Learn About Our School

About James Krenov


James Krenov was the founder of the College of the Redwoods Fine Furniture Program. What follows is an introduction he wrote to the students June 12, 1997:

I’m happy that you’ve looked us up and are interested in what we are doing. We’re not a new school, we just finished our 16th year, and have managed to gain a reputation for honest and conscientious woodworking.

We are a community college accepting students with varying degrees of experience. Our course is organized, but very relaxed. Because the students all have the same beginning point, that is, wanting to be here, we discover that there’s a wonderful comradeship and feeling among them; they share a lot.

We try to demystify the process of working wood; we simplify it. We concentrate on the logic and the simple physical and mental relationships in any given process. From the very beginning we work with people, leading them to the realization that wood is a vastly rich material and that different kinds of wood call for different methods of working. Wood also has colors, patterns, and textures that can fit into the work. We help people discover the graphics of wood, and that any shape or proportion can be given additional life through proper use of the wood, whether it’s in a cabinet or a something as sculptural as a chair.

We hope that in viewing what we are offering here, you will pay attention to the details, notice the results, and come to realize that if one cares enough, if one pays enough attention to the richness of wood, to the tools, to the marvel of one’s own hands and eye, all these things come together so that a person’s work becomes that person; that person’s message.

In this work, in these details, in these elements, something of a person is included. Their fingerprints or their sense of proportion, line, and detail are there; and what you’re experiencing is something very personal from each of these people: something that they’ve put their heart and soul into.

And we hope some of their enjoyment shows, too.


Graduate Brendan Bernhardt Gaffney (2014) has written a wonderfully well-researched and illustrated biography of Krenov, published by Lost Art Press, James Krenov: Leave Fingerprints.

The Krenov Foundation, founded in 2014 to support the craft of woodworking and to maintain the legacy of Krenov, now has website that has much of Krenov’s work and history available for viewing.


Many people have asked how they could express their appreciation of James Krenov, his work, and his ideals.

Donations can be made to The Krenov School to be used either for scholarships or to aid in funding our program.

Checks may be made out to the Mendocino College and mailed to:

The Krenov School
440 Alger Street
Fort Bragg, CA 95437

Please designate how you would like the money to be used, either for scholarships or for general operations.