Habersetzer)
(Martha Collins)
3:00 PM
Historic Preservation
(Tim Lawson)
3:30 PM
(Tim Celeski)
Workshop Tour
(John Marckworth)
4:00 PM
Hand Tool Joinery
(Jim Tolpin)
4:30 PM
Sharpening Chisels
(Tim Lawson)

After each Historic Preservation presentation Tim will lead a short tour of Building 365 at the Fort where we hope to create a workshop for teaching Historic Preservation.

We'll also have most of the Board of our new non-profit there so you can find out more about our plans and how you can help.

We look forward to seeing you - pack all your fellow woodworkers or woodworker wannabees in the car and bring them along.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Please join us for our 2nd Anniversary Open House on March 7th

Port Townsend

We opened the school on March 8th in 2008 and we're delighted to open our doors and show you how we've grown.

We're holding an open house on Sunday March 7th from 11:00am - 6:00pm so that you can meet the three of us.  We'll also have a bunch of our local faculty on hand for you to get to know.

Not seen the facility yet or want some questions answered - feel free to come along.

We'll also have the directors from our new non-profit on hand so you can find out more and how you can help.

We'll also be doing a bunch of demos during the day (we'll announce the schedule nearer the date)
  • Sharpening Hand Saws
  • Fine joinery with hand tools
  • Portable power tools for home shop cabinetmaking
  • Using a Vacuum bag
  • Collecting and restoring antique tools
  • Coopering
  • Gypsy caravans
  • Studio Furniture
  • Choosing and using workbenches
  • Turning wooden jewellry
There'll be plates of cookies and beverages on hand.

Plus we'll have some door prizes!

    Friday, February 12, 2010

    Catch up with Tim Lawson on Bainbridge Island - Feb 20th 2010

    The Bainbridge Island Community Woodshop is a group whose goal is to setup a Community Woodshop in the next couple of years. We've been talking to them over the last couple of years.

    They've asked me to present at their Annual Meeting. The public is welcome - from their invite:
    "Membership Meeting
    Please attend the annual meeting of the Bainbridge Island Community Woodshop. We have
    some exciting news to announce, plus a fascinating speaker.
    When: Saturday, Feb 20, 2010, 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM
    Where: Kallgren Room at the Bainbridge Island Senior Center (Google Map)"

    Save the Date - Open House March 7th 11:00 - 6:00pm

    We're holding an open house on March 7th with demonstrations, shop tours and more. We're working out the details and will publish more details soon.

    2010 Lecture Series Starts with the History of Fireplaces

    We're kicking off the 2010 Lecture series in a Historic Preservation vein. Port Townsend's very own Jim Buckley is will present the "History of Fireplaces" at 6:30pm on Thursday 18th of February at the School.

    Friday, January 8, 2010

    Steve Habersetzer's Latest Gypsy Wagon

    Steve has just completed this Gypsy Wagon for Pushkara. I'll add more details soon.

    I wanted to get these images up so that you could drool over them and think about coming along to the Design and Build classes in either March or September.