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Education Port Townsend School Image Credit: Woodworker West
Education Port Townsend School Image Credit: Woodworker West

Education: Port Townsend School

The Port Townsend School of Woodworking celebrates its 10th anniversary. Located within the 434-acres of the Fort Worden State Park on the beautiful Olympic Peninsula in Port Townsend, WA, the school has grown from a few courses taught in rented classrooms to a full curriculum and 5,000 sq. ft. of facilities.

The school was formed by happenstance. “I moved to Port Townsend in 2004, after graduating from The Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Rockport, ME,” recounts Executive Director Tim Lawson. “I didn’t realize that I had moved in two doors from Jim Tolpin, until we met at a neighborhood welcoming party. We began discussing the similarities between Rockport and Port Townsend, leading to the conclusion that Port Townsend was ripe for a woodworking school. Joined by John Marckworth, we further explored this idea by meeting regularly over morning coffee, and at the beginning of 2007, we decided that this was the time to do it.”

In rented classrooms at Fort Worden State Park, they offered seven “Sawdust Free Education” courses that summer, with an emphasis on design. The sessions attracted 87 students, demonstrating sufficient demand to go forward. This experiment also drew the attention of Kate Burke (then Fort Worden’s Manager), who recognized the value of having a school of fine craftsman as a resident organization, suggested the addition of Preservation Trades to their name and mission, and facilitated securing the former Powerhouse as a permanent home. With major


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