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We like to attach significance to arbitrary dates; “Best of the Year” or “Best of the Decade” lists appear everywhere. It’s a good chance to reflect, but real life happens at random. Earlier this year we experienced the loss of two woodworking icons known to most American woodworkers, Sam Maloof and James Krenov. Less well-known on this side of the Atlantic, but equal in stature, was British woodworker Alan Peters. Peters revised and updated the classic text “Encyclopedia of Furnituremaking.” The influence of each of these men is great, and the combined influence on woodworkers who followed them is incredible.


It’s safe to say that 2009 will be remembered as the year the men who led the revitalization of woodworking as a craft went on to better things. We never wrote about Alan Peters in Popular Woodworking, but we have written many times over the years about Maloof and Krenov. The links that follow will take you to the things we published about them.

It’s also safe to say that you’ll see more in our pages about these men. It may not be specifically about them, it will likely be in the form of a nicely planed surface, a subtle curve or a well-made joint. These men are important for their own work, but more important is the way that bits of them will continue to show in the rest of us. Thank you gentlemen for teaching us about craftsmanship.

For an article about a Maloof table originally published in Pacific Woodworker (the predecessor of Popular Woodworking) click here.

For an interview with Sam Maloof originally published in Pacific Woodworker click here.

To read John Eckonomaki’s tribute to Sam Maloof from the December 2009 issue of Popular Woodworking click here.

To read about a visit to the shop of Sam Maloof, click here.

To read Ron Hock’s tribute to James Krenov from the December 2009 issue of Popular Woodworking, click here.

To read an article about the College of the Redwoods, the school founded by James Krenov, click here.

Leave a comment below to share how these men have influenced you.

Robert W. Lang

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Showing 4 comments
  • Stephen

    I have admired work from both of these people and still do.
    I don’t think this is the end of an era, I think these are great people in what they gave us but have lead us into an era in woodworking and design that is much richer and rewarding. Have opened they eyes and imaginations of many that will lead to more leaders to take us to the next, dare I say, Renaissance.
    Yes it is sad that these greats have passed but look at what they left. Other times got Davinci and so on and we were not short changed either.

  • GLY

    Don’t forget that we also lost the last of Barnsley line, Allan Peters, which I would rank just as high as Maloof and Krenov, but probably not as well known.


  • Ron Hock

    There have been very few artisans who defined a style such as Krenov, Maloof, Peters, Nakashima, Greene and Greene, etc. More now than a year ago, I find myself wondering about the next generation of influential woodworkers.

    Unlike other visual arts, there are few woodworking galleries or exhibits to introduce us to the work and workers of note. And most of the woodworking magazines that could offer the occasional artisan showcase tend to focus on technique-oriented articles. I fear the next great woodworker may go unheralded.

    I hope the sense of loss that we feel from the passing of these stylists broadens our horizons to be on the lookout for the next uncompromising visionary.

  • Don Peregoy

    I never meet them – but it is clear by the comments of there family and friends – there most important lessons only used woodworking as an example.

    I marvel at how we can be so enriched by the life of and so full of sorrow at the death of some one we never meet.

    I was very touched by Rob Porcaro comments on his Oct 17th Blog. I have the 2nd paragraph and a picture of James on the inside of my tool cabinet – should I need a reminder of the important things.

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