Smoothing Plane Tips and Techniques
The Coolest Cutting Board Ever?
How to Sharpen Hollow Chisel Mortising Bits
Simple Cabinetry with Pocket Hole Joinery
How to Sharpen a Spokeshave
Drawbore Your Mortise-and-Tenon Joinery
Speed Up Handplane Honing with Your Ruler
Finishing Technique for Greene and Greene Furniture
Simple Tape Trick for Tight Fitting Through-Mortises
Hinge Mortises on the Tablesaw
Customize Your Router for Centered Mortises
A Woodworker's Guide to Grain Direction
The Essential Tool Chest
Capture More Dust from Your Router Table
Workbench Tool Storage Solutions
James Krenov: 1920 - 2009comments (27) September 10th, 2009 in blogs
James Krenov, a legendary woodworker, author, and founder of the College of the Redwoods Fine Furniture Program, died yesterday at 88, according to colleague and family friend David Welter.
Through his school and his furniture, Krenov inspired a generation of furniture makers with a high regard for both materials and craftsmanship and design with an aesthetic informed by organic, subtle details.
The son of Russian aristocrats, Krenov was born in Siberia in 1920. His family eventually settled in Seattle, then Krenov moved to Sweden in his mid-twenties. He began his career in woodworking there, studying with famed furniture designer Carl Malmsten. Until his work began to take off, his wife Britta kept the family afloat on an economics teacher salary.
|View an audio slideshow about James Krenov. View the slide show|
After 30 years in Sweden, Krenov returned to the United States and published his first book, A Cabinetmaker's Notebook, in 1976. It articulated a new way of woodworking, one that intimately involved the maker with the material.
In 1981, he founded the influential College of the Redwoods furniture program in Fort Bragg, Calif. Krenov speculated on the influence he has had on woodworkers throughout his career in a March 2003 interview with Fine Woodworking, "It's not that I had a message that was outstanding or unique or anything like that. I just expressed the feelings that a great number of people had ... 'Live the life that you want to live. Don't be unhappy in your work.'"
His work is displayed in museums in Sweden, Norway, Japan, and the United States. Since his first book, he wrote four other books on woodworking: The Fine Art of Cabinetmaking, With Wakened Hands, Worker In Wood, and The Impractical Cabinetmaker.
He retired from the College of the Redwoods in 2002 after more than twenty years of instruction and inspiration. He continued to build custom cabinets from his home shop in Northern California until his failing eyesight prevented him. Since then, Krenov continued with his passion for wood building his classic wooden hand planes.
In the 2003, Fine Woodworking asked Krenov how he would like to be remembered... He responded, as a "stubborn, old enthusiast."
The funeral services will be private and the family plans to spread his ashes at the ocean, likely along the route of his daily walk, according to Welter. Contributions in Krenov's memory can be made to The James Krenov Scholarship Fund care of the College of the Redwoods.
Video: James Krenov on Handplanes
A September 2007 interview with David Heim of FineWoodworking.com:
Produced by: Gary Junken and David Heim
Video Length: 2:46
• Official James Krenov site
• College of the Redwoods Fine Furniture Program
• Smithsonian oral history interview
• A Krenov biography
• Students remember Krenov
• David Finck on Krenov's last cabinet
• Remembrance from the UK's Times Online
posted in: blogs, news
Save up to 51% on Fine Woodworking
Become a Better Woodworker
ABOUT THE EDITORS MAILBOX
FineWoodworking.com editors report from the woodworking front lines. Check in every weekday for news, information, projects, and answers to questions from Fine Woodworking readers everywhere.
Learn about our new format!
Archive: Temporarily unavailable. Stay tuned and sorry for the inconvenience.