I know I may be really stepping into it, but what is it that impresses
folks about Krenov? I mean, how many variations on those trinket
cabinets can a guy make? What is it that people like about them
anyway. The legs are out of scale with the box and the
clunky-looking-thicker-at-the-bottom design of the legs reminds me too
much of my old bell bottoms I wore back in the 70s. (What were we
Somebody 'splain it to me.
His style of furniture is not the kind of thing I'd have in my house,
but what impresses me is the same thing that impresses me about Marks:
it's all about the wood. He understands it, sees its depth, and knows
what it has to potential to be. He starts with the wood, and creates a
design from there.
That's what I don't like about Nahm. Nahm sometimes uses good wood, but
me might as well be machining his projects out of plastic or aluminum.
I hear you.
Which is why I never understand the whole effort to find some old, authentic
wood and then paint it. Leave some of that good wood for guys who
appreciate the wood and want to show it off with a good finish. If all you
are going to do is cover your project with layers of thick paint, you might
as well make it from MDF.
on 5/17/2005 1:17 PM Kevin Craig said the following:
They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. As Kevin says you
may not like the furniture in your house (or then again you might) but
as you look at it... what he does with it is something special.
Speaking of which, take a look at
the artistry of one of our wreck members. If you like Krenov, you'll
surely enjoy this site.
My bad, forgive a senior moment, (Pounding head on teak desk!) I really
WAS unquestionably confusedm wasn't I?
Reading Krenov in the post and thinking Maloof. WTF?
Nonetheless, beautiful work by Jamie, is it not?
Gee guys, kinda nice seeing my site mentioned without me prodding anyone
to slip it in their posting. I learned the chairmaking from a guy who
learned from Malo*f. I have changed a few things that make them a
little more comfortable and hopefully are not copies of his chairs
anymore. They also don't cost $30,000 ;*).
Unquestionably Confused wrote:
Okay, I gotta ask. Assuming you don't send the wood sailing through the
bandsaw at odd angles like Maloof did, how are you accomplishing the same
I remember seeing in the video how he cut the seat pieces at slight angles
to get the rough seat shape. One of those great ideas I never thought of
but seems quite logical now that I've seen it. :_)
But can I assume you're using things like a powered carving tool and
travisher to shape the seat?
IMO, what's great about him is not so much of Krenov as a style as to
Krenov as a person. I read a book about his school at the College of
the Redwoods and the works of his students. And I have a feeling that
he's the one who can really bring out the hidden talents of these folks
and make them shine on their designs.
But that's my guess. It'd be nice to meet him in person and see if this
is the case or not :)
Probably spittin' in the wind but here goes
First, when I discover anyone who gets to do what
they have a passion for and love to do AND do it
exceptionally well - all of their adult life - I
get a buzz - Gary Knox Bennett (sp?) being an
Mr. Krenov does a few, relatively speaking, things
as perfect as is humanly possible. The results may,
at first glance, appear to be very simple and straight
foreward - until you look a little closer AND have a
good idea of the skills and sensitivity required to make
the piece from that particular wood, using that
particular joinery done just so, choose those edge
treatments, nobs, pulls and latches so they all go together
and work just the way they're supposed to - without
drawing attention to anyone thing, picking the finish that
goes with the whole . . .
Because his pieces are so "simple" there's no place
to hide errors. If the parts don't fit perfectly it's
obvious - no trim or molding to cover up gaps,
no way to hide a slip of the chisel or plane. No
way to disguise the fact that a door or drawer is
off - even just a little. Even his edge treatments
flow together flawlessly. His stuff is "just so" -
not absolutely perfect, but close enough to be
well beyond "close enough".
There's a quality to the sound of a wood on wood latch
clicking shut that a metal bullet catch doesn't have.
While Blumm/Euro hinges are easier to install and
work fine - for kitchen cabinets, knife hinges, though
more difficult to install properly are less distracting
while still very functional. A glued stopped dado is
functional, but a stopped sliding dovetail stronger
and more easily removed should that be necessary
sometime down the road.
I guess it gets back to which is more valuable, the
finished piece or the part of the journey it reminds
us of or lets us share.
I'm a tool freak and have lots of tools. But my most
valued tool is an old mallet I picked up at an estate
sale of a neighbor. He'd made that mallet himself
a long time ago and used it often. It does it's job
well and every time I use it I get the feeling the
old guy is smiling as he hears it tap a part in place
or whacks a part hard to drive it home. The Old
Guy made a nice tool and the more ways I use it
the more I appreciate this thing he made.
It's an intangible thing I guess.
