Krenov Interview

If you get into woodworking, at some point you'll hear about or read one of James Krenov's books. And if you do, it may change how you work wood.
There are many he inspired, more that he influenced and for some he's the woodworkers' equivalent to Eric Clapton (Clapton is God), spoken of with reverance. And his books are more philosophical than technical, with insights into WHY rather than HOW.
What few know is that he's also a tennis nut, and at times - a curmudgeon.
Here's an interview with him that gives you an idea of the man - one who doesn't suffer fools lightly.
http://www.aaa.si.edu/collections/oralhistories/transcripts/krenov04.htm
If you haven't heard of Krenov, or seen his work, you might want to check out his "official website".
http://www.jameskrenov.com /
charlie b
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When I first met up with Krenov's writing I had already been a toiler in the vineyard for a few years. Everything that I had read prior to him was about technique and tooling. It was a rare pleasure to read someone who spoke about the wood as passionately and clearly as Mr. Krenov. Between he and The Soul Of A Tree, by Mr. Nakashima, they formed my sense of what I was really working with and for.
I was not and am not an admirerer of the minimalist ethic of either of those men but their relationship with the wood informed my more traditional bent to a degree that has helped my design and construction of all the pieces done after meeting up with them.
Great men!
tom watson
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I know a guy who's bumped into him recently. Evidently, Krenov has been losing his eyesight and practically has given up doing woodworking. Shame, but boy, what an artist!
MJM
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Hmmm, interesting read. I once took part in a workshop with Krenov, around 20 yers ago, organized by the NZ woodworkers' guild, and I must admit that I had never heard of him before.
The curmudgeon thing became quite clear to me pretty soon. His passion for woodworking was obvious, but I was not particularly impressed with what I learned (which wasn't a great deal). Well, we all built a wooden plane or two, and talked some about dovetailing by hand. He showed a few slides. The whole thing had a "fawning acolytes only" feel about it. Ask a question that the master didn't encourage to be asked, and you were ignored or sneered at.
All up, I felt that I got a lot more out of meeting the other participants and talking to them. Krenov was just as bloody vague and grumpy as he was in that interview you linked to.
Whatever. I sure wasn't overly impressed by Krenov, the teacher. But then, I've never actually seen any of his work in Real Life. I know a carver around here who is grumpy and disorganized, and his life is a shambolic mess, can't give you a good reason for why he does anything he does, nor how anything he does fits together, but his work is brilliant ...
-P.
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charlieb wrote:
... snip

A number of years ago, I had the opportunity to spend time in the shop of a guy who spent several of his vacations at Krenov's mini-workshops. He would agree with your assessment, making the comment that there were some people, to whom after a few days of work during the session, Krenov would tell, "I don't think we can do anything for you here".
--
If you're going to be dumb, you better be tough

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Fair enough. Did he at least offer a partial refund?
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MikeWhy wrote:

Can't answer that, the conversation didn't go into that. Just as clarification, the Krenov comment apparently wasn't directed at lack of ability but difference of approach. Probably still not unreasonable, not all approaches match a specific design philosophy.
--
If you're going to be dumb, you better be tough

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I didn't care for the arrogance, but in fairness to Mr. Krenov, many of those questions were really stupid.
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