After reading napaman’s blog in which he was looking for woodworking books, I noted a number of comments about James Krenov. I was saddened to note that he had passed away. I had not realized that.
In reflecting a bit on the books of his that I have read and enjoyed for their approach to wood & woodworking, I thought about a conversation I had with him a number of months ago, and how that few minutes had more of an impact than all the books.
Here’s what happened. After reading an article in a back issue of “Fine Woodworking” mag, featuring Mr. Krenov, I went on line to see what other things I might learn about his works. I ended up on a site that appeared to be his site & noted a “contact Mr Krenov” link. It had a telephone number. I figured that it would be the number to a recording, or to some type of comercial link, but it wasn’t.
I called the number and a woman (who sounded somewhat elderly) answered with simply “hello”. I was a bit surprised at this because it sounded like I had reached his home which I wouldn’t have expected, & asked if I might speak with Mr. Krenov. She said, “hold on, I’ll get him”. After a moment, Mr Krenov said hello. I was blown away.
Of course I spent the first few minutes telling him how much I liked his works…both in wood & in print, and then we simply chatted…almost like we had known each other for years. It was amazing. He struck me as a man with a gentle spirit who was very much at peace in his world. He mentioned that his loss of sight kept him from doing what he loved, but he didn’t sound sad in saying it.
I came away from that conversation with a reinforced feeling of why I enjoy some of the more philosophical aspects of woodworking. Oh, I still like to just play with tools and make sawdust, but every now & then I think back on that conversation and I just feel good.
I am saddened by his passing, and glad I had an opportunity to have that conversation. -SST
-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you