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When my first book, “Workbenches: From Design & Theory to Construction & Use,” was released, I played a game that many first-time authors play. I looked for my book on the shelves of any bookstore I visited.

After a few years I gave up. I’ve never seen the book for sale anywhere except online. But I do have something else that I’ve decided is better: Hundreds (maybe thousands) of photos of workbenches that people built using the advice in the book.

Like many woodworkers, I fantasized about a piece of my furniture ending up on display in a museum. That, I thought, would mean that I am an able designer and craftsman – and that I have succeeded as a woodworker.

But a funny thing happened. I visit a lot of museums to see both the art and the furniture collections. A few years ago I got to visit the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston to look at its collection of early American furniture, which is mostly behind glass.


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