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Krenov's famous cabinetmaking techniques layed bare
on 9 July 1998
This, Krenov's second book (1976), is the book that they still want you to have when you show up at the College of the Redwoods for Krenov's course. The book is devided into three parts: wood, tools and the shop, and cabinetmaking techniques. It sets out his techniques for mortice and tenon joints, dovetails, HANDPLANE CONSTRUCTION, and much more. The handplane section was so influential that several courses are taught on this subject alone, accross the country.
This book is indispensible for the serious woodworker. That said it is just a little dated since obviously a lot has changed in twenty plus years. Krenov labours close to the soul of cabinetaking, however, and a lot less has changed there than elsewhere. An obvious change is that Krenov's essential few power tools are now much cheapper to buy than they then were. But modern workers will probably assume that he now sharpens his tools with waterstones. Not so! As he recently revealed in a national magazine, and his reasoning is as sound as ever.
At a deeper level perhaps, the craft has become dominated by projects and production on the one hand, and arty self-congratulatory stuff on the other. In the old days there was another path that of extrodinary quality, and technical virtuosity. Few follow this path today due to cost, a skills shortage, and some lessened desire to have furniture which belongs in the boudoir of the Sun King. Krenov is one of the few who has written about another way.
This book is the most how-to of his essential trilogy. If that turns you on, try the Impractical Cabinetaker next, lots more "project" tips. If you like his philosophy of craft try The Cabinetaker's Notebook.