Port Townsend School of Woodworking
Preserving the Tradition


A Letter from the Director


After a lot of thought, and more than a little inspiration, I've decided that next year will be a year of transition for me. I’ll be moving on from the role of Executive Director in the Spring and returning, like Jim and John, to the role of maker and instructor. 

I’m looking forward to getting back to making, whether it’s  furniture or sculpture. I've been dreaming of shapes and colour and itching to get my hands back on wood. A pinched nerve in my neck impacting my right arm is making me realise that I want to focus my strength and dexterity on working with wood.

My new house and shop are on the verge of completion and I’m looking forward to living there by Thanksgiving. I relish the thought of having a shop just a few steps away from home for the first time in 12 years. The new house is just blocks away from Fort Worden and next door to to my partner Sue’s house. 

March 2017 will be the 10th anniversary of when Jim, John and I decided to start the school. Since then we’ve come a long way, and the institution we created is in great shape. The School has grown from a few courses taught by the three of us in rented classrooms, to now offering a wide variety of classes in our own Fort Worden facilities, taught  by local instructors, visiting instructors (like Garrett Hack and Peter Galbert) and, of course, our amazing staff.

We've become a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, a State licensed vocational school, and established longer programs
like the very successful 12-week Foundations of Woodworking course. We’re adding a 12-week Furniture Making course and a four-week hybrid woodworking intensive in 2017. 

We’ve expanded from one room in the Old Powerhouse to two rooms. We've just finished adding insulation and heating to a new, fully equipped second workshop and teaching space in a separate building on Maker’s Square (at Fort Worden) that will host a complete second set of programs each year. The staff we've recruited in the last couple of years are talented, dedicated, and provide the school with the solid base needed to continue to grow and fulfill its mission and vision. 

I'm proud of my tenure as director and I am humbled by the support of the Board, my fellow Founders, staff, students and community partners. The school will be searching for an exceptional individual who, as director, will flesh out our vision, help the school find the resources to continue to grow and prosper, expand the team, create an even broader array of woodworking programs, and extend the school deeper into the economic fabric of the area.  If you or someone you know might be interested in knowing more about this exciting opportunity, the job posting can be found here.

My focus for the next six months will be to keep the school running smoothly, help with the recruitment of my successor, and facilitate a clean transition. After the new director is on board I plan to take a break from the school and return in the fall of 2017 as one of the instructors in the furniture making intensive.

I'm not going away. I’m excited to play a different role at the school. I look forward to catching up with many of you as you come back to the school or come for the first time. Feel free to email or call - I'll be delighted to see you.

May your passion run deep and strong.

Tim Lawson

We are currently seeking a new Executive Director
Click here to read more about the position.