Port Townsend School of Woodworking Foundation Course

The following press release was sent to newsletter editor Bill Wood who passed it on to the website.

Tim Lawson, Director
Port Townsend School of Woodworking and Preservation Trades
200 Battery Way, Fort Worden
Port Townsend WA 98368
Phone: (360-344-4455)5
Email press@ptwoodschool.com
Web: www.ptwoodschool.com


Woodworking Foundation Course Announced by Woodworking School

Port Townsend, WA. August 25th, 2011.

The Port Townsend School of Woodworking and Preservation Trades is pleased to announce the Foundation Course with a focus on hand tool use to be taught from January 9th, 2012 through March 30th, 2012 at the non-profit school on Fort Worden in Port Townsend WA.

The Foundation Course is an intensive twelve week class that will provide any novice woodworker a solid grounding in the basic array of skills they’ll need to develop as a furniture maker, skills that will provide the foundation to all further work an individual takes on the rest of their life.

The School suggests that students have some basic woodworking experience before taking this class, but will accept students with no woodworking experience provided they can produce evidence of strong practical skills and problem solving ability. Attitude and motivation are key to woodworking success.

Traditionally woodworkers learned their craft working as apprentices in a master craftsman’s shop. The apprentice did the “grunt work” and picked up skills by assimilation.

“The School’s approach is a little different”, said Tim Lawson, the School’s Founder and Executive Director. “Our approach is based on the assumption that the student is developing or already has a passion for woodworking, learns quickly, and can devote three months to an intensive class on hand tool-based skills development.” Continuing, Tim said “This training will show students that many of the more advanced techniques in woodworking are relatively straightforward and build on the basic techniques that will be learned in the Foundation class”.

In the Foundation course, students will focus on developing their hand tool skills. “They’ll learn to work wood, instead of machining it”, said author and instructor Jim Tolpin. “And, they’ll find that while it may be somewhat slower, it is certainly much more enjoyable making furniture rather than manufacturing things”. While it is important that students develop an understanding and appreciation for the standards that make woodworking great, perfection is not the goal. The School teaches and encourages the continuous development of useful and pragmatic hand tool skills as a basis for the development of furniture-making expertise.

Students do not need to bring any tools along with them and may elect to use the School’s tools. Doing so will allow students to base tool purchases on their experience. The School’s hand tools were generously donated to the school by Robin Lee of Lee Valley / Veritas.

Students who have already started to acquire tools should feel free to bring them along. Instructors at the School will teach each student how to sharpen and tune them so that students can use them in the class. While each student bench has storage space for personal items and project parts, students should bring their tools in a tool bag or box for convenience. The School’s website provides a detailed list of required tools.

The Foundation course is divided into three basic units, each respectively three, four and five weeks long.
During the first three weeks of class, the School’s goal is to develop the student’s basic competence with hand tools, train the student in woodworking machine safety, and to educate them in the basic principles of woodworking. Students will learn the basics of shop safety, hand tool use, sharpening, design, wood selection, lumber preparation, hand joinery and project execution.

While the emphasis will be on hand joinery skills, students will get a good grounding in the safe use of woodworking machines for lumber preparation and dimensioning.

During the fourth through seventh weeks of class, the School’s goal is to further build student proficiency with hand tools and to help students deepen their understanding of the basic principles of woodworking. Students will focus on the design and construction of a small solid wood frame and panel cabinet with doors, drawers, and moldings.

The class will also look at the traditional techniques for adding detail and interest to design through beading and chamfering to create shadow lines. Students will learn how to make tools to create these essential details.

During the advanced project work portion of the course, the School’s goal is to build student confidence with hand tools and to deepen their understanding of the basic principles of woodworking. Students will construct a project of their choice that will build upon the basic skills they’ve learned during the first seven weeks, one that will require them to learn and employ even more advanced hand tool techniques.
The School and shop are situated in the Old Power House at Fort Worden. The School presently has two teaching spaces – a bench room and machine room. The bench room is equipped with a large, professional quality workbench for each student and is the focus of student work during the class. Each work bench is stocked with a set of high quality handtools. Classes at the School run from 9:00am sharp through 5:00pm, Monday through Friday, with an hour’s break for lunch at noon, and 15 minutes breaks mid-morning and mid-afternoon.

Information about scholarship and work trade opportunities will be available in early October.
This is an intensive course, one that will repay student focus and concentration with skills for a lifetime. For more details, see the School’s website at www.ptwoodschool.com .