on 5 October 2008
This is probably the most honest and well expressed book on the nature of craftsmanship from a personal perspective ever written. It is written almost entirely without ego and if you are willing to read between the lines it will change your life as a craftman. It's central message is don't fight the wood but work with it.
I have been a full time cabinetmaker for twelve years, four of which have been spent setting up and running my own shop. I was recommended this book by a very well known cabinetmaker and antique restorer as a must read.
If you are after a technical manual this is not the book for you but if you are looking for a book that will change your perspective as a craftsman and enhance your enjoyment of the art, this is it!
Some may not approve of the black and white images, however I cannot see James Krenov using black and white imagery if there wasn't a reason for doing so - It highlights form, grain direction and prevents distraction from the text and central message of the prose.
A must have for the experienced cabinetmaker - you will read and re-read it.
on 22 July 2003
This is a book on woodwork unlike any other that I have read. There are a great deal of good books explaining the mechanics of woodwork, but here Mr Krenov takes quite a different approach. A quote on the cover informs us that this is not a "how to" but a "why to", but here I would disagree. It is a "how to", and one from someone that imposes very rigorous standards on his own work, but it is far more about aproach, attitudes and style, rather than how to cut a joint, or plane a board. Heavily focused on hand rather than machine methods, Mr Krenov tries to explain his own personal approach to producing real quality.
Whilst perhaps not a book for someone who doesn't already know at least something about woodwork, it can certainly be an inspirational change for those who are already familiar with the "cut this with this machine, sand that with that machine" durge of information.
A lovely little book from a real craftsman, only slightly let down by the mainly black and white images.
on 21 November 2004
Whenever I'm starting a new project, or feeling a bit bogged down with a part finished piece I turn to this book. Krenov writes about his love of timber, his attitude to making furniture for money and the pleasure in using good tools in such a reflective and inspiring way that I can't fail to be energised and itching to get back into the workshop.