I discovered Norm...

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Forum topic by MattyMattAg posted 01-10-2015 05:32 PM 1632 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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43 posts in 1961 days

01-10-2015 05:32 PM

Topic tags/keywords: norm show

Don’t judge me!!

I’ve been woodworking for close to 3 years now and just stumbled upon his videos on YouTube. Don’t get me wrong… I knew who he was, but didn’t realize the wealth of knowledge he can provide just by watching his NYW show.

What I appreciate the most is how he does the same thing multiple different ways. One day he might cut tenons with a router, and the next day a RAS, and the next with a dado set on his TS. Love that!!

I noticed that most of his tools don’t have any labels on them. He uses a surface planer in some early episodes that’s is a beast, but I couldn’t tell what it was.

Any ideas to what he uses, brand wise, for different tools?

-- If Jesus was a carpenter, what better profession could there be?

14 replies so far

View bonesbr549's profile


1583 posts in 3544 days

#1 posted 01-10-2015 05:43 PM

Ahh Norm. I cut my teeth back in the early days with him. In his early days he did not have the sponsorships, so you saw diff tools. He did the most to bring WW to the masses of the hobbyist. However, he also sold me on biscuits, and that was the only bummer. I now realize that was a waste, but other than that, loved it. I would still be watching his show if he’d not retired. I’m surprised he’s not gone online with his own channel. Wonder what he’s up to these days.

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

View thechipcarver's profile


225 posts in 2055 days

#2 posted 01-10-2015 05:45 PM

I have read some articles about Norm over the years. The reason why you don’t see any “names” on the tools is becuase of the sponsors. Could you imagine all the money he would have to pay out for using a tool with “Brand X” on it.

I don’t know if he is partial to one brand but I have read he has “special” made tools just for him. Like the surface sander was made so he didn’t have to spend time sanding so much. I heard it was 3-4’ wide, not your average sander.

The New Yankee Workshop still has the website going if you want to check it out.

-- While teaching a class, a gentlemen once asked me: "When chip carving an intricate design, what do you do when you are almost finished and the wood breaks off?" I replied "Cover the kids ears."

View Dark_Lightning's profile


3510 posts in 3586 days

#3 posted 01-10-2015 08:11 PM

Norm moved into Shaker repro work, IIRC.

-- Steven.......Random Orbital Nailer

View bigblockyeti's profile


5893 posts in 2198 days

#4 posted 01-10-2015 09:02 PM

Norm was (and still is) in a class by himself. Many of his tools were simply the best of the best, mostly Makita, Porter Cable, Lamello, Hitachi and Delta to name a few. I’ve heard multiple reasons as to why many of his tools were obscured in such a way the brand name wasn’t visible. The one I most believe is Russel Morash’s assertion that the required level of sponsorship would detract too much from the content of the show. Later episodes were very much sponsored by both Porter Cable and Delta though I’m uncertain as to whether or not this began to happen before or after they both fell under the same parent company. Few if any of his tools were not available to the general public, aside from being very expensive, they just weren’t something too many contractors could justify. The wide belt sander (which anyone can buy) would be prohibitively expensive for all but the most tenured cabinet makers even by todays standards. I myself have looked into buying a used one and even after having most if not all the life beat out of them they can still command over $2000. If you want a good look at what he used, when and how often he used it check here:

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View firefighterontheside's profile


20509 posts in 2334 days

#5 posted 01-10-2015 09:25 PM

I was sold on biscuits by norm as well. I still use them often but not in the way that he always did. Also norm is still on new episodes of this old house.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View AandCstyle's profile


3219 posts in 2734 days

#6 posted 01-11-2015 01:42 AM

I don’t know, but I bet Norm spends a lot more time fishing and boating now. Most of what I know about woodworking I learned from Norm. Finally, the site indicated by bigblockyeti is THE definitive Norm resource; Rod Peterson did a great job of putting it together.

-- Art

View TheDane's profile


5669 posts in 4140 days

#7 posted 01-11-2015 02:01 AM

Wonder what he s up to these days.

Norm is still working … he is a regular cast member on the ‘This Old House’ TV show and writes for the TOH magazine. I’m sure he has a little more time to himself, but he hasn’t completely disappeared.

As to why the tool badges were blacked out, I believe Russell Morash produces his shows so they can be released into syndication. In other words, after they have satisfied their commitments to the original network or stations carrying them, they can be sold to other stations including commercial operations. The absence of tool badges, logos, etc. could make sale of commercial time easier (e.g. a sponsor that handles Jet and Powermatic wouldn’t want to buy time in a show with Delta and Porter-Cable plastered all over it).

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Woodknack's profile


12883 posts in 2857 days

#8 posted 01-11-2015 04:32 AM

I give Norm a lot of credit for motivating my woodworking. I started before his show but don’t know if I would have gone as far into the hobby as I did if not for him. Shame they don’t air reruns.

-- Rick M,

View DIYaholic's profile


19848 posts in 3152 days

#9 posted 01-11-2015 04:54 AM

Norm…. “It’s a dog eat dog world… & I’m wearing Milk Bone underwear”!!!

Opps… my bad…. Wrong Norm & wrong show.
But hey, both based in B’town!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View KevinL's profile


33 posts in 1828 days

#10 posted 01-11-2015 10:02 PM

Guessing it was about 18 years ago that Norm was doing and meet and greet / autographs session here in North Iowa at a big box store. My now 21 year old son and I would watch New Yankee Workshop every Saturday and my son always talked about Norman.

We got to the store early (number 2 in line) and my son got to sit on his lap and get his picture taken. Just my luck, the camera did not work. Sure wish that dad could have had a picture of that for my toolbox. He was very sincere talking with my son. Sure was a true Kodak moment.

-- KevinL

View jacksteel's profile


21 posts in 1710 days

#11 posted 01-11-2015 10:22 PM

I thought i would throw this is. Bob Vila who began with carer on this old house. Then one day he was gone and replaced. I creed a tear of two that day.

But I found out that SEARS/CRAFTSMAN was paying him to try to get all the contractors that were filmed to use Black Craftsman tools , and/but if they did not that he was to convince them to cover their Rybois, dewlaps and other blue red yellow paper tools with black ELECTRICAL tape they it would appear that they were all using Craftsman Tools.

He was warned many time to stop it but the PAYOLA must of been pretty good from Craftsman because he continued to do it and was eventually fire for it

-- In a time of universal deceit (today)- telling the truth is a revolutionary act. George Orwell

View hotbyte's profile


1000 posts in 3453 days

#12 posted 01-11-2015 10:32 PM

My first project was a bookcase from what I think was Norm’s first New Yankee Workshop book in late ‘80s. Daughter has it in her apartment now.

I remember one episode where he went to his closet to get a shirt out and every one was his signature plaid shirt :)

View JCantin's profile


179 posts in 3889 days

#13 posted 01-12-2015 02:01 PM

I’ve run into Mr. and Mrs. Norm shopping at Whole Foods locally in Mass. (really). When I shook his hand it was like meeting God.

View ohtimberwolf's profile


934 posts in 2829 days

#14 posted 01-12-2015 02:25 PM

Deleted this, link didn’t work.

-- Just a barn cat, now gone to cat heaven.

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