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Forum topic by SwedishIron posted 10-23-2009 11:25 PM 4030 views 0 times favorited 33 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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142 posts in 4656 days

10-23-2009 11:25 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question tv education skills techniques design projects resource

With Norm Abram’s recent retirement announcement fresh on everyone’s mind and the obvious fact that the number of woodworking shows under current production is slowly dropping off, I want to pose a question to fellow LumberJocks and find out what you think would make for a great continuation of woodworking on TV. Specifically, what kind of information is most important to you; tips ,techniques (veneering, turning, inlay, using handtools, etc), special guests, field trips (museums, lumber yards, craftsman workshops, WW schools, etc.), design process, projects (built in a single episode, or spanning over multiple episodes), or all of the above? Essentially, what would pull you away from your coveted shop time to watch a weekly 30 minute woodworking TV show?

Just looking for your honest opinion.

-- Scott, Colorado

33 replies so far

View tbone's profile


322 posts in 4699 days

#1 posted 10-23-2009 11:39 PM

Interesting topic. I think a show that focused on tips and techniques could be interesting. I lost interest in Norm’s show because it was more ‘project’ focused. If the project did not interest me, then the show did not interest me.
Oh, and Scarlett Johannsen would host it.

-- Kinky Friedman: "The first thing I'll do if I'm elected is demand a recount."

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 4285 days

#2 posted 10-23-2009 11:44 PM

I don’t usually have time to watch TV….but I would suggest a show that devotes itself to proper tool use, project design, tool reviews and tips/techniques….maybe something very similar to what we do here on the blogs….but have folks doing the comments and demos in person…

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2659 posts in 4541 days

#3 posted 10-23-2009 11:58 PM

I would like to see a show that had Marc, Todd, Chad and Thomas all in it. The combination of presentations and techs would be great and would attract a very broad array of viewers.

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View davidroberts's profile


1027 posts in 4501 days

#4 posted 10-23-2009 11:59 PM

I would prefer starting with Norm’s episode One, and go from there. The series is timeless. Norm wasn’t perfect, but he came closer than anybody, by far, so far. I give a lot of credit to the producer, director and film crew. After all it was a TV show.

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

View Tim_456's profile


173 posts in 4610 days

#5 posted 10-24-2009 12:28 AM

Personally I want two shows:

I want one show where the person shows me how effortless things can be to build. This gets me motivated thinking that if the host can do it, so can I. Personally, Norm did this and his demeaner was one where he just seemed like a nice guy. I’d like to replace that and see projects done in 30 or 60 minutes. Waiting for weeks for a single project just doesn’t cut it for my short attention span.

The second show would be one were it’s tips and techniques and screw ups. One thing I didn’t like about NYW is that there were never any mistakes or “dicey” things to do. There were never any “whoops, here’s some tear out I’ll have to fix” or “hmm..that’s a bit too short/long I’ll have to re-do it”. Not that I need to see mistakes but I’d like to see and learn from the pitfalls others fall into. “Well, it looks good by my miters weren’t coming out exact so THIS is what I did to solve that problem”.

Unfortunatly Norm did have a quality that made him very likable and sometimes watching the show was very relaxing, much like the afro-haired painter dude from the 70s. I couldn’t paint but it sure was fun watching him do it;)

View cstrang's profile


1832 posts in 4183 days

#6 posted 10-24-2009 12:58 AM

I would like a show about a bit of everything, tips and jigs, projects, how-to’s, shop safety and more. But at the same time I would like the show to be consistent, this may be a bit of a challenge. I like the size of shop Norm had, it was small enough to make it cozy but large enough to do projects of any size and film a show while doing so, I wouldn’t want to see an industrial shop on tv, nor a small basement shop, not that there is anything wrong with a basement shop as I have one myself it just isn’t practical for a tv show. As for all the tools Norm had, some didn’t like that aspect but that is what it is to have a sponsor, they want you to have their tools and push them so people watching will hopefully buy, that being said I hardly think there was a need for the Timesaver on the north wall of the shop, I have operated one of these and they may be freaking awesome and their name rings true but with a $65,000 price tag its hardly practical for most watching the show. I guess the show I would really like to see is like the NYW in its early seasons. Thanks for the post!

-- A hammer dangling from a wall will bang and sound like work when the wind blows the right way.

View hairy's profile


3215 posts in 4547 days

#7 posted 10-24-2009 01:02 AM

I have thought Norm and the other shows tried to do too much in a short time. Maybe more tips and quick hitters. I don’t want to see the basics over and over.

-- You can lead a horse to water, but you can't tie his shoes. Blaze Foley

View a1Jim's profile


118161 posts in 4592 days

#8 posted 10-24-2009 01:11 AM

I would like projects tips and jigs, tools relating to a more advanced woodworker like Bombay chest, chest on chest etc. I think Charles Neil fits the bill perfectly and Tommy McDonald could appeal to the younger group as well as old wood heads.
Charles has an on line subscription show that is showing how to design and make a classic corner cupboard it’s great for those who want to upgrade there skills.


View Damian Penney's profile

Damian Penney

1141 posts in 5006 days

#9 posted 10-24-2009 01:29 AM

I’d like to see a show in the style of WoodWorks but with revolving designers so that I could see how a bunch of different high end furniture makers went about their craft.

