Sunday, February 9, 2014

A conversation with James Krenov's daughter

James Krenov is pictured here as a child in Alaska, floating one of the toy boats that launched his woodworking endeavors.
On Friday night I was selling tickets and helping manage the food table at the formal reception for our College of the Redwoods fine woodworking winter exhibition.
It was packed with people and the event seemed to be a big success.
A lady was purchasing a ticket from me, and while filling it out, she joked “with a last name like mine, I should have a good shot at winning, right?” Not surprisingly, her name was Krenov. It was Tina, Jim’s daughter, making her annual visit to check up on her dad’s legacy.
‘Which piece is yours?’ she asked me.
‘It’s the mahogany pipe cabinet with the spalted live-edge panels,’ I replied. And then I paused for a second. ‘Actually... do you want to hear a story about it?’
So I told her how I had inherited my grandfather’s pipes years ago, and had always wanted to build a cabinet to display them. A couple of years ago, when I finally got serious about doing it, I started doing some research. One of the books I came across was James Krenov’s ‘A Cabinet-Maker’s Notebook.’
I’ve written about this book before and about the huge influence it had on my decision to come to the College of the Redwoods.
Well, in that book among the examples of JK’s work, was a pipe cabinet he had built for a client out of English brown oak.
When I eventually applied to CR, got in, and started considering what my first project would be, it just seemed right to decide to finally build the pipe cabinet, as inspired by Krenov himself.
I felt a little silly about blabbing so much of my story to a stranger, but she seemed genuinely glad to have heard the story, and I was glad I got to share.
The end.

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