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Nine-Month Fine Woodworking Program


First Year

During the nine-month program, we consider wood and the worker’s relationship to it. We study its richness, variety, and working properties, and the ways in which these qualities can relate to the cabinetmaker’s task.

We examine refinements in the making and use of hand tools, with the aim of developing your sensitivity to (and enjoyment of) surfaces, joinery, and the personal touches which make each piece a unique and personal expression of the individual.

Our aim is to dispel some of the misconceptions caused by generalities with regard to fine wood and tools. We try to “go into” our material, discovering its richness when worked with finely tuned tools and sensitive, intimate methods. Though machine tools are not neglected, we emphasize the hand, eye, and workbench.

The First Semester

The first part of the course involves the performance of a variety of exercises in the classic techniques of cabinetry and joinery: dovetailing, mortise-and-tenon, doweling, frame and panel construction, coopering, and drawer construction and fitting, as well as the aesthetic and practical design of cabinet and furniture construction

During this period, you will study the making and sensitive use of a cabinetmaker’s hand-tools, such as fine planes and chisels, and the ways in which a caring craftsworker can “tune” these essential instruments.

To conclude the first part, you will complete a first project-a smallish chest or cabinet incorporating a number of the techniques which you have learned. Throughout this part (and throughout the entire course), you will receive regular, formal critiques and a great deal of individual instruction and attention.

The Second Semester

The second part of the course consists of a study of more advanced techniques: the making and use of sawn veneers, joinery at angles other than 90°, and techniques of joining glass and wood. You will then be free to undertake a more involved project of your own design, developed in consultation with the staff.

As this sequence suggests, we view the process of learning the fine art of cabinetmaking as an “upward spiral,” in which the cabinetmaker is constantly refining techniques previously learned-an effort with no end, as such, whose goal is excellence in all aspects of the craft.

Thus, the process of learning, testing, and evaluating occurs continuously throughout the course. From the first exercise to the last project, all work is intended to encourage patience and flexibility of methods, to enrich and refine hand skills and clarity of vision, and to foster the integrity implicit in the term fine woodworking.


Intended for students with a strong vocational interest in the field of cabinetry and furniture making, the program requires a minimum of 48 hours a week. Program hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday. All students are expected to attend during this time. Evening hours are available, though not required, at the discretion of the staff.

Second Year

For some students who attend our nine month program there can be is a desire to continue learning in our unique environment. We offer an opportunity for a few of them to spend an additional year here at the Krenov School. A maximum of 6 students are selected each spring  to become our ‘second years’. They must apply for this much like the first year application. As the first year proceeds, discussions of the second year will occur and you will gain more information about the process of applying then.

During your second year, you will not have any formal exercises like the first year, but will have a bench as well as access to the facilities and staff. It is an opportunity to take on more complex work, gain confidence, improve your skills, explore new ideas, and most importantly set a standard for the incoming class to aspire to.

We have always felt the learning in our course comes as much from each other as from the staff, and the second year students play a large role in passing on the traditions in terms of quality work and woodshop ethics.

As you plan your education here it is something to consider thoroughly. Like our nine month program it often only appeals to a select few.