Mother and Child

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Project by WhattheChuck posted 03-06-2015 05:50 AM 3259 views 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Two photos of the finished tansu chest resting in its workbench mother’s arms. More experienced woodworkers will glimpse the rare ‘clean top’ of the workbench, which is what inspired the desire for a tool chest in the first place. For those starting out, I can’t encourage you enough to build a real bench. It is absolutely vital for both craftsmanship and safety. Mine is a classic Frank Klausz bench, from the original Workbench book by Scott Landis. There are all sorts of permutations and improvements that are now in existence, and they might be incrementally better. But there’s a reason Frank hangs on to his.

The workbench is 20 years old+ (can’t remember when I finished it) and the tansu chest is 2 days old. The only advice about this that I can give is this—if you are building a workbench now, but don’t want to bother with a tool chest underneath, make provisions to mount one in the future. I cut two rabbets on the bottom stretchers to drop the tool box on when I built the original bench. I also made it possible for the bench slave to run on the bench itself and not protrude over the edge of the rabbet. It took 20 years to get around to building the accompanying tool chest, but I didn’t need any help dropping it right into place.

One other lesson I’ve learned—find a master, and when possible, imitate them. Realize that they have years of experience and sophistication you don’t have. But don’t start from scratch. Find someone whose technique and product you admire, and steal a few pages from their playbook. Frank and his work are amazing for a reason. In about 20 years, I wanna be a pretty good beginner too!

-- Chuck, Pullman, WA

11 comments so far

View Scott Oldre's profile

Scott Oldre

742 posts in 2855 days

#1 posted 03-06-2015 01:07 PM

Beautiful bench for sure. One day I hope to find the space to have one.

-- Scott, Irmo SC

View Rev. Jim Paulson's profile

Rev. Jim Paulson

119 posts in 2700 days

#2 posted 03-06-2015 01:16 PM

Hi Chuck,
Very nice bench and great work. I love the drawers. Did you use oak for the drawer fronts and the cabinet door?
I am finishing a small bench 24 by 48 inches that will be used for shaping Windsor chair seats. I used a design from Drew Langsner and it features plenty of dog holes for using holdfasts and bench dogs. It also has a twin screw vise that should hold the seats securely. Here is a picture. My plan is to eventually build a Roubo that will have to be housed in the garage. Take care.


View helluvawreck's profile


22707 posts in 2290 days

#3 posted 03-06-2015 01:43 PM

You have done a beautiful job on this. It will be a wonderful addition to your shop.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View WhattheChuck's profile


220 posts in 2984 days

#4 posted 03-06-2015 02:53 PM

Hi Jim—glad to see you’re still cranking out Windsors—and that’s a nice bench! I have yet to build one on my own—but that bench definitely looks like the ticket!

I used cherry for the drawer fronts. I got a bunch of khaya and cherry from a dying old man’s wood collection. My goal is to leave behind great tools for my kids, but no wood! So I’ve been busy!

I still have my name tag from the Windsor Institute…

-- Chuck, Pullman, WA

View Andre's profile


993 posts in 1229 days

#5 posted 03-06-2015 03:50 PM

Beautiful bench, I can never figure out how anyone can not have a Tail vise on there bench?
Still in the design stage for my Bench but do have a stack of Birch rough cut for the legs and top!
It is the Pictures on this site that make me want to just get out there and Get er Done!

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View siavosh's profile


674 posts in 1294 days

#6 posted 03-06-2015 04:32 PM

Beautiful! Almost belongs in a living room, but I’m sure after some wear and tear it’ll get a nice patina of character :)

-- -- Discover the most interesting woodworking blogs from around the world

View WhattheChuck's profile


220 posts in 2984 days

#7 posted 03-06-2015 06:28 PM

Rad457—totally agree. When I started 25 years ago, I had no idea that such a thing existed. Now there’s so much great info out there (from Chris Schwarz to all the various magazine contributors) ignorance is much harder to explain. I do know that once you use one, whether you’re a power tool or hand woodworker, you’ll never go back. Though I do a mix of hand work and machine work, nothing has made my routing safer than a tail vise to hold the work.

-- Chuck, Pullman, WA

View Woodbridge's profile


3451 posts in 1841 days

#8 posted 03-06-2015 08:06 PM

wow that is a beautiful combination. The mystery for me is how after 20 years have you managed to keep the top so clean?

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View gsimon's profile


1153 posts in 1537 days

#9 posted 03-06-2015 10:43 PM

Love it!

-- Greg Simon

View WhattheChuck's profile


220 posts in 2984 days

#10 posted 03-06-2015 11:02 PM

Peter—it just got clean about 5 minutes before I took that picture!!

-- Chuck, Pullman, WA

View aussiedave's profile


3114 posts in 1247 days

#11 posted 03-07-2015 12:22 AM

very nice tansu tool chest and bench to house it in…great job.

-- Dave.......If at first you don’t succeed redefine success....

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