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Matt Kenney, Woodworking

Matthew Kenney

Matt Kenney has made things from wood his entire life. As a child growing up in Florida, he made tree forts and skate ramps. While in graduate school earning his Ph. D. in philosophy, he made his first piece of furniture—a storage box for gardening supplies—in the attic above the duplex where he lived. It wasn't much to look at, but making that box awoke a passion for making furniture, a passion that has driven him ever since. A few years later, he met the father of one of his students, Joe Mazurek, a professional furniture maker. Joe took Matt into his shop and taught him how to make furniture. After two and half years of spending his free time in Joe’s shop, Matt took an editorial job at Fine Woodworking magazine. While there, Matt’s passion for furniture making continued to grow, and he made a lot of furniture. He also wrote articles for the magazine, was featured in how-to videos, and co-hosted the popular Shop Talk Live podcast. Starting in Spring 2015, Matt made 52 boxes in 52 weeks. That project became the basis for his first book, 52 Boxes in 52 Weeks (Taunton Press). He left the magazine in 2018 to spend more time with his tools. He’s been making furniture and kumiko, traveling the US and world to teach, and writing ever since. Matt constantly strives to improve his craftsmanship and design. The result of his efforts is furniture that is modern but grounded in the best of classic design, able to sit harmoniously alongside a wide range of furniture styles, and built to survive generations of daily use. You can keep up with what Matt’s doing in the shop, and as he travels to teach, on Instagram (@mekwoodworks). When he’s not in the shop or teaching, he records a podcast, The Matt and Joe Woodworking Fun Hour, that chronicles his efforts to teach Joe, a newcomer to the craft, how to make furniture.