By Coree Wehr
Foundations of Woodworking student (fall 2017)
I never thought I would fall in love with woodworking, to be honest, I never even thought about it. My first passion and love were sports. I played baseball, basketball and football my whole life. I thought I was going to follow my brother’s footsteps and get a Full Ride scholarship for athletics. I never thought that a shoulder surgery and knee surgery would happen before my senior year in high school. After years of trying to figure out what I wanted to do in college, I still had not found my passion or anything that excited me.
After much searching, I was bit by the woodworking bug a few years ago and have never looked back. I am thankful for my Papa (Grandfather) introducing me to woodworking. My Papa taught me a lot, but I was yearning to learn more and to consume information beyond what I could find online. After searching for and researching different programs I was intent on attending the Port Townsend School of Woodworking. I set my mind to it and didn’t give up even though I was waitlisted - the administrators can attest to my determination (they might use other words to describe my excitement).
The teachers and my fellow students in the Foundations of Woodworking Intensive provided me with so much information, it was amazing. From finishing wood, to the correct way to plane a board, to grain direction and so much more. Not only did I learn a lot from the program, it’s set in a beautiful area - this school was made for the Pacific Northwest.
George Nakashima once said, “Each flitch, each board, each plank can have one ideal use. The woodworker, applying a thousand skills, must find that ideal use and then shape the wood to realize its true potential.” With the help of Abel Isaac Dances, Steve Eastwood, Steve Habersetzer, Raphael Berrios and fellow students, I truly feel like I learned a thousand skills. Each teacher and student brought different thought patterns, applications and skills to the classroom.
With the skills that I learned from school I’m working towards making furniture my full-time passion. I have booked several jobs that have kept me extremely busy. From book cabinets, to pantries to mantels and so forth. I would have not been able to build these things if it wasn’t for the Port Townsend School of Woodworking. In my time between jobs, I have also been building my dream workbench. After school ended, I knew I needed to build a classic workbench. We started and ended our day at our workbench in school, it almost became a ritual for me. Get to class, set my things down and look at the board for the days schedule. It was so refreshing to come to school excited to learn and knowing the techniques being taught are something I will always have with me.
The PT Wood School provides everything you need to succeed on your own. I’m thankful to my teachers and fellow students for giving me one of the best experiences I have had thus far in my life. I also want to thank the scholarship donors once again, without you this would have been almost impossible. I am grateful and thankful for your donations of time, love and funds. I will always cherish the knowledge, relationships and experiences I gained from this wonderful program. Coree Wehr