PDA

View Full Version : new yankee workshop hiatus?



mikem
02-07-2010, 09:13 PM
Just checked the New Yankee workshop website and it says that they are recycling old shows because they lost their sponsor. Anyone know anything about this? I will miss watching Norm!

Your Old Dog
02-07-2010, 09:21 PM
My guess is the problem was they kept getting their projects done on time, there weren't enough arguments and not near enough mayhem. Don't know if you've noticed but Norm does not have any tattoos either so I think the program was doomed from the begining.

Then of course there was the final straw. That straw being that I liked it. Seems I am out of step with TV land and most of what I like gets dumped :D

lazlo
02-07-2010, 09:27 PM
I had heard that Norm was retiring, but apparently they're just ending the New Yankee Workshop:

Fine Woodworking just received word that the New Yankee Workshop is ending after 21 seasons on PBS according to Patrick Ramirez, a spokesperson for WGBH Boston.

But the man in plaid, Norm Abram, won't be retiring his tool belt yet, he’ll still continue working on sister show This Old House, according to a press release.

Too_Many_Tools
02-07-2010, 09:42 PM
Darn...another really good show going by the wayside.

dp
02-07-2010, 09:48 PM
There's always Roy Underhill - he doesn't have any power tool sponsors - never did :)

914Wilhelm
02-07-2010, 10:15 PM
Darn...another really good show going by the wayside.

Yup!

Like "The Unit". Although the tools they used were a bit politically incorrect. Guess The Unit is another show that appealed to the wrong demographic.

chip's
02-07-2010, 11:11 PM
There are some other good shows on but nobody puts you at ease like Norm. He is just like down home folks. I will miss the show!

PSD KEN
02-07-2010, 11:31 PM
The latest temper tantrum/not on schedule/one inept employee show would be Howe & Howe Tech.

Then we go to Swamp Loggers. Poor ol' Bobby needs to cut/haul 20 loads per day to break even.
But something always interferes. Be it weather, breakage, mill shutting down, etc.

Alistair Hosie
02-08-2010, 08:23 AM
We haven't had Norm in UK for a good few years now.One of the reasons I went for sky anyway all we had were repeats repeats etc.I wish they would send all the recent stuff to us in UK Alistair

reggie_obe
02-08-2010, 10:53 AM
I But the man in plaid, Norm Abram, won't be retiring his tool belt yet, he’ll still continue working on sister show This Old House, according to a press release.

Norm hasn't "worked" on This Old House in many years. In the beginning, before show morphed into "call in the high-end contractor/consultant, write the check", he actually swung a hammer alongside the homeowner. On the other hand, New Yankee Workshop was a study in using plywood, manufactured materials, woodworking machines and air tools, all the while employing poor examples of joinery. He often based his projects on well crafted antique furniture, I'd like to see how some of the copies from his shop look after 100 years. Entertaining, yes, educational, no.

garagemark
02-08-2010, 11:44 AM
Hey Reg… You were expecting museum quality furniture from ol Normy? Why? You are naïve to think there is no educational value to NYW episodes. Norm took a fine museum quality piece, adapted it for today’s AVERAGE woodworker’s skill and shop equipment, and taught the technique to accomplish the work. He uses wood that, most of the time, were readily available to us all. No, I cannot get sunken logs, but I CAN get cherry veneer ply.

I have been a woodworker for a very long time, and have a complete woodshop from the cast iron 50s. I build furniture for myself or an occasional friend. I do not build pieces to last until the next Renaissance. After I’m dead and my kids are dead, you may burn my work. I have no problem using a tack to hold a piece until the glue dries. I like plywood because it is stable. Edged plywood looks fine. I have lathe turned some very interesting pieces from laminated cabinet grade, zero void plywood.

Norm has not taught me rocket science, but I have used many of his techniques and tips to make a project either easier to build or to enhance the aesthetic value of the build. I do not agree with everything he does, but he has plenty of talent. Norm is not a God of mine, but I appreciate his skills.

You must be blessed with a ton of money, a buttload of skill, and limitless supply of fine materials. Maybe you can startup a Smithsonian quality furniture school for us dim bulb woodworker wannabes. I’ll attend.

Tony Ennis
02-08-2010, 11:46 AM
A little hard on Norm, aren't you Reg?

Very little furniture of any quality lasts 100 years. Norm's stuff is better than anything you can buy commercially unless you're willing to spend a staggering amount. Plywood is great stuff and the best choice for drawer bottoms and the backs of furniture.

