Frequently Asked Questions

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College of the Redwoods
How can you be contacted?
Our mailing address is:

C/R Fine Woodworking
440 Alger Street

Fort Bragg, CA 95437

phone: (707) 964-7056
FAX: (707) 964-6573

Is Mr. Krenov still teaching?
Jim retired from teaching at the College as of June, 2002. He worked productively in a small shop at his home until failing eyesight made him feel that he was doing his cabinets an injustice. He continued to work in the shop, producing his iconic hand planes until early 2009. In April of 2009, he came to the realization that his safety was at risk and closed his shop. Jim still managed daily walks with his wife, Britta, along the beach until late summer. The end came for him on September 9, 2009, just shy of his 89th birthday. Though his voice is stilled, his words and work live.

What is life like as a student?
The sense of community that develops among class members is one of the most appealing aspects of the program. Food plays a major role in shop events. Here is a link to blogs posted by past students.

How can I improve my chances of being accepted to the program?
During the entire time of the program's existence, the number of applications has exceeded our capacity. Since Jim Krenov's retirement, the pressure has diminished, without having lessened the overall dedication and commitment of the part of the applicants.

We often hear of potential applicants who are concerned that they don't have enough skills or a large enough body of work to qualify as students. Put those concerns to rest. We are interested more in applicants with promise. Students all begin from scratch. The work that you see on this site was done by individuals, some with minimal work experience, in a focused and supportive environment.

As the program is part of a public institution, selection cannot be based on subjective judgements and is,in the end, a matter of chance. Familiarity with tools and basic procedures are requirements that can be fulfilled with work experience or successful completion of trade related class work. A letter of purpose clearly stating objectives is as crucial Ultimately, the class is filled by draw from a pool of qualified applicants.

How much does it cost to attend?
For California residents (with residency documentation dated one year prior to the opening day of classes), the enrollment fees for one semester are $662.00 ($36 per unit for 18 units plus a $4 health services fee and a $10 Student Body fee). Currently, non-residents bear the above costs plus tuition at a rate of $229 per unit, a total of $4784.00 for one semester. If you attended a CA high school for 3 or more years and graduated from a CA high school, you may qualify to have your out-of-state tuition waived. International students pay an additional $100 as an application fee. Costs are subject to change in response to state funding. The course is comprised of two semesters.

General financial aid information is available online.

I live outside of the United States. Am I eligible to attend?
The presence of international students is an program asset. We've been fortunate to have someone here from overseas most every year. For residents of non-English speaking nations, the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is the greatest obstacle to overcome. Look into taking the test as soon as possible. Upon attaining an acceptable score, the College will issue a visa.

The brief and incomplete Fine Furniture version of the process is here (58 KB pdf).

Official and more reliable College information on the topic is available at:

Where is the school located?
Fort Bragg is on the coast about 3 1/2 hours north of the Golden Gate bridge. Check out our map page.

How do you get there?
Coming from the south on U.S. 101, two options are available. The most direct way with the most freeway time (a questionable requirement) is to exit to Highway 20 at Willits. The remaining 34 miles take about an hour to cover. A more bucolic excursion is possible if Highway 128 is taken toward the coast from Cloverdale, requiring about an hour and forty-five minutes to reach Fort Bragg. From the north on 101, exit to Highway 1 at Leggett.

Highway 1 from San Francisco offers panoramic views, but is not recommended for those in a hurry.

When can we visit?
Visitors are welcome at most any time classes are in session. Our regular classes run six days a week from the third week in August through the third week in May. First projects are well underway in October, with an eye toward completion in December. The more complex second and third projects are taking shape in March and April in anticipation of the annual May student show.

If a lecture is scheduled for the day, it is generally done by 10:30 a.m. There are no staff members officially on duty during holidays. Call (707) 964-7056 for details if you intend to visit near holidays or during summer classes.

Where can we stay when we get there?
A great percentage of the number of area lodgings are listed at:

It's always summer on the Caifornia coast, right?
Well, no, not here at least. Fort Bragg is about twelve hours north of the California you're thinking about. On the infrequent days that get above 70 degrees, people begin to think that something is wrong. There's more area information here.

Is there a military base there?
Not since the 1850's You're probably thinking about Fort Bragg, North Carolina, the home of the 82nd Airborne Division. Both towns are named after the same man, Braxton Bragg. (I met a woman who told me that her great grandfather had served under General Bragg, and that he had referred to the general as "vicious, cowardly, and stupid." I doubt that that is an accurate portrayal, but it struck me as a funny combination of traits.)

Where do you get your wood?
Our lumber room is stocked with handpicked planks. Most of it comes from the Bay area: EcoTimber International in Berkeley has an excellent supply of woods from sustainable forestry operations around the world; MacBeath in San Francisco and Berkeley, Van Aresdale-Harris in San Francisco, and PALS in Oakland are all also reliable sources. On the way home, a stop at Mt. Storm in Windsor often pays off. Most of the European woods we use come from Gilmer's in Portland, Oregon. Small, independent sawyers come to the school with their wares every year, too.

Are there any graduates near me?
It is entirely possible. Here is a listing of graduates making a go of it.

What's with the elephant?
In order to alleviate the stress of setting up the shop in 1981, certain individuals celebrated Fridays with the aid of Carlsberg's Elephant® malt liquour. Within two years, a large percentage of the class was gathering to enjoy each other's company. In 1985, Ted Hawke, a student from England, developed the logo associated with the program. It has come to represent the familial feeling of being part of group that care for each other and their work. The blessed resurgence of local breweries has reduced the amount of imports consumed, but the communion is still celebrated.

Can you recommend any good books about furniture and craft?
Can we ever! Check out this list of great books.

Where did I put my keys?
How should we know? Where were you when you last had them?

How come there are two high tides per day even though the Earth only rotates once per day?
You've got us. We can't figure this one out at all. Also, how come California is so dry most of the year when there is an ocean just to the west of us.

The Elephant and Chisels logo and the fineFURNITURE logo are trademarks of the College of the Redwoods Fine Woodworking Program. All of the text, designs, and photographs on this site are copyright of their respective owners and all rights to them are reserved. Reproduction or commercial use is prohibited except with express written permission of the artists. All other trademarks and registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.