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#1 posted 11-10-2016 06:34 PM

yep Krenov – -
Krenov on Grain: The Story of a Cabinet
From Fine Woodworking #133
When it comes to reading grain, Krenov wrote the book I started with only a vague idea of what I was going to make. I knew it was going to be a small cabinet and that it would be made of a wood not too light — and not very dark. Medium, like this teak. I did a little sketch, more of a doodle than a drawing. The sketch just gives me a line on a map — I can follow it, but I still have to take a look at what’s on either side of the road.
From there, I went to the wood room and picked and poked my way to a sense of confusion, irritation. I looked through the wood I had in my bench room, but I didn’t find what I wanted.

I had some teak that was very dark brown and extremely straight lined. Teak like that seemed too good to be true — it didn’t excite me. Then, back in the wood room, I noticed a small, crooked, sawn-up log of teak lying partly hidden on the floor. We’d had it for several years, and nobody seemed to want it. It was no more than 5 ft. long and had been sawn into 8/4 planks. I scratched it a little bit and discovered it was rather a lively teak. It had nice color and a lot of motion in it. Once I found that log, I was off and running — it really gives me energy when the wood helps me with what I hope to do. But I have to take care. If I turn to one
plank instead of another to start a cabinet, it can be the difference between night and day. Or
maybe just night. …

It’s a matter of getting acquainted with all of the properties of each wood you choose to work — a wood’s colors; its hardness or lack of hardness; whether its grain is ornery or not. It’s a very personal thing, and not everyone pays such close attention. But if you do, you are more in harmony with the wood and the work. And the results seem to flow from this harmony, even though it is connected with periods of stress and doubt. In the long run, knowing about these things will help a person.

When I was working on the sides of the cabinet, it became apparent that something different from what I had anticipated was going on. I was making a perfectly rectilinear cabinet, but here the grain was bending forward at the bottom: The crook in the log of teak was now visible as a pleasing but definite curve in the grain of the veneer. When I saw that the side of the cabinet created a forward curve, I decided to change the stand to one with front legs that swept forward. Making this change is an example of observing what’s happening with the wood as you work. But while you sometimes let the wood guide you, you shouldn’t let it dictate. You have to refer to the wood without abandoning your intentions. There has to be a cooperation, a partnership between the two. The idea is to follow, but be careful.

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

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