If you want to fall in love with furnituremaking - read this book!

  • Advertise with us
Review by Loren posted 06-03-2008 06:19 PM 3502 views 2 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
If you want to fall in love with furnituremaking - read this book! No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I read this book when I was just starting out. It is
a spiritual revelation in terms of what it means to
work with wood – and do it well.

It’s not a book of plans and there isn’t enough information
in here to teach you how to build anything if you don’t
have any skills.

This book (and Krenov’s others) are about Feelings. They
are about discovering the wood and discovering a design
process that produces furniture that is finely proportioned
and intimate – with every detail done with careful thought.

He talks about making and using planes, how to choose and
fabricate knife hinges, how to collect one majestic board at
a time and, eventually, when the wood is dry, split it in
half with a bandsaw and discover a bookmatched panel or
pair of doors that are the foundation for most of Krenov’s

He has said (I paraphrase) ,”if I screw up the doors I lose the
whole piece,” so he thinks it through thoroughly and weighs
his choices. Rips can be jointed and glued but a crosscut is
forever. If you cut a board too short you lose the potential…
so if you work in this style you have a strategy to keep your
options open as you go along.

Krenov wrote several books and I read most of them. I get them
mixed up in my mind though because they all have one voice
and cover much of the same territory.

He writes about machines. The bandsaw is his favorite, his most
used – and if you want to make solid wood furniture I concur
with him that a bandsaw is your most critical machine purchase.

When this book was written he lived in Sweden – over 30 years
ago now. He says he started out with just a bandsaw and a
jointer. Today I own one of the same jointers he used – the
little INCA 8” machine.

Today Krenov lives in Fort Bragg, California. He founded a woodworking
school up there. His eyesight has decayed and he doesn’t
make furniture anymore. These days he makes wooden hand
planes by feel.

This book made me fall in love with woodworking. It compelled
me to teach myself the foundations skills. If it were not for
Krenov I don’t know if I would have half the understanding I
do today of hand planes and the beauty of a hand-planed surface.

In the end all my woodworking started here. I give this book
my highest recommendation.

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4448 days

7 comments so far

View johnjoiner's profile


160 posts in 4694 days

#1 posted 06-03-2008 06:59 PM

I’m glad you put up the review, Loren.

I also love Krenov’s books.

-- johnjoiner

View SST's profile


790 posts in 4995 days

#2 posted 06-04-2008 04:48 AM

Thanks for the comments. I believe that I’ll search for his books. I’ve seen some articles either about or by him in Fine Woodworking mag. I think it’s time for his books now. -SST

-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you

View Denappy's profile


116 posts in 4483 days

#3 posted 06-04-2008 05:17 AM

Thanks for the great review; I tend to agree; It is not always how quickly you can do it, but how you do it!

-- -=Den

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4622 days

#4 posted 06-04-2008 11:21 AM

Thanks for the review. I have read this book as well and agree with your assessment of Krenov.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View WayneC's profile


14359 posts in 4898 days

#5 posted 06-04-2008 11:27 AM

Also agree as you can see from my tag line.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Ken90712's profile


17888 posts in 3989 days

#6 posted 12-31-2010 03:11 AM

Nice review!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View travisowenfurniture's profile


91 posts in 3492 days

#7 posted 01-20-2011 06:29 AM

Well said. He has done the same for me. I just got copies of his last two books, “With Wakened Hands” which is about the work of his students, and “Worker in Wood” which takes a closer look of some of the pieces he featured in his earlier books. His words and his work struck me like nothing ever could. Before I had ever heard of him I knew I wanted to try woodworking. When I first started reading “The Impractical Cabinetmaker” (the first book of his I had) I thought he was some kind of artsy hippy-ish beatnik who liked the funky side of furniture, but as I read on, I began to feel like I was really understood and I felt like I wasn’t alone. I gained an extreme appreciation from the human touch on furniture as opposed to the factory made square-cornered fiber board furniture so common in our houses and in our stores.

Thank you James Krenov. Your soul will live forever through the people you have inspired.


Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics