Woodworker West
Profile John P McCormack Image Credit: Woodworker West
Profile John P McCormack Image Credit: Woodworker West

Profile: John P. McCormack

As the Port Townsend School of Woodworking welcomes master woodworkers from around the Northwest to their November Woodworking Show, we caught up with its newest faculty member, John P. McCormack. Here is John’s story in his own words:

From a young age, I was always drawn to making things. My dad was an amateur woodworker, and my mom sewed, so my inclination for making came from both sides. Being a Sierra Club member in high school, I developed a love for the outdoors, which led me to develop a small-scale sewing business, making backpacking equipment and climbing gear. As I developed an interest in woodworking, I added tool cases to my product line, and my clients included retailers Smith & Hawken and The Japan Woodworker.

This fascination with nature led me to earn a degree in Ecology and Systematic Biology, though I eventually realized that I didn’t want to do it as a career. Through a friend, I heard about San Francisco State University’s industrial arts program and started taking classes with John Kassey, author of The Book of Shaker Furniture and The Book of American Windsor Furniture. I thought about teaching, but I didn’t feel I knew enough about woodworking to teach it. Instead, John recommended that I develop my skills by applying to the Cabinet and Furniture Making program at The North Bennet Street School in Boston, MA.

The North Bennet Street School (NBSS) was an absorbing experience. Still on North Bennet Street at the time, it was a bit cramped, but a progression of new students and graduating students provided exposure to a wide range of technical skills and projects. It was really a cool environment, b


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