Norm's Online Episodes

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Forum topic by davidroberts posted 02-21-2010 12:57 AM 1350 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1027 posts in 3483 days

02-21-2010 12:57 AM

Topic tags/keywords: norm construction methods new yankee workshop

While resting a bit after taking apart our 20 yo cloth dryer, it’s going bump, bump, bump, I decided to watch an online episode of New Yankee Workshop. It appears the 100 series, i.e. episode 107, 108 etc. is the first year or close to first year of airing. The current online episode is a tall bookcase.

What really struck me is the sparseness of the shop and his carpenter-like construction methods. He used the old Delta Unisaw but with a stock metal fence and round rails, no big biesemeyer fence, no outfeed table, and no fancy blade. He also used a RAS, I’m not sure what brand, and a small almost toy like miter saw. I believe the miter saw was Makita. He also used a big cordless long handled Makita drill, which was cutting edge at the time but would look odd today. He glued and screwed the bookcase together, and hammered in 4 penny nails to attach the face front, and the edge trim on the book shelves. No brad nailer, no biscuits.

He put a roundover edge on some of the pieces using a Makita router. No router table, and no big 3 1/4hp Porter Cable router. He had no jointer and no thickness planer that was shown. He used stock pine boards for all the trim and I think birch plywood, which he said was cheaper than quality pine. Maybe he meant cheaper than using pine boards for everything verses plywood.

Norm used a couple of C-clamps but no big Bessy or Jet clamps, not even a pipe clamp, He used the C-clamp to hold down a primative pockethole jig, a metal one holer. And I never saw him use any sort of ROS or 1/4 pad sander. He painted the piece, not stained or some fancy finish. Just prime and paint. He did sand the primer prior to painting.

I guess the moral is we all start out simple in the beginning. Also is nice to watch Norm’s construction methods evolve along with his supporters (Delta, PC mostly) and the quality and types of tools at his disposal. Lets face it, when Norm introduced a new tool, it was sold out afterwards for a few weeks.

Also Norm was younger, no grey, and a bit chunkier, and no plaid, just a collared golf shirt, with tennis shoes, and no mention of safety, as in “these, safety glasses”. Good times.

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

5 replies so far

View Lenny's profile


1593 posts in 3524 days

#1 posted 02-21-2010 01:21 AM

Hi David. RichGreer posted a thread on this issue 3 days ago. He too mentioned the “old Norm” versus the last version we saw of him, as well as the progression of tools Norm underwent over the years. The RAS was a Craftsman and the Makita D-handled router was/is also a 3 1/4 hp router. I remember buying that router and asking the salesman, “This is the one Norm Abram uses right?” I still have/use that router. It’s mounted under my benchtop router table. It is one powerful router that won’t die. It has no soft start so if using hand-held, when you pull the trigger you best hold tightly. They had to put duct tape over the name “Makita” since it wasn’t a sponsor. It’ll be fun to watch these shows. I taped many of them but not all. Thanks for posting.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

View lew's profile


12056 posts in 3752 days

#2 posted 02-21-2010 02:20 AM

Watching it was a real hoot!!

Had to call my wife in to look at it- as she had been subjected to the NYW every Saturday morning for the past 20 odd years. She said- look he doesn’t have on a plaid shirt!!!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View davidroberts's profile


1027 posts in 3483 days

#3 posted 02-21-2010 03:19 AM

Hey Lenny thanks. I gotta keep up more, ha.

Lew, there was so many people watching last night I could bearly get a feed. The picture would lag the voice track quite a bit. It came on Sunday afternoon here, so now I can have my usual time with Norm again.

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

View jack1's profile


2107 posts in 4024 days

#4 posted 02-21-2010 03:32 AM

It would be neat to have a woodworking show that went back to simple tools, materials etc. to help starters. I got started again because of Norm. There is nothing wrong with using box store dimensioned lumber to make things whether you are just learning or have done it for years. Simplicity is sometimes the best design too. As one gains confidence, they can take on more sophisticated projects and techniques. I guess I’m just saying, ya gotta start somewhere!

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View 's profile

593 posts in 3969 days

#5 posted 02-21-2010 10:37 AM

Don’t forget the amazingly thick Boston accent, still unpolished before all those many years of TV hosting!

By the way, most seasons up to the 14th are already available to download with better quality both as torrents and direct downloads.

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