Our Historic Preservation program teaches students the skills to complete historically correct, and energy efficient, exterior renovations and restorations on buildings at Fort Worden State Park. A natural extension of the School’s Furniture Making program is to start creating furniture for buildings at the Fort.
We plan to debut a three month Furniture Making Intensive in the Fall of 2015. This course will focus on the skills and materials needed to make robust, well designed and well made solid wood furniture. In the final part of the course the students will work in teams to make furniture for houses, program spaces (meeting rooms) or hospitality areas at Fort Worden.
We plan to seek individual or corporate sponsors for each room. The sponsors, in partnership with the Fort’s management, will work with the students to agree on style, designs and wood choices.
There will be opportunities to create both period and contemporary furniture. Each team will be assigned a room (or rooms) in a building to design and make the furniture. They’ll also have the opportunity to influence the colour scheme and other furnishings in the room.
Our goal is to challenge students to design and make furniture that combines the practicalities of making furniture in small production runs with details, added through the use of hand tools, that show the traditional values of craftsmanship. The duration of the course also provides a time constraint so students will have to be timely and pragmatic during all phases of the creation of the new furniture.
A significant part of the challenge, too, will be to make furniture that is robust enough to survive the wear and tear of accommodation that is rented out 6 months or more each year. Much commercially made furniture breaks or degrades rapidly under heavy use. Poor choices in the wood, little consideration of the orientation of wood grain to stress, and quick joinery techniques all contribute the failure of furniture in service. The design and construction values will emphasize solid wood joinery over the use of fasteners.
We plan to use local wood and other local materials for the furniture constructed in this course. We intend to source the wood from local woodlands via local sawmills.
We also expect that the course will teach basic upholstery techniques for chair seats and backs. We plan to use low toxicity, simple oil and wax finishes that are easy to maintain and repair.
We’re still working on the structure and curriculum for this course. Our goal is to bring in a variety of local furniture makers who will mentor the class through the design, construction and material choices to complete the variety of furniture.
Plaques on the completed furniture will identify each student as the designer/ maker of the piece and will acknowledge the sponsor. Each student will be able to claim the furniture as part of their portfolio.
This is not a class for beginning woodworkers. We require that you have some significant woodworking experience. A graduate of our Woodworking Foundation intensive or somebody with a similar level of experience in woodworking is an ideal candidate for the class. We will list the skills / experience before we open the class for registration.
We expect to have curriculum for the class and a list of the prerequisite skills posted by March 2014.
Interest / Enrollment
We anticipate being able to offer scholarships for this course.