Norm learned a lot since the beginning of the show where he didn't know what he didn't know - a very bad place to be.

His first book is dicey. I built the workbench and a night stand from it. The workbench while lacking in a few places is still giving good service in my woodshop 20 years later. My mother has been enjoying the nightstand for almost 20 years.

Alistair Hosie
02-08-2010, 11:55 AM
I also have to disagree Norm's work is very good.I don't worry about using plywoods and modern materials (actually plywood is not modern) anyway his stuff will probably outlast normal antiques if cared for properly modern glues wood fasteners are hard to beat the tchniques are excellent.I have been reading about quality copies made of original pieces and the experts seem to think they are often superior in many ways .Alistair

ehughes
02-08-2010, 12:33 PM
Hi, A fellow told me once that antiques survived because nobody wanted to to use them, all the good stuff was used until it was worn out. Earl

Pherdie
02-08-2010, 01:20 PM
Norm was my 'first' woodworking instructor, and although I'm not anything near an artisan, I owe a lot of my skill and knowledge to his teachings.

Not only did he teach a generation, he surely helped in generating an interest in a hobby which translated into more readily available tooling and supplies by virtue of increased demand.

Something HSM's could benefit by......

Fred

mikem
02-08-2010, 02:06 PM
Watching Norm has taught me a lot about woodworking. I built his Router table and I should have watched his poker table show before building mine--it would have saved me a lot of trouble. He has had some great ideas on his show. There are times when I thought he went too far in doing things the hard way--tenons and rabbets when butt joints would do. He has started to use some Kreg jig pocket hole joinery.

I also built his folding game table. I would never have tried that without watching him build one first. I am hoping that some sponsoring company sees the value in his show and brings it back.

garagemark
02-08-2010, 02:26 PM
For simple face frame cabinetry, pocket screw joinery is the cat's meow. Kreg got rich quick! I have had my jig for a number of years now, and have worn out at least four bits. Not heirloom maybe, but he11 for stout, and easy.

plastikosmd
02-08-2010, 02:46 PM
"Then we go to Swamp Loggers. Poor ol' Bobby needs to cut/haul 20 loads per day to break even.
But something always interferes. Be it weather, breakage, mill shutting down, etc."

so I'm not the only guy who watches him! Seems like a likeable person. I don't know if I could put up with the crap he has to deal with to keep that operation running.

Scishopguy
02-08-2010, 02:59 PM
We don't even get Norm's reruns here in north Fl. The "wonks" at our local PBS station put on "THe American Wood Shop" series in his place. I have to admit that the host has improved his woodworking skills a lot since his show was first run, back about '97 or so, but he is still not what I would call a professional woodworker or tradesman.

We have not gotten Roy Underhill's fine shows here in about 8 years. :( I don't know why they took them off (too cheap to pay for them I guess :( ). I think I enjoyed his shows the most of any. He actually showed you how things were set up and done. Norm is really good but often does not show how he does the actual setups to make some of the amazing parts he does.

As someone mentioned "not enough fighting on TOH anymore," you could always bring back Bob Villa and it wouldn't be long before the fireworks started up. The way he used to snatch thing out of the hands of the tradesmen for his TV explanations used to rile the guys up. I was amazed that someone didn't stomp a mudhole in his butt for doing that. :D

Deep sigh...!

Alistair Hosie
02-08-2010, 03:13 PM
Jim your correct he's not perfect old Norm ,but you should see some of the crap we get here nothing here we get even compares to Norm.We get a guy settled in France called le salvager what crap he churns out. He has an old carpet in his house come shop what a (gadgy durty fulthy bar steward )need to struggle with some bars of soap before I'd let him in my shop. Phew have you aver seen him?:DAlistair p.s. at least norman washes himself.

reggie_obe
02-08-2010, 04:05 PM
Hey Reg… You were expecting museum quality furniture from ol Normy? Why? You are naïve to think there is no educational value to NYW episodes. Norm took a fine museum quality piece, adapted it for today’s AVERAGE woodworker’s skill and shop equipment, and taught the technique to accomplish the work. He uses wood that, most of the time, were readily available to us all. No, I cannot get sunken logs, but I CAN get cherry veneer ply.

You must be blessed with a ton of money, a buttload of skill, and limitless supply of fine materials. Maybe you can startup a Smithsonian quality furniture school for us dim bulb woodworker wannabes. I’ll attend.

