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Welcome to the web site of Frank Klausz, master cabinetmaker. Since 1967, when Frank and his wife came to America, he has been specializing in fine furniture reproductions and custom architectural fixtures. Frank is the owner and president of Frank's Cabinet Shop, Inc. in Pluckemin, New Jersey.

The following is an excerpt from The Workbench Book by Scott Landis - ©1987 The Taunton Press, Inc.

To understand the depth of Klausz's convictions, you need to know about his background. Thirty years ago in Hungary, at the age of 14, Frank began his woodworking career in an apprenticeship system that had remained essentially unchanged since the Middle Ages. What was unusual about it, even by European standards, was that Klausz entered into a formal, contractual apprenticeship with his own father. "I paid the highest price for my trade," Klausz explains. "Once I apprenticed, I didn't have a father, I had a master." And a stern master at that. Of the half dozen workers in his father's cabinet shop, it was Frank who was taken to task if something wasn't quite right. Perhaps wary of his own son's competition, the elder Klausz withheld certain construction tips until the very end of Frank's apprenticeship. Watching his father work, Frank asked, "How can you do that so fast?" His father replied, "After ten or fifteen years you're going to be a pretty good beginner yourself."
Frank Klausz
Frank Klausz
Frank Klausz
Frank Klausz
"If you're going to do it, do it well."
-- Frank Klausz.
At the end of four years, Frank became a certified journeyman cabinetmaker, on his way to becoming a master (which required one year of work in each of three different shops). Ten years later, Frank and his wife, Edith, packed their lives in three suitcases and left Hungary. Like the journeymen of old, Frank was on the road except that his only tools were his hands and head, not chisels and saws in a toolbox strapped to his back. By 1969, the couple was living on Long Island, where Frank ran through a succession of jobs carpentry, casework, and so on trying to find his way back to the work he'd been trained to do. It was five more years before he could set up his own shop in a two car garage in New Jersey. Finally, in 1985, Frank and Edith built the shop they'd been dreaming of.

I went to visit Frank in his Pluckemin, New Jersey, workshop and to meet his workbench in the flesh. My first and most startling impression was of the workshop itself. I had primed myself for an old world sweatshop, with young apprentices chained to their benches. In Hungary, Frank's father had two small workrooms one for the benches and another (unheated, even in winter) for the machinery. When lumber had to be cut from a 20 ft. log, the workers fed it through an open window at one end of the machine shop, across the bandsaw and out again through the opposite window over rollers placed at the sill.

Klausz's own shop couldn't be more of the 'new world.' The single story, cinder block building sprawls a full 100 ft. in length. Painted off white inside, it is bright and airy, with windows on all sides and large skylights. If Frank had to mill a mast for the Constitution, I doubt that he'd even have to open a window.
Frank's Cabinet Shop, Inc. 1992 Burnt Mills Rd. Pluckemin, NJ 07978.
tel: (908) 658 4396. fax: (908) 658 9112.

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