Jim Tolpin is a renowned woodworker and author. He grew up in Western Massachusetts, and after getting a degree in geology, found that he preferred working with wood rather than rocks. Early on, he got to know the famous boat builder and designer Budd Macintosh, who became a mentor for both woodworking and writing. Later, he worked at the Penobscot Boat Company in Rockport Maine. He also got to know the founder of Wooden Boat Magazine and wrote a column for them in its early years. After moving to Port Townsend in the late 1970’s, Jim specialized in building one-off custom cabinets and furniture while also working (and living on) boats from time to time. After ten years in Port Townsend, he thought he’d try his hand at writing, and now has written 18 books which have sold close to a million copies. He also wrote articles for many other magazines. Late in his career he has focused on using hand tools. Most recently, he has been rediscovering preindustrial woodworking and design techniques. In addition to these topics, in this interview he discusses what Port Townsend was like in the 70’s and 80’s, his experiences camp-cruising in a 14-foot open boat with his wife Cathy, he gives advice for people entering the trades, talks about the importance of efficiency in making a living in woodworking, and tells us about a hitchhiking dog and much more. My name is Jim Heumann. If you want to learn more, Jim Tolpin posts often on Instagram (@jimtolpin), and has a web site (https://www.byhandandeye.com), and a YouTube channel (@jimtolpin1).




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