Nope, no expert woodworker, but I do remember Norm from the first season of TOH. Skinny, young, inexperienced carpenter, good at figuring out what needed to be done and how to acomplish it cheaply. How he bacame positioned as a furniture builder is a mystery to me. He may build items, centered around the average woodworkers skill level, but the shop he works in is anything but average. Every tool and toy from Delta, Freud and others, plus every pneumatic tacker, brader, hammer and stapler. Yes, the shows have value. Many of the techniques can be adapted to construction of other items. From his "build a workbench" show, I incorporated his "sacraficial workbench top" into my benches. But in typical Norm fashion, his bench probably consumed $500 in materials, when many of us utilize things like recycled solid core doors for tops and pallet rack uprights for legs.

gfphoto
02-08-2010, 04:05 PM
I enjoyed NYW and Norm. Probably learned a bit. I liked that the shop was a real place he'd built and not made in a studio. Gave it a certain verisimilitude...

I always wondered if he was trying to be funny by using that big power nailer to drive in a brad or two; and always referring to a completed piece to show how to make it. I've been trying to figure out how to do that for a long time...

Gary

Ron of Va
02-08-2010, 04:27 PM
I am saddened to learn that Norm will no longer be doing his New Yankee Workshop show. I have been following the show since; well I really don’t remember how long it has been on.

I think I have at least 90% of his shows on either video tape, or DVDs. (probably all of them) I have learned a great deal of my woodworking skills from him. Now I have a serious woodworking hobby, and have made several of his pieces.

Another poster is right about his woodworking skills getting better as time passed. A couple of techniques he used in the beginning would be detrimental to the longevity of the projects. As time passed those mistakes were corrected, but he never mentioned his previous mistakes when showing the changed technique. This is why you don’t see the earlier shows as reruns.

I have great respect for him and his skills, and I wish I could have built something with him just to see how he thinks off camera.

Alistair Hosie
02-08-2010, 05:31 PM
Norm is definitely not the best In the world or even USA .Man there must be ten thousand guys working everyday better than him so why do we panic surely he can be replaced.I like him too but he can be replaced .And if he goes he should be.Theres alot of talent in the USA alone despite the fact other countries too have just as good workmen if not better.Alistair

reggie_obe
02-08-2010, 05:39 PM
It would seem that no one here has ever worked in the film (motion picture) world. Norm's shop is more than likely a purpose built studio set. It was constructed so well and the segments edited so perfectly, that you never saw a light or cable in the show. Yes, every show had Norm standing in the doorway of "the shop", but that didn't make it a "real place". If the set/shop was constructed on his property, it's because he chose to have them do just that. That fact that Norm improved? Well our skills all naturally improve with time and repetition. I'm sure that the show/production company had advisors/consultants/artisans that instructed Norm. Told him how the project was going to be completed, step by step, maybe even build the prototype. Who do you think produced the "measured drawing and complete materials list" that was offered at the end of each seqment? Norm? Don't think so. He certainly possessed greater skills than Bob Villa or Steve Thomas, but he is no Roy Underhill.

Ron of Va
02-08-2010, 06:32 PM
It would seem that no one here has ever worked in the film (motion picture) world. Norm's shop is more than likely a purpose built studio set. It was constructed so well and the segments edited so perfectly, that you never saw a light or cable in the show. Yes, every show had Norm standing in the doorway of "the shop", but that didn't make it a "real place". If the set/shop was constructed on his property, it's because he chose to have them do just that. That fact that Norm improved? Well our skills all naturally improve with time and repetition. I'm sure that the show/production company had advisors/consultants/artisans that instructed Norm. Told him how the project was going to be completed, step by step, maybe even build the prototype. Who do you think produced the "measured drawing and complete materials list" that was offered at the end of each seqment? Norm? Don't think so. He certainly possessed greater skills than Bob Villa or Steve Thomas, but he is no Roy Underhill.
There have been several magazine articles written about Norm's workshop, and it is not a studio set. It is the real deal.

I believe that you can also see behind the scenes panned shots at the web site. http://www.newyankee.com/tour.php

reggie_obe
02-08-2010, 06:54 PM
There have been several magazine articles written about Norm's workshop, and it is not a studio set. It is the real deal.

I believe that you can also see behind the scenes panned shots at the web site. http://www.newyankee.com/tour.php

Believe what you want. Google "wild walls" as related to set construction. Would you place that massive clamp cart in front of your rolling exterior door?

