Revisiting Krenov

This post has two parts. Scroll down if you just want to look at the pretty pictures. (I won’t hold it against you.)

The other day I found an old document.  It was an article by James Krenov from Fine Woodworking 1997.  It was just one photo and two pages of text about hand planes.  It’s been several years now since I read them. And this reminded me how much I loved reading Krenov’s first three books. It was shortly afterward while scouring the internet for anything Krenov-related that I found Inside Passage School of Fine Cabinetmaking (IP).

Krenov’s writing is unusual in the woodworking world. He’s open to the idea of there being many ways to do things. But he likes his way and he’s very opinionated. He doesn’t try to be everything to everyone like most writers. Here are two of the quotes from this article that grabbed me.

The tendency ever since the Japanese waterstone thing is that people are more worried about the stone not being perfectly flat than about how they hold the iron or about working harmoniously.

The wedge should not be too tight. You should be able to remove it easily with your fingers by just zig-zagging it out.

This is leaving out the best, imo, of Krenov’s writing, which is his philosophical ramblings. But I need to beat the point of the wedge not being tight into my head. Note to self: Krenov could loosen the wedge with his fingers and he was, physically, a very small man.

Part II

Since Krenov’s death in 2009 I’ve wondered what they’re going to do with his website. If you navigate to his “Latest Piece” then scroll to the bottom, there are links to great photos of his last ten pieces. I haven’t seen these anywhere else, so I’ve brought a few of my favorites here. They had an original Krenov cabinet at IP when I was there. I think it was the cabinet in the first photo.

I love the warm tones and the transition from heartwood to sapwood

This is one of my favorite stands

Assymetric knob placement, but it works with the grain graphics

A good photo of a cabinet interior

Notice the knot in the second drawer front?

Playful drawers


About johnjoiner

Computer nerd by day, Dad and woodworker by night. Woodworking blog at
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