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Norm catches a lot of guff for New Yankee Workshop.  It’s nothing new; folks have been doing it for years. The tools in the shop and the insane wood selection he pulls out of nowhere tend to send viewers into fits. But the truth is, Norm and NYW have done a lot more good than the general public gives ’em credit for.

Take a second to look at the pics in the “New Yankees At Work” section of the website — you’ll see more than a few projects that owe at least a small nod to the flannel-clad crafter from New England.

It’s true that while some of these works are dead-on matches, many bear nothing close to a resemblance to any of the projects on the show.  But it’s about inspiration — just watching the show can spark ideas in folks, taking ’em in directions they might not have attempted otherwise.

It’s a subtle point that often goes unmade, and we tip our hats to Norm and the crew in earnest.  However that doesn’t mean we can’t rip a little on the multi-thousand-dollar hardwood stock that Mr. Abrams gets his hands on whenever a project calls for it.

New Yankees At Work [New Yankee Workshop]


11 Responses to Props Where Props Are Due

  1. Jim German says:

    I guess the wood thing is the same reason some people don’t like This Old house. But really why do you want to see him using the same old woods over and over again? And its not like in most situations you can’t use whatever sort of wood you want for the project.

  2. Sean O'Hara says:

    Oh that’s easy – jealousy. Pure, unadulterated, jealousy.

  3. Bryan says:

    Here, here. Norm is the Julia Child of woodworking.

    Norm and the other people involved with This Old House deserve a lot more credit than they are afforded for enabling a revolution in home renovation. That might sound extreme, but really, 30 years ago, Home Depot had just 2 stores.

  4. paganwonder says:

    I agree with Bryan.

  5. Deelow says:

    Sean O’Hara has it right, people are haters. And if your a hater of NYW then let’s be real about it. You take any man who like’s to just tinker or is a full fledged craftsman and give him his own show to do whatever kind of creative project he wants and tell me they won’t be asking for the craziest most expensive stuff they can get their hands on. If I had a producer that was willing to spend the dough then hell yeah I’d take advantage of that. It’s like having a license to kill. “Hey for this show I’m going to need some wood from the bow of the Pinta! Can we make that happen” You know that producer would be making phone call’s, because all they care about is ratings.

  6. Kurt Schwind says:

    I don’t get the haters. I watch Norm because his skill set is admirable. Some of his jigs are beyond my current capabilities, but so what.

    Norm earned his place through work. He pre-dates a time when you had to have skills AND a great tv presence.

  7. Gary says:

    I remember getting up on Saturdays in college to watch Norm on TOH. He does get bashed on some forums, which is pretty ridiculous. I think it’s mostly jealousy with a little bit of snobbery thrown in because he’s “sold out” to Delta or whoever. I like using handtools, but who wouldn’t want a shop with every conceiveable machine if all you have to do is insert the word or image of Delta once in awhile? And yes, I fully admit to being jealous of his woodstash.

    I also watched David Marks show while it was on. You don’t hear the same comments about him. Maybe because he wasn’t in the public view for as long as Norm?

  8. mike says:

    Most of his stuff I don’t mind. Sure he has powertools but so do most people or they plan on getting one asap. I do take issue when he starts using commercial equipment like that 6 foot oscillating band sander. No hobbyist is buying that.

    I have the same problem with This Old House. When their renovations start to exceed the median price of the average home I get irritated. Which is why I prefer Hometime.

  9. Patrick says:

    The Norm-hating simply comes from jealousy – whether for the tools or the woodstash, but I think it has something to do with the way he centers a show around an already designed piece. I’ve never seen a show of his in which he built a piece to his own design (though I’m no Norm expert. He’s been on air longer than I’ve been alive, I think). Without that creative element, Norm can seem an average joe with the shop to make it happen – which frustrates the rest of us.

    David Marks had that creativity – I felt it wasn’t his shop that was overpowering, but his artistry. Therefore, his stuff seemed more authentic.

    That being said. I’ve never seen a lathe to David’s, nor that multi-router-cnc-gizmo he whipped out every now and then. For pure inaccessability factor, I rate Woodworks far higher than NYW.

  10. Coach James says:

    When did it become “hate” to critique something?

  11. David says:

    I got to admit, this is the first time I heard anyone complain about his wood selection, but let me educate those who have a proplem with it. First, he gets a lot from TOH projects that would have been thrown out, second, he is sent a lot from various sources for free. Also Delta/Porter Cable sponsor the show and send him all the latest tools, I don’t know about you guys, but I wouldn’t send them back. But I think the answer to all of this has been said over & over here, it’s Jealousy.

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