Our Mission

The Wood Technology Center promotes safe, hands-on, comprehensive technical training with a commitment toward high quality education and craftsmanship through innovative and sustainable programs for woodworkers.

Contact Us

ADDRESS:
Seattle Central
Wood Technology Center
2310 S. Lane
Seattle, WA 98144

PHONE: (206) 934-5460
FAX: (206) 934-5462

Our Faculty

Catie Chaplan

Catie.Chaplan@SeattleColleges.edu

p: (206) 934 – 3830

Catie Chaplin is a professional woodworker and teacher who has been a part-time instructor at the Wood Technology Center (WTC) for over 15 years. Catie primarily teaches the computer classes at the WTC, but often she can be found in a set of white coveralls, substitute teaching in the CORE and Cabinet shops as well as helping students with their woodworking projects all around the WTC campus.

Catie has been a professional woodworker for the past 20 years and has worked for local boat builders, cabinet shops, and construction companies. She now owns and operates a small residential woodworking and design company in Seattle.

Catie received a BA in Philosophy from Colgate University in 1990. She then moved to Seattle, enrolled in the Marine Carpentry program at the WTC (formerly WCC and before that Gompers), and received her certificate in marine carpentry. Catie was the first woman to complete this program. In addition to woodworking, Catie has had extensive training and experience using the CADD program Vectorworks and teaches Introduction to CADD and Computer Applications for Builders. She also teaches an evening class called Installing Cabinets: The Basics and Beyond, which is a community service class she designed to augment the day program curriculum.

Catie loves teaching and feels honored to be a part of the WTC community. She enjoys getting to know the WTC students and helping them develop great woodworking and computer skills.

Dave Borgatti

David.Borgatti@SeattleColleges.edu

p: (206) 934 – 4914

borgatti-david-wood-techDave’s career as a builder started, literally, on the rocks at age 13 while growing up in Cape Cod. He and his dad found a skiff that had washed ashore, rebuilt her, and launched her in the marshes behind Scituate Harbor. Unfortunately, it was a boat that required “a crew” since it proved difficult to row and bail at the same time!

After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and chemistry, Dave started his first turn at the trades with a stint as a commercial diver but the pull of boatbuilding never really left him. So in the early 1980s he took a position with Schooner Creek Boat Works in Portland, OR building custom cold-molded yachts. After building a Bill Garden “Eel” for himself and a trailer he sailed from Florida to Maine. He returned to the Northwest and settled in Seattle vowing to work in a “normal field” (that is, anything besides boatbuilding).

As part of a two man cabinet shop, Dave serviced several designers, he built custom built-ins and trim but realized his technical skills needed some polishing. Dave attended the Wood Technology Center (formerly, Wood Construction Center) in the early 1990s where he found something that was actually better than building one-offs—teaching! He has been a computer applications and woodworking instructor since 1992 and teaches the CORE class offered the first quarter of all three trade areas. In their spare time, Dave and his wife, Wendy, can be found remodeling their 1904 craftsman bungalow in Seattle.

Frank Mestemacher

Frank.Mestemacher@SeattleColleges.edu

p: (206) 934 – 2970

mestemacher-frank-wood-techFrank has been at the Wood Technology Center (formerly, the Wood Construction Center) carpentry instructor since 1995 and also manages the Carpentry program.

Frank was handed a hammer at a young age. By high school he had drafted plans for the family home, which he helped build before graduating. After serving in the United States Air Force, he returned to school to earn his Associate of Arts degree at Santa Monica Community College and Bachelor of Arts degree and Master of Fine Arts degree from San Jose State University. While attending school and then after graduating, Frank followed a career path that combined his passion for art and his carpenter’s expertise where he created sculptures, he designed and built trade show exhibits, he built and remodeled private residences, and he taught art.

Combining his artistic eye and appreciation for the practical, he has constructed buildings in a variety of architectural styles using sustainable practices and materials including straw bale and timber frame structures, “advanced framing” techniques, and using the Passive House energy standard that originated in Europe.

