Display Cabinet, the Krenov Way
An approach to seeing and building that launched a generation of furniture makers
Synopsis: The cabinet-on-stand form popularized by James Krenov uses familiar construction methods such as mortise-and-tenon joints, dowels, and bridle joints. What makes this article special are all the lessons and details Jim Budlong adds, learned in years teaching side-by-side with the master. For example, he starts with the doors and then builds the case to fit them. The doors are joined with attractive, simple bridle joints, and divided glass panels dress them up even more. The carcase is joined with dowels, which makes it easy to dry-assemble to ensure a perfect fit with the doors. The legs are shaped on the bandsaw and refined with hand tools.
For more on this topic, read Krenovian Details Make a Big Difference.
From Fine Woodworking #208
James Krenov’s writings, gifted eye, love of wood, impeccable craftsmanship, and philosophical approach to woodworking have made his work timeless and influential. Although he didn’t invent the cabinet-on-stand form that he popularized, Krenov spent his career perfecting it. This cabinet has all the hallmarks of Krenov’s philosophy. Its clean lines, perfect proportions, beautiful surfaces, and special details combine to create a piece that’s inviting to touch.
I was fortunate to study with him at the College of the Redwoods Fine Woodworking Program from 1983 to 1985. And in 1989, I began teaching in the same program. I spent 14 years alongside “JK” in the classroom, teaching and learning as much as I could. His method of working is far from the ways of mass-production furniture shops. It’s personal, and that carries through in the finished product. As Krenov worked, he’d move from a sketch to a mock-up, and then to a final finished piece. He never worked from plans; rather, he’d watch a piece develop as he built it, always willing to give in…
Get the Full-Size Plan
Digital plans, a cutlist, and a SketchUp drawing for this project are available in the Fine Woodworking store.