Our mission is to inspire a lifelong passion for craftsmanship through education in woodworking and traditional building trades.
Watch Our Story
Learn about our story in a stop-motion animated short by alumna, Andrea Love.
We’re A Community Like No Other
We range in age from 10 to 85. At first glance you might wonder what brings us together. The answer is a shared love for woodworking. We’re serious about technique, maintain a tireless work ethic, thrive on helping each other problem solve and we believe the only failure isn’t trying.
Our passions include; hand tools, joinery, fine furniture, Northwest Coast Arts, woodturning, tiny homes, Vardo Wagons and creating an inclusive, supportive community. We offer a course for women intended to breakdown barriers to becoming woodworkers; and we’re seeding our next generation through summer camps for youth.
The first thing you’ll notice stepping into our bench rooms is how quiet it is. That’s intentional. Don’t ask to turn up the stereo. We’re listening. We’re attuning our ears to recognize the sound of sharp tools on wood. However, if you visit on a Friday afternoon and we’ll be anything but quiet: we’ll be having a potluck and if the weather’s warm you’ll find us outside in the sun, our mismatched dogs tethered close by.
Some of us are training for our first careers, some are retraining, some are retired and pursuing a lifelong passion, some of us are novices and unsure where this adventure will lead us. Welcome.
Learn From The Best
We’re committed to offering students small class sizes and the opportunity to study with an array of woodworking professionals who bring a wide breadth of specialties and master craftsmanship.
As professional educators they are able to recognize individual learning styles, employ excellent communication skills, and are always generous with their patience and good humor. We’re fortunate to draw on our wealth of local woodworkers in addition to faculty from across the region and nation. This pool of over 30 educators allows us to offer a combination of 12-week courses and a diverse selection of shorter courses for woodworkers at various skill levels. If you have a specific interest not included in our current offerings please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sustainability: keeping an eye towards the future.
The craft of traditional woodworking is sustainable by nature as the techniques employed endure the test of time. Let’s face it, glue only lasts 200 years: you want your joinery to be good. Whether you’re building heirloom furniture or framing your future woodshop, the goal is that the product far outlives its creator.
We adhere to the philosophy in historic preservation that the most sustainable building is the one already built ⎯ and retrofitted using traditional woodworking techniques that increase efficiency and remain durable over time. To this end, the school, in partnership with Washington State Parks and Peninsula College, retrofitted windows on two historic buildings at Fort Worden State Park.
Our commitment to responsible stewardship and sustainable practices is woven throughout our curriculum in which we discuss and promote the use of non-toxic products and solid wood construction. It also inspires course offerings including Tiny Home Construction and Vardo Wagons. These courses promote efficiency thinking and design, and teach techniques such as light-weight framing to make it a reality.
Our commitment to sustainability in our community includes co-hosting the Local Lumber Conference in partnership with Northwest Certified Forestry. The conference connected woodworkers with producers of locally sourced, sustainably harvested materials. We’ve also worked with State Parks harvesting downed trees from Fort Worden for a project with kids building habitat boxes for native bird species. We continue looking for opportunities to expand our contribution to building a sustainable community.
Location, Location, Location
We’re located at Fort Worden State Park in Port Townsend, Washington on the Olympic Peninsula. The fort is home to the Lifelong Learning Center and education organizations including: Centrum Arts, Port Townsend Marine Science Center, Madrona Mindbody Institute, Goddard and Peninsula Colleges and two history museums. Our students have the opportunity to attend music performances, marvel at an Orca skeleton, take a yoga class, get a massage, learn about the history of the fort or visit with students in other programs over a beer in one of the three on-site eateries. Or if you’re looking for a little quiet time, take hike on the beach or on the trails that span the 434-acre park.
That said, it’s not just about extra-curricular activities. The buildings at the park provide students and interns the opportunity to apply and further hone their skills. Our students retrofitted windows on two historic fort buildings and constructed porch furniture for officers’ row housing.
Beyond the gates of the park, you’ll be welcomed by the historic Victorian port community of Port Townsend. In addition to bookstores, coffeehouses, restaurants and one of the most highly acclaimed movie theaters in the region, you’ll discover a community rich in traditional and skilled trades. Visit Boat Haven marina and see the renovation of the Western Flyer, the boat John Steinbeck chartered for his tour on the Sea of Cortes; or enjoy the historic buildings downtown and local neighborhoods filled with Victorian architecture The school, in partnership with the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding and CedarRoot Folk School, is committed to the goal of making Jefferson County one of the top places in the West to learn skilled trades by 2020.