I see a fine bonsai tree and I see both the full sized
tree, with evidence of its life's experiences, and I
appreciate the bonsai artist who was able to work
with the little tree to help it do what it does.
Krenov's stuff is like that - for me. For others .. .
exceptionally well - all of their adult life - I
get a buzz - Gary Knox Bennett (sp?) being an
I'm curious. What is it about Gary Knox Bennett that bothers you? I
ask this because, in spite of his skill as a woodworker, his
preoccupation with juvenile, obscene language and sexual subject matter
really turns me off.
Wow! Another stereotype whacked upside the head! I didn't expect that
post from a fellow with the handle Olebiker. Sorry.
Now, to your comment: Your reasons are a good start. GNB's start in the
drug paraphenalia business doesn't sit too well with me, either.
Cranky old guys, I can deal with. In fact, lots of my friends fall into
He wastes wonderful wood. Other than the cabinet that
got all the attention - the one he drove a nail into -
and couldn't even do that right cause he bent the nail -
his stuff could just as well been made from glued up
MDF, styrofoam or ply - often construction grade
would do - with a little taping compound if he wanted
a smooth surface.
He's too "cute" - a ladder back chair with an actual
ladder for the back.
He wastes his considerable skills (he can do all the
joinery your can think of and many you'd never
think of) by misusing them. I'm thinking of a
big ugly clunky "desk" with "tusked" through tenons.
And if you want to jerk peoples' chains to become
a celebrity, well Salvador Dali did it a lot better.
He and Chihooli (sp?) - the glass blower who
doesn't blow glass anymore - he "directs" -
are the anithisis of what I think of as an "artist"
or a true "craftsman/craftswoan/craftsperson".
Other than that he's OK
I like most of Krenov's work - not all, but most. But what I like
totally in his work is how it reflects who he is as a person, a
craftsperson, an observant human . . .I had the privilege of taking a
two week course from him in Maine 5 or 6 years ago. He is generous with
his expertise, kind to those less skilled, accepting of other visions.
Is he opinionated . . yes! Does his work reflect a singular point of
view . . .yes! Is it all perfect . . . no! Will everyone respond to his
work positively. . . . well, obviously not. But it is impossible, for me
at least, to not feel that his life is reflective of a certain type of
integrity, passion, and committment that I find highly admirable.
I find Chippendale, Federal, Queen Anne, pucky ducks uninteresting . . .
but that's just me. It's reflective of my taste and style . . .
I'm not trying to be a wise-ass. Like or not like Krenov's esthetic, I
truly believe that if you read his books carefully however, you will
respect his life's work. Krenov is about work, ethics, sensitivity to
design and effort. He has profoundly affected by life and work.
Not everyone likes every style. I don't like a lot of what Kreonv makes for
the reasons you state. OTOH, the workmanship is excellent. Style aside, you
have to admire the quality of the work, the skill, the thought process.
But that is why Baskin & Robbins has 31 flavors. I still like vanilla,
myself. Didn't bell bottoms try to make a comeback a few years ago?
I had an opportunity to see Krenov along with a number of other well
known makers at an exhibition at the Boston MFA last year. The museum
has a large collection of early American furniture which we also
viewed. At roughly the same time frame we went to a John and Thomas
Seymour exhibit at PEM in Salem Ma. I have visited a number of Shaker
museums(Ok I'm retired so I have time to do this) along with other
exhibits contain some Maloof, Nakashima, Frank Lloyd Wright, Art Deco
Furniture (A real surprise that I enjoyed the Art Deco so much) and
many others. One problem with seeing these at an exhibit is that the
really bad or common stuff which also exists is weeded out so that you
are looking at the best of a particular class of furniture.
It is probably unfair to draw a judgment on seeing one or two pieces
live but I was very disappointed in Krenov. The craftsmanship was
excellent but viewed at the same time as other well made pieces and
compared to the early American I was under whelmed.
I have seen many pictures of his work and it reminds me of an old joke
about the classical composer Antonio Vivaldi. Some critic wrote that
he didn't write 200 concertos but that he wrote one concerto 200
times. I don't remember the exact number but you get the idea.
I never meet him but from what I read he is a wonderful person and
educator and has probably had a great effect on a number of his
students. As I look back on people who had the most positive influence
on me I realize that some of them were not as knowledgeable or
technically competent as I once though they were but they all have
that wonderful ability to teach and guide you to do your best work. I
would guess Krenov fits this category which is why he is so well
thought of. Personally, I don't think it's do to the design of his own
work, which, without the craftsmanship evolved might have trouble
standing on its own.
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