Al Messer
02-08-2010, 07:23 PM
When does Roy Underhill come on PBS??

aboard_epsilon
02-08-2010, 08:08 PM
new tv prog starting this week in the uk friday 9 pm bbc2

mastercrafts
looks good

so torrenters look out for it.

all the best.markj

Tony Ennis
02-08-2010, 08:59 PM
How he bacame positioned as a furniture builder is a mystery to me.

Luck. Norm was building a garage (shop?) for a public TV honcho, and the guy was so impressed with Norm's speed and frugality that he offered Norm a show. Neither of them appreciated that furniture making was a different craft than carpentry, which Norm is very good at.

And Norm's shop is a real fully functional shop. That doesn't mean it was used for projects after hours. It just isn't a 2-dimensional set. And I don't think it is actually Norm's. I think it is the TV Honcho's.


but he is no Roy Underhill.

When did this become a competition?

And furthermore, I am not sure why you're trying to pull Norm down.

darryl
02-08-2010, 09:09 PM
How come there isn't a canadian version of that show- oh wait, come to think of it there is- the red green show :)

tyrone shewlaces
02-08-2010, 09:16 PM
I used to really like NYW back in the early days. After a while the techniques seemed pretty repetitive, but there was always some little new thing to see. The repetitiveness came mostly from me not knowing from shinola in the early years and later being bored once I learned it a few times over. That's nothing wrong with Norm or his show. It just means it's a really good show for folks who are relatively new to the subject.

The turning point for me was the show when he used about ten thousand dollars worth of tools to make a coffee table from recycled pallets. I was learning beyond NYW about that time. Norm is pretty spoiled with the sponsors giving him every new toy from the catalog. I don't blame him for that - I would be too.

No TV show is perfect for everybody. Criticize it all you want, but no NYW episode is anywhere near as boring and useless as the "Woodsmith Shop" show which has been running on PBS for a little while now. Gawd that show has painfully little content. It's the "Motor Week" of woodworking. Just terrible. Norm with all his faults could outdo that one if he had the flu and ten cats running wild in his shop.

This is NOT to be confused with the "Woodwright's Shop" show with Roy Underhill which is also on PBS. That one is darn good even on a bad day, and on good days I think it's incredible. Extremely entertaining and pretty informative too. I enjoy it more than NYW these days. The last one I saw he gave a tour of a place which makes windows using a building full of old line-shaft woodworking machines. That was just too cool. They say he's been on air for 29 years! Where was I? The first time I saw it was only a couple years ago at most. Hmmm.

Well Norm had to move on at some point. I'm glad he did what he did and I hope they fill the void with another good show. We'll see.

HTRN
02-09-2010, 05:05 AM
The turning point for me was the show when he used about ten thousand dollars worth of tools to make a coffee table from recycled pallets.

Doesn't every amateur woodworker own a timesaver?:D

Your Old Dog
02-09-2010, 07:33 AM
..........Norm is pretty spoiled with the sponsors giving him every new toy from the catalog. I don't blame him for that - I would be too......................

Early on, at the same time, there was a woodworking show where this guy wore an old go-fast-cap on the program and he only used handtools with no electrics. I thought, what's the point? Would the old world furniture makers not use electricity if it were available? Is making something with handtools or flint somehow more nobile. I'd easily use $10,000 worth of tools to make a toothpick as I'm not into noble :D

Funny observation. No one here has attacked his on-show-safety-practices. The safety nazis beat the hell out of him on woodworking forums.

aboard_epsilon
02-09-2010, 08:23 AM
Luck. Norm was building a garage (shop?) for a public TV honcho, and the guy was so impressed with Norm's speed and frugality that he offered Norm a show. Neither of them appreciated that furniture making was a different craft than carpentry, which Norm is very good at.

And Norm's shop is a real fully functional shop. That doesn't mean it was used for projects after hours. It just isn't a 2-dimensional set. And I don't think it is actually Norm's. I think it is the TV Honcho's.



When did this become a competition?

And furthermore, I am not sure why you're trying to pull Norm down.

on one show he built a sort of dolls house model of his shop ..and it is real ......

gfphoto
02-09-2010, 09:08 AM
Believe what you want. Google "wild walls" as related to set construction.

Thanks! That was an eye opener. Apparently movies and TV shows aren't all shot in real locations--really; check it out if you don't believe it.

Like that whole bogus "moon landing" in '69. Had me fooled.

