Robert Van Norman, Resident Craftsman & Teacher
“He came on his bicycle, with the chair nearly finished, he had not yet decided on the back piece. He turned my shop into a disaster area. He would keep sawing blanks for the back piece. And he would put one in and he would draw on his pipe. He had a low voice and a calm way, he’d look back at that back piece and say “Ya, well, maybe, what would happen if we turn it upside down?” and we’d turn it upside down and now that wouldn’t work. And then he’d saw another one and the clock was going around and around.
It was one o’clock and two o’clock and finally he put a piece in there. He looked at it and then he went over to the bandsaw and he took a little bit here and a little bit there and he put it in there and he backed off and he said “Ya, well maybe it’s better that way.” and that was the back piece for the chair, the way it is now and forever. And it is not to my credit but the only thing that I cherish is the memory because he did not live after that. People like it it is a very comfortable chair, I am sitting in one of them right now talking to you. The prototype was finished in Jim Krenov’s shop and that he and Vidar were very close friends. That’s nice for people to remember. It was around 1970.”
– James Krenov
I just thought that you might enjoy a few pictures of a little box I made for my son and his partner. The Chinese character pierce carvings mean ‘new life’. The box is made of narra and was a delight to work. While I enjoyed all aspects of making it, I would have to say the most enjoyable was easing the edges on the bottom of the tray with one of my fine knives. I have now turned my attention to a cabinet on a stand in balsamo and doussie. Be well and enjoy your work. I know I am.
I brought the kwila with me back from California, with the intention of making a rocking chair. Unfortunately, mottled grain did not lend itself for a chair but it worked well for a sewing table for our daughter.
The mottled grain runs diagonally across the top and down on the drawer fronts and on two of the of the legs. The drawer is of narra and kauri pine.
The Nicaraguan cocobolo was intended for making planes, but was unusually soft and worked beautifully with my planes and chisels. The box was a commission to hold letters from a clients father, sent during the war.
The Tasmanian blackwood has been with me for several years and the Port Orford cedar was a gift from one of our alumni.
A gift for my soul mate, in recognition of her support of pursuing my dreams and finding my way. It lives in our home across the room from Jim’s cabinet made the same year. It has developed a wonderful amber patina.
Filled with gentle curves and compound angled joinery. The centre frame was a particular challenge. The teak was a beautiful to work and provided almost imperceptible joints in the tapered laminations.