Masters of the Craft

Masters of the Craft

John Reed Fox: The Uncompromising Craftsman

comments (6) April 5th, 2012 in blogs

JonBinzen Jon Binzen, senior editor
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For John Reed Fox, there are no shortcuts when it comes to building furniture. Its all about the process. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

For John Reed Fox, there are no shortcuts when it comes to building furniture. It's all about the process.


Japanese Lattice Learn how Fox creates his beautiful latticework. 


John Reed Fox was working as a car mechanic in Boston when James Krenov's first book came out in 1976. Browsing in a bookstore on his lunch break one day, Fox came across a copy of A Cabinetmaker's Notebook and was electrified by what he saw and what he read. Within a few years, Fox was making furniture full-time, and in the decades since he has devoted himself to the craft with extraordinary constancy and passion. Blending the inspiration he got from Krenov with lessons he learned from the crafts in Japan, his mother's native country, he has created furniture in a distinctive style that values function above fashion and simplicity above flash.

Fox is widely admired for his designs, but just as respected for his craftsmanship. In the shop he built outside Boston he works with a blend of Japanese hand tools and Western machines. In this slide show he describes his designs, his career path, and the challenges that fuel his enduring love of the craft.

More Masters of the Craft Slideshows

• Jere Osgood: Modesty and Mastery
• Ulrika Scriba's Marquetry: Risk and Reward
• Adrian McCurdy: Furniture Riven from the Log
Geoffrey Warner: Assembling a Life
Peter Shepard Turns the Page
Curve It Like König
Partners in Craft: Harold Wood and John O'Brien
Tool Chest with an Arts & Crafts Legacy
Adrian Potter: Thinking Furniture
Hank Gilpin: Exploring the American Forest
Doug Mooberry: Kinloch Woodworking
Michael Hurwitz: Planks into Poetry
Brad Smith: Story of a Stool
Hank Holzer and Judith Ames: Labor of Love
Michael Fortune: The Clever Chair
John Cameron: A Musician in the Woodshop
Allan Breed: The Past Recaptured
Kintaro Yazawa: Joint Wizardry
Grant Vaughan: Subtropical Virtuoso
William R. Robertson: Micro Maestro

posted in: blogs, slideshow, furniture, masters of the craft, asian

Comments (6)

pete4585 pete4585 writes: Really inspires me. Wonderful.
Posted: 1:26 am on April 23rd

lpower lpower writes: i'm 75 so i've discovered John too late too attempt to emulate him but this is the style i'd love to have found 20 yrs ago . does John have a book of his work or a catalogue . i'd love to just look at them .
Posted: 6:47 pm on April 21st

thunderworks thunderworks writes: I had the good fortune of taking a 2 week class from John (co-taught by Michael Puryear) many years ago. I first saw his work at the Philly Furniture Show in the late 1990's. His designs are beautiful in their simplicity and flawless in execution. His work has had a major influence on me and I feel fortunate to have had an opportunity to learn from him.
Posted: 8:23 am on April 21st

9michael9 9michael9 writes: I have thought about making the same set of stack bookcases over and over again, and have actually built 4 of them. I felt slightly guilty for not "expanding" my woodworking skills, but no more. I quickly realized each bookcase was unique. I kept learning different methods and design changes that kept my mind lively. Each bookcase is different from the others and I have reached the point that the design has reached more subtle changes and don't care if they are noticed or not, its an inner thing anyway. I want my bookcases to resemble a beautiful Haiku.

The woodpecker—
still drilling
as the sun goes down.
Posted: 4:49 am on April 7th

biffe biffe writes: your work touches my soul
Posted: 7:01 am on April 6th

GrandaddysBaileyNo5 GrandaddysBaileyNo5 writes: Exquisite.
Posted: 5:18 pm on April 5th

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