All Hail the Dutch Princess

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If you haven’t noticed, Megan Fitzpatrick has been teaching a lot of tool chest classes. And thank goodness – that means I can focus on chairmaking, working on books and building commissions.

She teaches these chest classes exactly as I would. Well, that’s not quite right. She actually does a better job. Megan loves teaching – she taught at the college level – and her unflagging enthusiasm for the task beats out my retinue of squirrel and clam jokes.

Her tool chest classes at our storefront sell out faster than any other, except for Chris Williams’s Welsh Stick Chair classes.

So I am amazed that Megan’s Dutch Tool Chest class at the Port Townsend School of Woodworking in June hasn’t sold out. It makes me wonder: Do West Coast people hate the Dutch? Do they not like to learn a hearty combination of hand-cut joints? Do they not have tools to store? I just wonder.

If you’ve never been to the Port Townsend school, I think you should. It is one of the most beautiful corners of the world, high above the Puget Sound in Fort Worden. Honestly, if I didn’t have such deep roots in Covington, I’d run away and live there. The gorgeous town has great food, fantastic beer and the most laid-back vibe I’ve encountered. And the deer are so tame you can pet them.

The school and instructor are definitely worth the trip.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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23 Responses to All Hail the Dutch Princess

  1. Joe P. says:

    it be nice to vacation there and attend the class, however, looking at the required tool list, I’ll need a dutch tool chest to carry the tools to the class, so i can make a dutch tool chest. its toolbox parabox!

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    • You don’t have to bring tools. They have more tools than any school I’ve been to.

      https://www.ptwoodschool.org/what-to-expect

      “The bench room in Building #315 is equipped with a large professional quality workbench for each student. Each work bench is stocked with a set of high quality hand-tools. If you are just beginning woodworking you do not need to bring any tools along with you. You can use our tools and then base your tool purchases based on that experience.”

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  2. Marilyn says:

    Yeah! People! Go! I already have a Dutchie (which I love) and am out of va-ka or I’d be all over this.

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  3. I spend every available moment that I have in Port Townsend; it really is the jewel of the Puget Sound, though I’m sure many other towns would fight me for that. Seriously, he’s not overselling the place. At. All. Go! Have a beer at Syren’s and troll through the bookstores and marvel at the Victorian architecture when you’re not making sawdust out at the school. I already made a Dutch toolchest when the article first appeared in PW, or I’d crack the piggy bank and escape before my wife noticed that the piggy went to market.

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  4. charlesinsea says:

    Having taken Megan’s Traveling Anarchist class last year, I can vouch for all of the above. Well… I guess I’ve never taken a class from Chris, so I can’t be sure of the relative quantity of squirrel and clam jokes, but I’m pretty confident it would be higher with Chris.

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  5. Mark Maleski says:

    The only complaint I’ve ever heard about Megan’s classes is that she doesn’t tell enough squirrel or clam jokes.

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  6. Andrew Brant says:

    I’ve often wondered the same about the west coast. Is it just a lack of tradition in woodworking, compared to Kentucky or Maine? We certainly have the lumber.

    For any west coasters thinking about this, I can attest to Megan’s Dutch toolchest class being top notch and well worth it. Nothing has given me more confidence in joinery or hand tools, and it was a fun time to boot.

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  7. Dave says:

    Please don’t bag on the west coaster’s here. We have a deep respect for the joinery, the instructor and have plenty of tools to store. We suffer enough with our complete lack of ability to get our hands on SYP and have not had a decent woodworking show out here in years. Maybe bringing Handworks 2020 to California with help wake up our otherwise completely woke woodworking community.

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  8. Chris Grant says:

    The school really is wonderful. Of course they suggest you have woodworking skills that exceed my own to take Megan’s class, but if you have the time and money they’ll fix that problem, too.

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  9. Tiger hx84 says:

    Is there a title from l.a.p that can aid in a dutch chest build at home, if not maybe a short treaty on the subject in the future.

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  10. Mike says:

    You know when you’re on vacation, and you get that moment? The one where you think, “I can quit my job, I have some room on the credit card, so I could live cheaply here for a couple months, and do the cool stuff that really sings to me?” That’s Port Townsend and the Port Townsend School of Woodworking. Heck, I live in Seattle and I’d move up there in a heartbeat. Great town, warm and friendly instructors, fresh air…. It doesn’t get any better.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Joe says:

    I lived near to Port Townsend. I used to go there on a lot of weekends. That area and Sequim are paradise. It’s one of tne areas I’ve considered retiring to.

    A few years ago there was a job opening at the school, I had seriously considered applying there.

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  12. Dave Classen says:

    I lived in the Pacific Northwest from 1967-76, British Columbia, Yukon, and Alaska panhandle. It is truly God’s country. This past October, our family spent two entire weeks exploring the Olympic Peninsula and had a fantastic time. The kids had never been to that part of the world, and I wanted to give them a taste of it, beaches, mountains, old growth forest, storms off the ocean, and unique towns. We stayed in Sequim for a week and took day trips from there. Also spent a few days in Port Townsend seeing the numerous old Victorian homes and touring the grounds of Fort Worden, although we couldn’t spot the exact location of the building used for the classes. There is a great little shop on the edge of the downtown area which features the work of local woodworkers and displays some amazingly creative pieces. The town seems to be populated by the world’s largest collection of “retired hippies” you’re ever likely to run across, if you can imagine that. Oh, and I’m sure the school would be a great place to runnoft to with your little piggy!

    P.S. I would attach a few photos but can’t figure out how to do it right here.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. William schmidt says:

    I took Jarrod Dahl’s green woodwork class there last June, and absolutely loved the class, the school, the place we stayed (a cottage on top of a bluff), and the setting. Highly recommend it for a vacation!

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  14. lazywriter says:

    I would really like to take this class since it’s relatively local. Unfortunately, I haven’t taken the prereq’s yet and I have a conflict that week. I’m hoping it comes around again in the future.

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  15. collimore@sbcglobal.net says:

    Ain’t much fun shooting tame deer. The charm kinda wears off after the first seven or eight.

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  16. Byron Williams says:

    I took Megan’s tool chest class last year, and I can attest that she is knowledgeable, entertaining teacher. I’ve taken six classes at Port Townsend and all have been well worth the 600+ mile trip from Montana–the school and town provide a great woodworking experience. I just hope this year she’ll schedule a class beer night–as much fun as she was in class I suspect we missed a great night on the town!

    Liked by 1 person

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