Port Townsend School of Woodworking
Preserving the Tradition

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Foundations of Woodworking - I consider myself a better woodworker and person for it.

I never would have dared to dream that I would end up in a place like the Port Townsend School of Woodworking. The opportunity to attend the three-month long intensive Foundation in Woodworking course has been a dream come true.

I suppose my interest in woodworking took root at a young age, though it was in a highly abstract state. Growing up, my father liked to include me in his do-it-yourself projects around the house and in the backyard. We repaired fences, built raised garden beds, and fixed or attempted to fix various items that we used in our home. While this was a good start in learning to work with my hands, it was by no means a comprehensive foundation in doing so.

By the time I reached high school, I was tired of sitting at a desk doing textbook-based academia that involved little brain to real world transfer. Thus, I enrolled in two successive years of wood-shop class. This is where my love and passion for woodworking was truly cultivated. The process of creating an idea in one’s mind, drafting it on paper, and then, through the careful (at times not so careful) manipulation of wood, bringing it into the real world, that enchanted me. Waking up each day and knowing that I had even an hour to look forward to in the shop, kept me happy and motivated. To be able to work with my hands and engage my mind in the physical world has always been incredibly refreshing, especially when involving wood, a dynamic and (usually) workable medium.

However, a high school shop class can be a bit chaotic and I found myself craving something more intimate and in depth. I desired to immerse myself in woodworking, and maybe dedicate a portion of my life to it. Moving forward, my time in the high school shop did not last as long as I would have liked, and I was “shop-less” and without hand tools (and for the most part, the knowledge to use them). I lived this way for a few years, until I decided I needed to re-enable my passion, for it had been resting on the back-burner for far too long (two years). Consequently, the Port Townsend School of Woodworking entered my periphery and eventually my life.

I was instantly enthralled by the mission of the school: its philosophy and execution. Of course, I was attracted to the most intensive class, the three-month Foundations of Woodworking course. Through the encouragement of my partner and family, and the generosity of the school, I ended up attending the Fall 2018 foundations course.

In my eyes, most every aspect of the school is perfection: the size, the instructor to student ratio, the dedication of each faculty and staff member involved, the focus on primarily hand tool woodworking without completely disregarding power tools, the attention to detail in each facet of the craft, and the overall environment. I learned an insurmountable amount of knowledge during my time in the Foundations Course and consider myself a better woodworker and person for it. My passion for this craft is emboldened like never before. I know that I have received a top-notch education in the foundation of my woodworking skills, and, as I learned many times throughout the course, a structure with a solid base is always better for it.

In the spring of 2019 I plan on attending San Diego State University and studying applied design with a focus in wooden furniture. I intend to continue expanding upon my woodworking knowledge and strengthen my design capabilities. Currently, my goal is to make wooden furniture. Time will tell where it leads me.

Garrett Kitchen
Foundations of Woodworking, fall 2018