In interviews with contemporary woodworkers James Krenov’s first book ‘A Cabinetmaker Notebook’ is often cited as the book that changed the course of that person’s life and led to them pursuing a career with wood.
The book is a meditation on Krenov’s approach to his work. It describes a sensitive and considered approach to the design and construction of several pieces with a friendly conversational tone.

I stand at my workbench. Shavings curl from the plane in my hands, swish-and-slide, as I rock to the motion of work….a feeling of contentment. Nothing is wrong. Here am I, here is my work;

Many beautiful black and white photos illustrate the text and highlight Krenov’s attention to detail and vision for the overall effect a piece will have on those who view and use it.

It is not a book that contains detailed instructions for making specific items, rather it seeks to instil in the reader an appreciation of working with sensitivity for the materials and the emergent design. He went on to write several more books that contained more detail of his methods and how to construct his signature wooden planes.

All of his book are worth reading, as are those of some of his students including Peter Korn and David Finck.

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