Frank considers himself an “early adopter.” He understands change is inevitable in the carpentry trade and welcomes innovations that improve an inhabitant’s experience and the structure’s sustainability. Naturally curious, Frank seeks unique community-based, real-world projects that both he and his students will find challenging and rewarding as an educational experience. This is what keeps him learning and keeps the carpentry program energized and current. Past student projects include timber frame structures, modular buildings, and light commercial and residential projects. Organizations that have benefited from student carpentry work are Habitat for Humanity, Kubota Gardens, Unity Church, South Whidbey Port District, The Center for Wooden Boats, South Whidbey Fire and Rescue, Hearts and Hammer and individual homeowners.

Frank believes students understand carpentry best by “doing” and experiencing the real-world consequences.

Sam Laher

Sam.Laher@SeattleColleges.edu

p: (206) 934 – 4915

Sam Laher is a shipwright who has been working in the marine trades for 19 years.

He was born and raised in Minnesota and grew up fishing on it’s many lakes, rivers, and ponds. After graduating from the state’s Art High School he attended the University of Minnesota, however, his real interest was the water, so in 1995 he joined the Coast Guard.

After serving four years as an engineer, Sam got out of the Coast Guard and became a marine mechanic, working on everything from container ships to private yachts. Longing for something more creative, he enrolled in the Marine Carpentry program at Seattle Central College in 2002. After graduating he went straight to work as shipwright apprentice.

As a shipwright Sam has worked in a variety of environments, from small boatyards to large union shipyards. He has owned his own business as well as worked for many old time masters of the trade.

Sam feels honored to be teaching at the Wood Technology Center and stresses the importance of safety to his students, not only personal safety, but also making boats safe for the people that will be using them.

Jeff Wasserman

Jeffrey.Wasserman@SeattleColleges.edu

p: (206) 934 – 2974

jeff-wasserman-wood-techJeff Wasserman is a furniture maker, proud to be teaching at the Wood Technology Center since 2003 in the Cabinetmaking and Fine Woodworking program, in the Introduction to Professional Woodworking (Core) class, and a community class in furniture design.

He has served as the Faculty Advisor to the WTC Student Council and as the WTC representative to the Faculty Senate of SCCC.

Jeff received his first training in building, at this very Seattle Central College program in 1979 and earned a BFA in Furniture Design, from the Program in Artisanry in 1986.

Throughout his career, Jeff’s focus has been on the intersection of design and craft, and on forming a respectful collaboration between the two.

As a builder his work has included:

  • Production management positions in cabinet and furniture shops.
  • Set-up and operation of a shop, to build the Cyprus and glass shell, and all interior woodwork, of two experimental houses, sited north of Boston.
  • Construction Engineer on a large residential site; working on interior finishes, and site documentation.

As a designer his work has included:

  • Production work in an interior design firm; sourcing materials, and assisting in the specification of furnishings on a major maritime project.
  • Designing a line of furniture, and prototyping each piece for showroom sales.
  • Studio furniture making- Jeff maintains a design/build shop, creating custom furniture pieces and interiors; sold as private commissions and in art and craft galleries.

His work has appeared in various publications and in two Fine Woodworking Design books.

Jeff’s other passions are music making and family.

John Harvey

John.Harvey@SeattleColleges.edu

p: (206) 934 – 4912

harvey-john-wood-techJohn has been a professional cabinetmaker and architectural woodworker since 1979. He began his career by training at the Wood Technology Center (formerly, the Wood Construction Center) and became a faculty member in 1987.

 His extensive building background includes residential and commercial interior construction projects, individual and one-of-a-kind studio furniture pieces, and creative turnings. Throughout his career, John has been a builder, a project manager, and a contractor.

John was born and raised in Seattle. He has made many contributions to better the lives of hundreds of students he has instructed and guided over the years who have chosen careers in cabinetmaking and architectural woodworking. John feels fortunate, during his years as an educator, to have touched their lives while creating inspiration and confidence in them.

John’s interests include art, music, architecture, and all forms of craft and creativity. He teaches his students that, “The connection between the heart and hand is very rewarding … and now it is time to build.”