And all those "This Old House" episodes...I can't believe I was gullible enough to really think those were real houses and real owners contributing "sweat equity". How do you hide all those cables and lights in a real house?

From now on I'm only going to watch the woodworking and machining and car repair and home improvement shows on the networks where I know it's all real and approved...

Cheers!

Gary

Falcon67
02-09-2010, 09:41 AM
>The turning point for me was the show when he used about ten thousand
>dollars worth of tools to make a coffee table from recycled pallets.

Then (just a heads up) - don't think about getting into hot rodding or racing. Because, that's what it's about. I take my used parts to places with a half million dollars worth of tools so I can re-use them, and if I had the coin I'd have a half million bucks of decking, valve grinding, boring, etc stuff for building an old 351C here and there. If I spent the money on a house payment that I spent on tools to work on an old house that's still not done, we'd have a nice house. And maybe a screwdriver. But - as I explained to her - I'm not built like that. ;)

mikem
02-09-2010, 11:11 AM
Roy Underhill is the guy with the reddish brown hair that usuallly cuts his finger berfore the show ends. His show starts with him walking to the workshop through the woods and across the stream.

He builds stuff usually without motorized tools, which, in itself, is interesting but who would use his techniques to build anything these days? And the stuff he makes is outdated, mostly useless.

Norm's workshop is not much better than a lot of them I have seen. We probably don't have W & H Moulders and huge resaws, but the rest is pretty commonplace. I looked forward to Saturday morning when the NYW ran on public TV here. Now we have a remodeling show doing stuff that I already know how to do.

Think about all the lathe work Norm has shown us how to do. Beading, joinery, jig tricks. Where would I have seen that? My local cabinet shop wouldn't want me around all day and wouldn't have taken the time to explain what was done and why.

God Bless Norm Abram and bring back his show!

chrisfournier
02-09-2010, 11:33 AM
Norm punched over his weight on TOH but I was never impressed with the NYW. Trying to brand Norm with his ratty tool belt in a furniture shop was pathetic.

Honestly, if Norm worked metal rather than wood he would be scorned endlessly on these machinist forums.

As has been pointed out in this thread Norm was by no means a master in his field but I can see how your average garageshop/homeowner could identify with his easy going manner. Frankly we were invited to watch a home renovator get up to speed in a woodshop. To call him a schill for his sponsors would be shrill but not too far off; hey he was in the TV business. Many of his techniques were "tool driven" and clumsy.

His little galvanized finish bucket full of Minwax something or other made me crazy.

Nonetheless, the show was well edited and Norm was obviously a good host and I can't take that away from him.

Greg Menke
02-09-2010, 12:44 PM
I always loved the Woodwrights Shop, I didn't see lots of episodes but my favorite was (IIRC) he went through several different scarphing techniques with nothing but a few hand tools- hammer, wood chisel, might've been a couple saws too. Every time I get dragged through an old factory turned scented soap tourist trap/fern bar/restaurant and see the old joinery in the "fabulous" ceiling I think of that show.

Greg

ulav8r
02-09-2010, 12:50 PM
The wife liked Norm's show, much of the appeal is that a carpenter was able to make decent furniture without having to learn a lot of technique. My main dislike was that he did not have blueprints available, only drawer-rings.

Tony Ennis
02-09-2010, 01:01 PM
He builds stuff usually without motorized tools, ... but who would use his techniques to build anything these days?

I do. I don't have the skill or time to start with a tree, but I like using hand tools. Just bought a dovetail saw, in fact. I enjoy being a wood worker versus a wood processor.

Scishopguy
02-09-2010, 02:29 PM
Comparing Norm's work with Roy Underhill's is not really a true comparison because they work to different ends. Norm uses jigs and fixtures to make items that can be reproduced en mass. He generally makes several pieces at a time. Roy is generally demonstrating a technique and showing how it was used in typical applications. The sharpening show was a real confidense builder for beginners, showing the correct way to sharpen chisels. One of my favorites featured the old method of sharpening hand saws, the tools needed, the differences in how the teeth are set, and even how to start with a blank and make a saw from scratch with just a cant file (low angle triangle file). His show on Colonial Williamsburg featured a foundry producing brass handles and lock plates, all explained step by step. I have never seen Norm go into that much detail and it is not a time constraint issue. They are both half hour shows.

Blazemaster83
02-09-2010, 05:30 PM
lol how about Woodwrights Shop