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Forum topic by a1Jim posted 01-31-2017 08:36 PM 7756 views 0 times favorited 70 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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117800 posts in 4144 days

01-31-2017 08:36 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Hi friends
I was thinking about some of the TV woodworking shows and other shows I’ve watched over the years like Norms New Yankee workshops, This old house, Woodsmith, the Woodright shop, rough cut , David Marks and even shows like Barnwood builders and how it’s made.
I was trying to think what I liked best, was it just the how to part of these shows or perhaps seeing some background or history of how certain items are made and the people who made them ? I came to the conclusion it wasn’t just the how to part of the shows but the host visiting other woodworkers, Museums and factories and the host take on what Items he went to look at that kept my interest.

What are your thoughts ? do you watch woodworking shows ?

(A) Is it just the how to part of the show you like?

(B) The visits to out of shop locations.

(C) The contrast of how (whatever) is made now versus the past.

(D) Woodshop or tool envy.

(E) all of the above.

Or should they offer something more to make the shops more interesting or informative to the viewers?

70 replies so far

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 4279 days

#1 posted 01-31-2017 09:03 PM

Jim, I have not watched a woodworking show in I would guess 5 plus years. I enjoyed the few episodes of New Yankee and The Woodwright but I was not doing woodworking at the time I saw them. I saw a couple of episodes of Rough Cuts (on the web not TV) and did not enjoy the ‘artificiality’ of the ‘big’ production show. I like when podcasters or YouTubers create great content on any topic under the sun. I would trade ‘professional’ for quality content and accessibility any day. Norm’s show was frustrating in that it was soooo easy for him to create these elaborate projects and never made any mistakes so never showed how to recover from one. Woodright shop had good pacing and a more approachable style but I never did get to see more than a few before they started being shown on the internet. I like Stumpy Nubs, Marc Spaganolo, Jimmy Diresta and a host of other folks that are essentially one man shows, or at least very small teams, when it comes to production and content creation. There is no way PBS or any other network could touch the variety and volume of material these folks put out, it reminds me more of the days when radio and TV stations were local concerns broadcasting to their local market, not a homogeneous media blob coming from ‘far away’. Well I will get off my soap box now, that’s for posting this interesting topic.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View DocSavage45's profile


8874 posts in 3409 days

#2 posted 01-31-2017 09:13 PM


You should get a lot of responses here, especially from the ”Old Timers” LOL! Since I was primarily doing house repair and building Norm, This Old House “Tommy Silva” always gave me inspiration. “I wanna be like Norm” ????

Sold a lot of Delta, and Craftsman stuff ‘cause Norm used it. Norm was detailed and simple even if scripted. And he chose methods and projects that fit the do it yourselfer. I think identifying with the host was important.

I like that women are Makers and Woodworkers now. Woodworking now is internet driven and content as well as host centered.

Norm was the master of creating envy in both tools and shop. And now tool manufacturers are following suit on the internet.

I’m still an excited “voyeur” and love my wood porn as Dallas used to call it

It should be an interesting topic.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Don Butler's profile

Don Butler

1092 posts in 3962 days

#3 posted 01-31-2017 09:36 PM


For me, it’s A!

I don’t think I’ll ever buy another tool and all that buddy-buddy stuff doesn’t interest me much.


-- No trees were damaged in posting this message, but thousands of electrons were seriously inconvenienced.

View knotscott's profile


8347 posts in 3942 days

#4 posted 01-31-2017 09:38 PM

I like seeing the big shops, learning tips, and just watching how they build a project.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View sawdustdad's profile


379 posts in 1452 days

#5 posted 01-31-2017 09:49 PM

I’ve watched them all, from time to time. Norm Abram was a favorite for efficient use of power tools and basic joinery techniques. David Marks taught me to pay attention to figure and finish. I miss his show more than any of them. I still watch Roy Underhill from time to time, just for the love of wood and use of hand tools. Tommy Mac is OK, but he doesn’t do anything that I’d learn from. Same for Woodsmith. I’ve built dozens of woodsmith projects over the years, but all before the TV show. The TV show is “too produced” for my taste.

I still make an effort to watch This Old House, as I’m pretty much always doing some sort of home improvement project and they usually show the latest and greatest materials and technologies.

-- Murphy's Carpentry Corollary #3: Half of all boards cut to a specific length will be too short.

View HorizontalMike's profile


7804 posts in 3481 days

#6 posted 01-31-2017 09:55 PM

Ah crap Jim… The Doc… has a point, at least in salesmanship. However, in actually totally and the respectful situations and usefulness, I insist that you are my “go-to” guy along with Charles Neil… You BOTH are both great!...

