Tage Frid

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Tage Frid
Born(1915-05-30)30 May 1915
Died4 May 2004(2004-05-04) (aged 88)
Occupation(s)Professor, woodworker, furniture designer, author
Known forModern Design

Tage Frid (30 May 1915 – 4 May 2004) was a Danish-born woodworker, educator and author who influenced the development of the studio furniture movement in the United States. His design work was often in the Danish-modern style, best known for his three legged stool and his publications.[1]

Early life[edit]

Son of a silversmith, at the age of 13, he started a five-year apprenticeship in Copenhagen followed by work in cabinet shops; worked for nearly a decade at the Royal Danish Cabinetmakers,[2] then spent time in Iceland before immigrating to the United States in 1948 at the request of the American Craft Council.[2]

Later career[edit]

Frid headed the program in woodworking of the School for American Craftsmen (SAC) in Alfred, New York; later moving with this program to Rochester Institute of Technology.[3][4] In 1962 he became professor of Woodworking and Furniture Design at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), remaining until 1985.

When teaching, he emphasized a craftsman's need to learn all the available tools and methods one could use to complete a given task. Thus, the person can work in any shop situation and produce the same quality. Frid's students include noted American studio furniture makers such as Hank Gilpin, Jere Osgood,[5] Alphonse Mattia,[6] William Keyser, John Dunnigan, and Rosanne Somerson.

He was an editor of Fine Woodworking magazine from its inception in 1975 to his death.[2]

In 2001, Tage Frid was honored by The Furniture Society with its Award of Distinction. The Permanent collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston owns some of his designs, most of which represent the Danish modern style.[2]


Frid is best known for his three-volume work, "Tage Frid Teaches Woodworking". Some editions of which are published as the first two volumes in one, the third is still separate (Frid's own classic European-style workbench is detailed, in a revised and corrected version, in the third edition of this essential series):

  • Frid, Tage (2005). Tage Frid Teaches Woodworking: Three Step-by-Step Guidebooks to Essential Woodworking Techniques. Tage Frid Teaches Woodworking. Taunton Press. pp. 688 pp. + DVD. ISBN 978-1-56158-826-8.
  • Frid, Tage (1993). Book 1: Joinery & Book 2: Shaping, Veneering, Finishing. Tage Frid Teaches Woodworking. Taunton Press. pp. 206 pp. + 210 pp. ISBN 1-56158-068-6.
  • Frid, Tage (1985). Book 3: Furnituremaking. Tage Frid Teaches Woodworking. Taunton Press. p. 231 pp. ISBN 0-918804-40-X.

Further reading[edit]

  • Hank Gilpin, "Professor Frid," Fine Woodworking magazine 146 (Winter 2000-1), pp. 80–85.
  • John Kelsey, "Tage Frid: A Talk with the Old Master," Fine Woodworking magazine 52 (May–June 1985), pp. 66–67.
  • Michael A. Stone, Contemporary American Woodworkers, Gibbs Smith, Salt Lake City UT, 1986, pp. 48–63.
  • "Tage Frid" in Edward S. Cooke Jr., Gerald W.R. Ward, and Kelly H L'Ecuyer, The Maker's Hand: American Studio Furniture, 1940–1990, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston MA, 2003, p. 120.


  1. ^ "Tage Frid the Great Dane". Rainford Restorations. Unplugged Shop. 2014-02-16. Retrieved 2015-12-18.
  2. ^ a b c d Wellman, Bill (May 8, 2004). "Tage Frid, 88, Woodworker and Danish-Modern Designer, Dies". New York Times. Retrieved 30 August 2011.
  3. ^ "Oral history interview with Tage Frid, 1980 June 24 – 1982 February 22". Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 2015-12-18.
  4. ^ "History of College of Imaging Arts and Sciences". Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). Retrieved 2015-12-18.
  5. ^ Koplos, Janet; Metcalf, Bruce (2010-07-31). Makers: A History of American Studio Craft. Univ of North Carolina Press. p. 289. ISBN 978-0-8078-9583-2.
  6. ^ Halper, Vicki; Douglas, Diane (2009-05-15). Choosing Craft: The Artist's Viewpoint. Univ of North Carolina Press. p. 180. ISBN 978-0-8078-8992-3.

External links[edit]