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October 25, 2009

A James Krenov Plane

James Krenov has died. I don't know how I missed the notification, but I just heard about it this week and I found it deeply saddening. James Krenov Krenov was able to write down his ideas about woodworking as evidenced in his work and his thoughts have endured for many years. So many people in the hobby have been influenced by his work and his writings. All of us aspire to his standard of excellence and wish we had his design sense.

For an idea about what this is really all about, consider this image of a lovely little 12" x 18" storage box that appeared in an out-of-print book. The King of Sweden collected little ceramic pieces and needed a box to store them. This one works just fine, thank you very much.

James KrenovThe scale of his pieces is what is amazing. Should you buy the books still in print, look carefully at the size of the pieces and you will realize that bigger is not necessarily better.

Last year I was surfing the net and happened on Krenov's web site. At the time he had stopped making his iconic pieces because of failing eyesight, but continued to offer planes for sale. I bought one. I think I paid $300 for it after several e-mails back and forth with his wife. After they shipped it to me, I looked at it briefly but needed to set it aside because of some illness in my family.

After hearing of his death, I looked for and found the plane I had bought from him last year. Look at his initials on the front of it. I thought he had put the blue masking tape around the throat and blade simply to keep the pieces in place for shipping, and I debated whether to take the tape off. Finally I did take it off and lo and behold, the throat was full of the most beautifully delicate shavings. Shavings put there by the master. I left them there and I don't know if I will ever take them out...

James Krenov

October 9, 2009

My Woodworking Book Collection

Kari Hultman over at "The Village Carpenter", my other favorite blogger, (besides me of course, who'd you think?) posted pictures of her woodworking library the other day. She has quite a collection of books, more than I do, I'm afraid, but with her kind permission, I stole her idea. Here are my books:

woodworkingI buy books for three reasons. First is to find out how to do something, the most basic reason. When there are few people to ask about some arcane little bit of work, then books are the way to go. Sometimes I buy the book after a class because it keeps me from having to take notes in the class, and it is good for reviewing something I may have missed.

The second reason is vicarious enjoyment of the hobby. There are times when I think I want to start a new phase in my woodworking career by trying something totally new. My standard practice is to buy a book on the subject and after I read the book I can decide if I really want to go buy the tools and devote the time it takes to learn something new. Most of the time, I let the book make up my mind and decide that the vicarious lift from the book will serve my purposes. You may even be able to save a lot of money on tools that way. Best examples so far are the books on violin making and boat building, though I must say the boat dream endures.

woodworkingThe third reason is a peculiar one for me. I buy books, movies and videos because I want to encourage creative people to keep doing stuff I enjoy and I think they should be rewarded for what they do. I have been known to see a movie in the theatre and then buy it on video simply to encourage the creators. Maybe if we all did the same thing we could end up with better stuff all around.


My favorite book in all this: Well, how can you beat Krenov? The details in his work are amazing and then all of a sudden you grasp the scale of those beautiful pieces and it kind of makes you wonder if you should just give up the hobby because you think you will never get there.

The other best one has got to be Tage Frid's series on woodworking. Volume one is the book lying open on my workbench whenever I am trying something new. And not to put myself in the same class as those guys, how can I pass up my own book on nail pulling? woodworking

You will enjoy all of these books. Click over to the High and look at their collection of over a thousand books for sale.


I realized after I took the pictures that I had left out one of my favorite woodworking books. I have a copy of the original non-Disney "Pinocchio" by Carlo Collodi. How can you beat that for high skill wood working?

Feel free to post a comment on this blog entry and let me know some of your favorites.

October 7, 2009

Festool Drill Now $400, THE LAST DRILL You'll Ever Need to Buy

T12a.jpg Festool has repackaged their new 12+3 and 15+3 lithium-ion powered cordless drills making them a bit easier to afford. Previously each model came with 4 different drill chucks. Now each drill comes with 2 standard Fastfix chucks: the 1/2" drill chuck and the Festool Centrotec chuck. The right-angle chuck and the eccentric chuck are available as optional accessories.

Both Festool drill models still include two high-efficiency lithium-ion batteries, smart charger, advanced electronic clutch, 3-year warranty and stackable Festool Systainer. The Festool T12+3 sells for $400. The Festool T15+3 sells for $450.

• The Festool drill's extreme light weight (thanks to the lithium battery) means less operator fatigue.

• The exclusive Fastfix chucking system allows each drill to perform the function of several different drills.

• The Festool drill's second generation brushless motor is electronically protected against burnout and maintains constant power regardless of load or speed.


• Tests have shown the Festool T+3 drills outperform the competitions' 15 and 18 volt drills. You can literally drive more than 1,000,000 screws with one of these drills. Built to last a lifetime, it is literally the last drill you will ever need to buy.