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The Fine Art of Cabinetmaking Paperback – May 28, 2007


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The Fine Art of Cabinetmaking + A Cabinetmaker's Notebook (Woodworker's Library) + The Soul of a Tree: A Master Woodworkers Reflections
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Linden Publishing (May 28, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933502096
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933502090
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.4 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #203,352 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

James Krenov is the founder and director of the fine woodworking program at the College of the Redwoods in California. He is the author of five books, including ""Cabinetmakers Notebook,"" ""Impractical Cabinetmaker,"" and ""With Wakened Hands."" He lives in Fort Bragg, California.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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I have technical books, written well, and some poorly.
Thomas( Doc Savage 45)
A book that will have you eyeing potential lumber completely differently, and making yourself take the time to get things right.
Marc Ruby™
I really think, though, that these books should be on every woodworker's shelf.
Dennis Mitton

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

78 of 79 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 8, 1998
Format: Paperback
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.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By M. Emme on October 14, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book gave me a few problems. Let me start off that I find the work of Mr Krenov to be some of the finest in the world of cabinetmaking. The trick is that this book spent a lot of time going over material that has been done other places better. The sections on shop tools, sharpening and how to do dovetails did not add much to the book and has been covered better in many other books. The section that talked about handmade planes was an interesting read, and in my opinion could have been expanded to give much more. The high points of the book are the "Details of Cabinetmaking" section and an earlier section that goes over the aesthetics of wood grain in the context of design. This gets you into the head of Mr Krenov a bit. The problem is that it is all too short. I think this book could have cut out a lot of stuff and expanded its section of the design and construction much more. Even though I kind of sound negative, I like the book for what it is and find it helpful when I design and put together a cabinet.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Marc Ruby™ HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on May 25, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
James Krenov is one of woodworking's treasures - an acknowledged master craftsman who is open about both his aesthetics and his techniques. For many of us he is a role model who started out on a shoe string in Sweden and has gone on to create a whole style all his own. He is as devoted to teaching as he is to his work and has a gift for inspiration and straightforward exposition.

Unlike A Cabinet Maker's Notebook, The Fine Art of Cabinet Making spends most of its time talking about technique. The first 50 pages is a vast, rambling essay on wood and how to relate to it. His point, an important on, is that the process of selecting and using wood is every bit as important and any other creative process. If you pay attention you will get a deep dive into the way Krenov's designs come to be - a whole new level beyond buying some dimensioned lumber and whipping up a cabinet.

Then he introduces you to his workshop and tools. Krenov actually does use power tools, but sparingly. Many of us have been taught to value the clean, sharp edged work that a modern power woodshop can produce. Krenov is just the opposite, to him the marks of craftsmanship are part of the harmony of the work. Krenov makes his own planes, and spends a great deal of time explaining how to do the same yourself. I have to admit I'm quite happy with my Lie-Nielson's, but one has to admire the intensity of a man who wants everything 'just so.'

The remainder of the book covers details of Krenov's cabinetmaking, and it is here that you discover the extent of his quality. Whether it be dovetails, delicately curved doors, or cabinet backs, Krenov never settles for less than the best he can do.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By CadmiumB@aol.com on January 15, 1998
Format: Paperback
this is not a "how to" book of woodworking, you will find no blue prints or schematicts. this book is however, highly informative and illuminating. Krenov speaks of his strong feelings for the craft and the nature and spirit of the wood itself. His reflections are inspring and reach beyond woodworking as mearly a means to an end. This book is good reading for both the novice and the expert of crafts. I highly recommend it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Pop's Shop on September 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book is inspiring if you are looking for something to motivate you in a purist woodworking way. It is not necessarily a how to book, but more of a how to approach woodworking, written in the "old school" philosophy of a master crafstman. Hence the title... "The Fine Art of... " The version of the book I have is from the 70's complete with all black and white pictures. I probably got more out of this book than others in my woodworking libray of the more expensive glossy fluff books put out by many of the current publishers looking to catch your pocket book with eye candy. There is substance to this book and not fluff. It is not a step by step guide (for the most part).
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