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The Impractical Cabinetmaker: Krenov on Composing, Making, and Detailing Paperback – February 1, 1999

4.6 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • The Impractical Cabinetmaker: Krenov on Composing, Making, and Detailing
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

James Krenov is the author of "The Fine Art of Cabinetmaking," "The Impractical Cabinetmaker," and "Worker in Wood," He directs the Cabinetmaking Program at the College of the Redwoods, one of the premier woodworking programs in the United States. He lives in Fort Bragg, California.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Linden Publishing (February 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0941936511
  • ISBN-13: 978-0941936514
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 0.4 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #425,186 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I did not know what to expect when I ordered this book I was kind of hopeing for a technical how-to guide on building cabinets.Since I was building kitchen cabinets at the time I wanted some top quality ideas and guides to build them. This book is not a step by step guide. But let me say this... this book has inspired me. Dare I say it is a spiritual guide to working with wood coupled with some solid planning and designing words of wisdom. For me it inspired me to move away from the standard straight designs and work toward more artistic and flowing furniture. Just don't buy this book thinking it is a technical how-to book on building you standard square boxes; but buy this book if you desire to build heirlooms .
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Format: Paperback
I love all of Krenov's books. One reason is their accessibility. One complaint I have with most woodworking books on technique (like Norm Abrams') is that you need so many specialized tools or machines. Krenov's books are different: he talks as much about why to do something as he talks about the how. He makes his own planes not because of cost but because he can make them better than he can buy. He encourages you to slow down, to think about what you're doing, and to enjoy the wood. I liked "The Impractical Cabinetmaker" especially for his instruction on making your own veneer, something that I've had lots of fun with over the years. His outlines of his own projects are helpful, too, to see how he goes about creating a piece. A great book that I highly recommend.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book a few years ago and I'm still reading it...or I should say re-reading it. As I progress with my woodworking skills, build some pieces, work with a different wood, etc, I find things in this book I didn't see before. There's a little bit of how-to here, but for me that's not where the real value lies. I love the philosophies of working with wood that Mr. Krenov offers -- they are worth the price of admission, and should be the reason for reading it. So my suggestion is to acquire the books you need about joinery, shaping, cabinet construction, etc., and as you go along every now and then take this book from the shelf and re-read it. Maybe not all of it, but I'm betting that as you grow in woodcraft you will react to it in a different way than you did the last time.

If all you want to do is cut out parts and fasten them together, why not get an erector set?...not so much sawdust. I agree with the reviewer who suggests that it should be required reading for every consumer as well.
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Format: Paperback
First let me say that "The Impractical Cabinetmaker" is a fantastic book. Now let me say that this new one is a ripoff by the publisher. Let me explain. This "new" book is just a reprint of the orginal published in 1979 with a little more added to the title to make you think it's a new book. Nowhere does it say in the advertising for this book that it is a reprint of the orginal. If you don't have the orginal this is a must buy for any James Krenov fan.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First of all - my rating of this book is not guided by Mr. Krenov's abilities - it is obvious he is a rare talent in the woodworking and design field...a man who has thought much about what he does and why and in so doing, has mastered his craft. The other side of the coin is that this book is not for everybody - it is heady, filled with a lifetime of introspective philosophy and covers advanced techniques the average person will never use and is nearly useless for the average woodworker who is looking for a "how to" book. Unless you are into an almost Zen like approach to woodworking or are looking for inspiration at an almost unreachable level, this book may not be for you. Is it a good read? Yes, and worth reading, no doubt. Will it help you go out to your shop the day after you read it and actually do something you gleaned out of it? Probably not. This book CAN be depressing. On the other hand, it will most assuredly open your mind to a rare and beautiful area of woodworking that to this point may have escaped you. Read it, enjoy it, it may inspire you to do better work or at least make you wish you could. His creations are beautiful. At the very least, you will come away with a certain amount of awe at what a dedicated, thoughtful and talented man can do with rather simple tools :)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Definitely good for a seasoned carpenter. Newbies wanting to get instructions should choose another book of his or other woodworker. For the person who want to go within in order to produce fine work .. this was highly recommended.
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By John on September 24, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I ordered and have read most/all of the Krenov books. There is a certain sense of developing an understanding of what it means to adopt woodworking even if Krenov's opinions do not match my own all the time. For me, I think the experience of reading his thoughts provided some better understanding of why I enjoy woodworking and what it means to me. I think it also emphasizes the importance of keeping it simple. The photos and diagrams are a little ..... okay, they suck. But I could still get the essence of what he was saying and get the ideas. This is a purchase that is more "spirit of woodworking". I got what I wanted. It is a book that will get you to discover a bit more of what you want from woodworking and what you like.
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