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About Tim

I was born in Sidcup, Kent in 1954.  I grew up in Hurstpierpoint, a small village of about 3,000 people, in East Sussex. I was lucky to go to a prestigious grammar school in Brighton. In 1972 I went to Liverpool University to study geology. I graduated in 1975 and joined the Institute of Geological Sciences (later to become the British Geological Survey) and worked doing field mapping  in Sussex and East Anglia. The last few years were primarily mapping glacial deposits and looking for sand and gravel.

I quit in 1982 and went travelling. I started out by taking the Trans-Siberian across the (then) USSR. I then travelled around Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and ended up in Hong Kong. From there I was one of the early solo travelers to travel around  China. I then spent time hanging out in the Philippines before heading to the Solomon Islands. From there I went to Australia via New Caledonia.

I spent 18 months in Australia doing some work in construction, working on a farm and packing wool in a shearing shed. I was hitchhiking round the country when I started to run out of money in Mount Isa. The town was home to biggest lead silver zinc mine in the world and I landed a job with in mineral exploration working way out in the bush. At the end of nine months I left Australia. I'd applied for residency and got refused as there was no demand for geologists - even though I had a job.

Back in England I sort of fell into software. I cofounded a small company to develop rules based artificial intelligence programs (in 1983). But we were far to far ahead of our time. We wound up the company with many of us going to work for Lotus Development (UK). Lotus made the first mega-selling spreadsheet 1-2-3. That was the start of a high tech career. I worked in the UK, Japan and then relocated to join Lotus in the US.

In late 2000 I quit Lotus to study furniture making at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Rockport, Maine. This was a transformational experience for me. I went there busting to make Shaker style furniture but got a bad attack of curves in the second week of the twelve week program and never looked back.

Fast forward to 2004 - we moved to Port Townsend to be closer to my then wife's family. It was my opportunity to become a furniture maker, In the first week in town I met Jim Tolpin, who it turned out lived just a couple of houses away. In that first conversation we talked a lot about how Port Townsend would be a great place for a woodworking school.

I struggled to find a way to make a living as a furniture maker. Then just as I was starting to despair, in early 2007, Jim called, he'd been talking to John Marckworth,  and suggested that it was time to start that woodworking school we'd all talked about. That was the genesis of the Port Townsend School of Woodworking.

We opened the School at Fort Worden in March 2008. We were lucky the school took off and grew throughout the great downturn. In 2011 the school transitioned to be a non-profit and I became the school's first Executive Director. I balanced running the school and doing some teaching. I taught the first 12-week Foundations of Woodworking course in 2012.

I retired from the School in 2017. I'd just built a house and wanted to get back to my craft. That took about three years....


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