Sunday, May 5, 2013

Krenov Comments - Part 2

What makes a master craftsman decide what they want to build and how they’ll go about doing it?

"Most of the work I do is fairly small. This is partly because to me wood is precious, and very often I have planks with parts that contain something that interests me and may lead to a certain piece being made. Also, my shop is small, with rather unprofessional equipment; it is difficult for me to join and surface wide stock. And finally, by my nature I have a tendency toward detailed work; there is a dimension beyond which I feel I will accomplish less rather than more."  - James Krenov

While looking at Old Jim’s lifetime of work, one might never consider that he made decisions about the pieces he built based on the size of his shop or the quality of his tools.  While he does state that he prefers detailed work, he eludes that working in a small shop with modest tools does impose some limiting factors.  He just chose to not let those things limit his enjoyment and advancement of his craft.
I don’t think anyone could look at JK’s work and imagine that he suffered any “shop limitations” with “rather unprofessional equipment”… yet there he was, humbly happy in his own environment, making the enormous contributions he has via his vision and his hard won skill.

Does this look like the work of someone held back by not having a massive shop or the latest and greatest collection of tools?  I would be remiss to not confess that I would happily move into a spacious shop equipped with the hottest new tools, but the fact remains…none of us should be limited by the accessibility of these things.  Many of the masters that we admire so much started at a very stark beginning, working with humble tools and materials for pleasure of the craft and with a hope to learn something new with each and every task…oh, and maybe to feed their families!