Never sweat your usefulness…

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View a1Jim's profile


117800 posts in 4144 days

#7 posted 01-31-2017 11:11 PM

Interesting input guys ,lots of good points
Mike that’s pretty amazing you include Charles along with me,I’ll have you know I taught Charles
everything I don’t know LOL Charles is my go-to guy too.Thanks for your kind words.

View hotbyte's profile


1000 posts in 3542 days

#8 posted 01-31-2017 11:59 PM

I think the biggest thing is that it’s a topic that interests me so I enjoy most all of the shows. I started with TOH and Norm in late 80’s. I still enjoy TOH, Ask TOH and Woodsmith. Lately the YouTube channels have been my main go to. Some are informative, some are entertaining and some both. Tom Fidgen is probably one I’ve enjoyed most since Norm.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18745 posts in 4242 days

#9 posted 02-01-2017 02:35 AM

Hi Jim, Roy is still my all time favorite. Norm was interesting and so were Tommy Mac and the Woodsmith shop. I haven’t watched many online. Those were on the local PBS station.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View BB1's profile


1508 posts in 1415 days

#10 posted 02-01-2017 02:56 AM

I have Woodsmith cds and watch them for the how-to aspect. I had no woodworking background when I got started a few years ago and so I needed the instruction that most on this site would find boring or basic. I view youtube videos as well when I have a chance (Wood Whisperer, WWMM Steve Ramsey, and others). Then I found LJ and have learned much from just reading through responses to questions and viewing projects. Also a fan of This Old House. So, to answer the question…A is the main reason and then also a bit of D.

View corelz125's profile


936 posts in 1543 days

#11 posted 02-01-2017 03:01 AM

All the shows are interesting i just have a hard time staying awake for the entire episode

View BenDupre's profile


724 posts in 1054 days

#12 posted 02-01-2017 03:02 AM

I am a woodshow junkie and for that matter i would choose PBS over just about any content on TV. For me I learned techniques from watching these shows. I have watched all my life but never really had a chance to outfit a shop and start working until about a year ago. I also liked how just about every project Norm did started with a look at the antique original. I had a chance to visit August Home publishing in DesMoines once. This was before the woodsmith TV show. They teach some really solid techniques. Scott Phillips I also enjoy although someone needs to take away his Kreg jigs. Tommy is a real artist but he needs to take about 10 shows to go into the details of some of the finer projects he makes. There once was a show i used to watch where two guys made everything using just routers. Good topic!

-- The problem with communication is the illusion that it has occurred. – George Bernard Shaw

View socrbent's profile


900 posts in 2836 days

#13 posted 02-01-2017 03:17 AM

I have enjoyed and learned from many of the shows. As my woodworking knowledge has grown (some as a result of the shows, some from experience and some from the internet) how I watch the shows has changed. I’m better able to perceive sales spiels, prize the historic background and understand the problems presented.

I get a lot now from this website and several YouTube channels.

The most recent treasure I’ve found is LJ Paul Sellers YouTube channel. If you haven’t seen his videos, I highly recommend you give them a look.

-- socrbent Ohio

View Woodknack's profile


12950 posts in 2947 days

#14 posted 02-01-2017 06:54 AM

My all time favorite is still Norm. He had charisma and the perfect show format. His antique visits were the weakest part of the show but they were relevant to what he built (kinda usually). Norm had a knack for putting the steps in a logical sequence and telling you why he was doing things, which what I enjoyed the most. The show had a lot of variety too.

Close second is The Woodwright’s Shop. Roy has good showmanship and is well educated in the arts. I enjoy it when he uses woodworking to pontificate about history or philosophy, or relates history to his project. I also appreciate that Roy led the way to preserve hand tool woodworking against the juggernaut that was Norm + Delta.

Third would be Tommy Mac who sort of copied New Yankee Workshop but isn’t as logical or organized as Norm. Tommy’s projects are among the most complex I’ve seen on any tv show and I respect that. He is definitely a well educated and talented craftsman. I believe the weaknesses in his show, including the manic pace, are the fault of the producers and not Tommy Mac.

There are also quite a few youtube woodworking channels that are entertaining and sometimes educational.

-- Rick M,

View Tabletop's profile


139 posts in 1314 days

#15 posted 02-01-2017 09:31 AM

Great topic Jim! I like them all but my favorite is/was The New Yankee Workshop. My dad is a diy’er and watched it so we all had to watch it. When I was a kid I was the remote and we only had 4 channels, PBS being one of them. Lol. I remember thinking if that goof ball , Norm, could do that then I surely could. Lol! Now Norm has gone from “goofball” to “The Man” in my opinion.

Back to your question, all of the above. I like it all. I would add a couple more that may or may not make any sense, nostalgia and peaceful. Like right now I’m thinking of those shows mentioned throughout this topic and can’t stop smiling, good stuff.

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