Krenov on David Marks

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I saw a new episode (WWK-707) of Wood Works last night, where David Marks visits and interviews James Krenov and Art Carpenter.
Wow! What living treasures!
And boy, do I love my TiVo! :-)
Kevin
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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 thinking?)
Somebody 'splain it to me.
Dick Durbin
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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.
Kevin
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wrote:

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.
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wrote:

This is what the manufacturers are doing now!!!!!

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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
http://therockerfeller.com/burlygirl.html
the artistry of one of our wreck members. If you like Krenov, you'll surely enjoy this site.
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That brings to mind Maloof rather than Krenov.
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on 5/17/2005 2:49 PM Olebiker said the following:

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?
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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:

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in

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 thing?
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?
Dan
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What? You don't appreciate a fine piece of aluminum? :)
Nahm sometimes uses good wood, but

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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 :)
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Olebiker wrote:

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 exception.
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 .. .
charlie b
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exceptionally well - all of their adult life - I get a buzz - Gary Knox Bennett (sp?) being an exception.
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.
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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 that category.
Patriarch
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Olebiker wrote:

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
charlie b

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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.
Rick http://www.thunderworksinc.com
Olebiker wrote:

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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?
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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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Kevin Craig wrote:

I hope it's on my TiVo for when I get home tonight.
--
Odinn
RCOS #7
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