The Big Think

September 17, 2009

James Krenov 1920-2009

Filed under: Woodworking — jasony @ 9:55 am

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American/Swedish woodworking legend James Krenov passed away yesterday at the age of 79. Krenov is responsible for some of the most influential woodworking design of the 20th century. Along with Sam Maloof, the woodworking world has lost two irreplaceable giants this year.

Krenov’s unique style may not appeal to everyone, but his philosophy of working with the wood instead of against it inspired many woodworkers (including me) to really pay attention to the wood grain and color. I picked up his book With Wakened Hands a few years ago and it opened my eyes to areas of design I never knew existed.

Krenov’s work is very distinctive and some would say spare. He didn’t stray very far from his famous “Krenov cabinet”, but that just allowed him to spend a lifetime perfecting this beautiful design. Like good Japanese calligraphy that espouses the philosophy of just enough, Krenov’s cabinets compliment the wood in a balance of color, line, and grain that borders on perfection. He was an artist that knew how to work in his style very, very well, and he will be missed.

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More examples of Krenov’s beautiful work are here.

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