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 4954 days

#10 posted 10-24-2009 01:52 AM

I think a cross between Norm Abram and David Marks would be ideal. Norm being pragmatic and David being artistic. I enjoyed watching both for different reasons.

-- Working at Woodworking

View kolwdwrkr's profile


2824 posts in 4605 days

#11 posted 10-24-2009 02:14 AM

Bently, I believe that show was called “modern masters” on HGTV. One of my favorite shows. Well almost like it. Just like Woodworks, Norm, or any other woodworking show that isnt gay, it was cancelled. WoodWorks was a great show. I think we need a show with realizm, where we see everything and nothing is magically built on the down time to make the series go faster.

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

View SwedishIron's profile


142 posts in 4656 days

#12 posted 10-24-2009 04:12 AM

Modern Masters was a great show… showing peoples talents across a diverse set of crafts and art forms.

-- Scott, Colorado

View scottishrose's profile


110 posts in 4181 days

#13 posted 10-24-2009 07:52 AM

Since Norm came from TOH, I kind of like the format they have developed – although I havn’t seen it for a long time. They spend the first 40 or so minutes working on the house, then go into the shop where they answered people’s questions. The folks on the show would go to the people’s homes and have them work alongside getting the project done. A good ensemble cast would include men and women with different specialties. (woodcarving, joinery, inlay and marquetry, upholstry, etc. and good basic projects for beginners as well as more advanced projects to inspire those who need a little inspiration.
I hate that those shows are always all male. There are quite a lot of women woodworkers out here and women would be encouraging to those of us who have been chased out of the shop all our lives.

Museum and manufacturer’s field trips would be a good inclusion if they related to the subject at hand or introduce a new product. For instance I would like to see how they make bamboo plywood. It’s new, green (sort of) and not what everyone is used to seeing down at the HD. Of course mastercraftspeople could be invited on as a guest to show something really inspiring. Kind of like Roy Underhill does – kinda folksey, yet he gets it and askes questions of the master that we are all wondering.

If you want it ya gotta support your local PBS station. Telling them what you want when you subscribe will go a long way to getting it. There are over 12,000 of us, last time I checked – we do have a say if we put ourselves out there.

View FlWoodRat's profile


732 posts in 4924 days

#14 posted 10-24-2009 11:44 AM

To start let me say this is going to take a a few minutes to read.

What needs to be in the show is content that both entertains and informs the viewers, and from the underwriters’ perspectives, drives brand recognition and sales of their products. As such you have two distinct clients (the viewers and the sponsors), each with different objectives.

For the sake of argument, let us assume that the sponsors’ objectives are similar and will remain constant; to drive sales of their products.

The objectives of the viewing audience will be more diversified. Some may seek only entertainment. Other will watch to learn. Some want to be challenged.

Countless years of television have proven that viewers will watch many shows once. The result of that are “Pilots” that never get picked up by the network. Some will watch a few times then stop. The result of that is a show that runs one season and gets no re-airs through syndication. Others will remain loyal fans for decades. We all know what those results are.

This boils down to the real question. “What would make someone a loyal long term fan of a Saturday Morning Woodworking Show?”

The simple answer is “Tommy MacDonald or someone like him hosting the show.”

The next question is “Why?”.

The answer is:

1. Tommy MacDonald knows what he is doing. The Man can definitely wear the “Got Skills” T-Shirt

2. He lives his passion for his craft.

3. He recognizes his own limitations and seeks others to teach him or allows those with better skills to support his work.

4. He wants his fellow woodworkers to embrace a goal of constant improvement in all areas of the craft,

5. He knows how to inspire people to seek progress, to seek excellence, and to grow in their woodworking skills.

Now, to substantiate these plaudits:

1. Look at his body of works. Nothing more need be said here.
2. Assess the countless hours of toil he has spent producing his work AND driving the formation and growth of MLW/207, his support of LJ’s, etc.

3. Tommy delegates the “finishing process” of his masterpieces to those who can do it the best. He seeks out the help of proven mentors from TSBS. He also identifies his own woodworking performance issues and then shows how to fix them.

4. His video series from ‘the old T-Chisel’ days are full of content that demonstrates the HOW TO aspects of wood working, with a constant message of ‘do the best you can, learn from your mistakes, and move on’. And, if you have to do again to make it right…Just do it.

5. He’s brought new woodworkers into his shop. He routinely visits TSBS to identify and mentor new talent. He provides legitimate critical comments to those who post their work.

From my perspective he has the ability to teach us how to be better woodworkers, is entertaining and would probably make a great TV show host of a long running show.


-- I love the smell of sawdust in the morning....

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

7140 posts in 4209 days

#15 posted 10-24-2009 06:53 PM

Who is Tommy MacDonald and Charles Neil? Never heard of either one of these guys? +1 for tbone. I lost interest also in the NYW, because some of the things N.A. built didn’t appeal to me. I liked the simple stuff, like coffeee tables, hall tables, etc. Pretty simple furniture you could make easily. Like his router table and shop jigs and assembly table. Things for the shop and home. But the best help for us was the
videos, DVDs, and plans. I’ve got several, and they are a great help to all woodworkers from the novice beginner, the cabinetmakers, to the master craftsman. I wish I fit in there, somewhere. Oh well—someday maybe. Give me a show like that, and I’ll watch it, and hopefully learn something. Just my perspective.

-- " There's a better way.....find it"...... Thomas Edison.

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