The New Yankee Workshop - Chapter 1 The Medicine Cabinet #1: The New Yankee Workshop - A Skill Development Journey

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Blog entry by camps764 posted 01-05-2013 08:55 PM 2863 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of The New Yankee Workshop - Chapter 1 The Medicine Cabinet series Part 2: Medicine Cabinet - First Project Day 1 »

Like many (I assume) my woodworking started as a tentative hobby. Something I’d always been interested in, but never made the time for. As I began experimenting and creating I realized that it is something that I truly love to do. However, like many (another assumption) I’ve bounced from project to project, learning or making things up as I went. This has worked fairly well so far, but I know that along the way I have skipped learning some fundamental skills.

This morning I was sitting at the dining room table (one of my first real projects) drinking my coffee and reading The New Yankee Workshop by Norm Abram, trying to pick out a new project to tackle. I was toward the end of the book, reading about a blanket chest when I read ”...using the skills you developed building the first project in this book…” when I had a “duh!” moment.

This blog series is a result of that “duh!” moment.

Over the next several months I will be methodically working through each project in The New Yankee Workshop book. I will start at the beginning of the book, and blog my progress as I move through each project.

Hopefully, as I move through each project I’ll pick up new skills/techniques/jigs/and experience and maybe break some bad habits along the way.

I’ll try my best to take photos and write about the steps I am taking in each project. I may also attempt some video blogging as well.

I’m excited to “start over” and learn some new things that will hopefully allow me to tackle future projects with less frustration, and more success.

I’m looking forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts on my projects, the approaches the book recommends, and any other thoughts my fellow ‘jocks have about my woodworking journey.

-- Steve

8 comments so far

View Lifesaver2000's profile


556 posts in 3441 days

#1 posted 01-07-2013 12:47 AM

Steve, I have added your blog to my RSS feeds so will be watching how it goes. I have seen Norm build all these projects so it will be interesting to watch someone else doing it.

View Dave T's profile

Dave T

196 posts in 3949 days

#2 posted 01-07-2013 12:56 AM

I like this idea! Very curious to see how you progress. I had never thought of taking a step back and cover the basics. I am going to watch your progress, maybe this is what I need to do.

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2816 days

#3 posted 01-07-2013 01:13 AM


NYW and Norm are all fine and good but don’t be tempted to pick up some of his bad habits…...

Like buying 46 routers.
16 dedicated morticing machines.
312 circular saws.
10256 framing hammers…. not to mention the other multi-thousands of hammers he and Tommy Silva have picked up!

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View camps764's profile


867 posts in 2689 days

#4 posted 01-08-2013 02:03 AM

Thanks for the interest everyone!

LifeSaver2000- I appreciate it! I’ve never actually seen any Norm Abram – the book was a thrift store gift from my Mom when she found out I was into woodworking. I always thumb through it for ideas but had never thought to try and follow it as a guide.

Dave T – Hopefully we all learn something from it. I’ve picked up a few things already working through the first project. Mistakes and new techniques already! Should be posting the first project this weekend.

Dallas – Those definitely sound like bad habits! I already have an addictive personality and sometimes find myself thinking “I could totally do this easier if I had X, Y or Z new tool…” Maybe I’ll stick to the book and avoid actually ever watching any of Norm’s shows.

-- Steve

View JesseTutt's profile


854 posts in 2439 days

#5 posted 01-08-2013 02:26 AM

It seems like you either like Norm and NYW or hate them.

Personally, I like Norm and feel that he was a great ambassador to the world from woodworkers.

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

View camps764's profile


867 posts in 2689 days

#6 posted 01-08-2013 03:42 AM

JesseTutt – From what I’ve read/heard I like Norm and the NYW…experience has been limited but positive.

-- Steve

View Lifesaver2000's profile


556 posts in 3441 days

#7 posted 01-08-2013 03:47 AM

The projects in this book are all based on the first season of the show. That was before Norm started to have a lot of the fancy tools. I recall he did mortises on the router table (which was a bench top model) and was using the wobble dado blade. No wide belt sander or even a hollow chisel mortiser. Don’t think there was a biscuit joiner either. He did like his nail gun though.

View camps764's profile


867 posts in 2689 days

#8 posted 01-08-2013 03:58 AM

The wobble dado….I have one of those…thought about using it for this blog series…put it on and fired it up…quickly decided I could wait to start until after I ran out to Midwest Woodworkers and picked up a dado stack. I’ve heard those things are hell on the arbor for table saws…and to be completely honest it kind of scared me too.

-- Steve

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