Port Townsend School of Woodworking
Preserving the Tradition


Summer Schedule 2008 / Course Algebra

I've posted an outline of the Summer 2008 Class and Event Schedule here. We're adding some longer 2 week courses and inviting a number of guest instructors. It looks pretty exciting to us!.

The longer courses (week or more) are pretty much set in concrete and are unlikely to change. The shorter courses and events we're still working on so expect some change there (scribbled in quicksand).

An inevitable question is: "How do the longer courses relate to the one day courses?". Hence the second part of the title "Course Algebra".

A partial solution follows (how could I resist?) to help you differentiate and integrate....

We've started to consider most of our day courses to be skills courses. Our longer courses are project based but integrate many of the skills courses.

For example in our summer schedule we have a two week "Introduction to Woodworking" course. We think of this as including:
  • Basic Woodworking with Handtools class
  • Sharpening Chisels and Planes
  • Router Basics
  • Introduction to the Tablesaw, Bandsaw, Jointer and Planer
  • The poorly named Quick Mockups course (this will be called An Introduction to Furniture Design in the future).
  • Some finishing stuff (which we have yet to define)
  • Assembly and glue ups
  • Some background lectures on how wood gets to the lumberyard - this is covered in our "At the Lumberyard course"
So if you've taken all the above courses in the day long instances we'd consider you qualified to take our "Introduction to Traditional Furniture Course" in September.

What I'm struggling to say is that we're offering a fairly full education in woodworking and the skills required to build basic furniture in two forms: The Algebraic (where you stitch it together over time) or the Integrated two week form.

The two week form requires a greater commitment in time - it'll probably be a wash in tuition costs but I (we) think that the immersion for the two weeks has great value.

Next question: I've taken a couple of the one-day skills courses - won't I lose out if I take the two week course?

Answer: No - we can challenge you to further develop your skills. While other students struggle to master something you've already learnt we'll up the ante extend your skills further.

We're working on a way to acknowledge accomplishment as you take multiple courses at the school and demonstrate your skills. We may ask you to show a piece at a show in the school or work something out where we recognize your accomplishment in some material way (handwave, handwave).

We're looking to do something similar with cabinetmaking. Watch for a future post.