New To WW - What Is With All The Norm Bashing?

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As a child, I always enjoyed tooling around in our garage. I built a few 2x4 and plywood tables and other projects. When I left home around age 20, I was off in apartments for a number of years. Over the last couple of years I have watched NYW, Norm, and TOH on PBS. It rekindled my interest in woodworking, and I vowed to create a shop and build projects once I had the space.
Well, I have a decent shop now. A TS, a jointer, a compound miter saw, and some hand power tools.
Norm is the guy who got me interested in woodworking. He has inspired me to take up this great hobby. Maybe it is my ignorance, but I have always been impressed by what I see him produce. I am not so stupid as to not realize that he makes mistakes, and for the sake of TV time, the mistakes aren't shown. I realize that it would not be as easy as Norm made it look.
I've been lurking here on this NG on and off. I've come for tool reveiws, solutions to problems, etc. And I noticed here and there a war that has gone on for a very long time on this NG - to Norm or not to Norm.
Why?
What, specifically, is so bad about Norm? If he has been my main source of learning and inspiration, will I be damned to a future of poor quality projects?
I see that a lot of the fighting comes from the "purist" hand toolers vs. the Norm power toolers. Some people seem to be offended just by the fact that he uses power tools. It is interesting to note that in Norm's first book, he mentions how he grew up using hand tools, and mentions the skills that his dad taught him. He says NYW is a departure for him from those teachings, and a chance to use power tools to build traditional furniture.
So, two questions from a ww newbie:
How am I being harmed in my quest to make nice projects if I follow Norm's techniques? What are specific things he does that are "bad" and what are the "better" ways of doing them?
Thanks for your comments.
Thanks, Brian
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (BJS) writes:

Brian,
The NYW has been an inspiration to many people. So don't let the negative influence get to you. Those do-it-yourself show are designed to do just that. Get people thinking in a direction to start doing it yourself. I think Norm is a great example of that. That he deserves the title Master Craftsman (or whatever that title he has) or not I cannot say. I think that would depend if he could sell enough of his work or not. Because lets face it being a Master at anything means nothing if nobody likes it enough to buy it.
Take time to learn the skills of Norm. But don't stop there. Because there are a lot of great woodworkers out there. Some who are safety minded some who are not. Some who use brads to hold it together while the glue dries some who use only clamps. Use what works for you. If it doesn't look good to you don't use it. If it ever gets down to selling your stuff then you will have to do what the customer will buy.
You know safety is important. And, we here cannot stress enough about it. But, I remember Sam Maloof saying something about the danger of way he uses the bandsaw to freehand his work. I am not telling you to go out and put yourself into a dangerous situation by this comment. But, Sam Maloof I would consider a Master Craftsman. He does stuff that is not safe. Does that make him any less a Master? Hell, no.
These guys are great guys here. They know a lot about woodworking. But, take it with a grain of salt. Some are jealous, some are talking out their ass and some are Masters. But. unless you can separate who is what beware. In any case everybody has a different style in the way they work. Try to take something from everybody. Eliminate the garbage and keep the good.
Roy Roy
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(BJS) writes:

<SNIP>> These guys are great guys here. They know a lot about woodworking. But, take it

some
something
Damn, I hate it when someone actually make sense through logical thinking. How un-wreck-like.
Glen
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Hear hear Roy!! Very well said. I think that about covers it.
Jim
(BJS) writes:

that.
Norm is

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take it

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something
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JOAT, you owe me a keyboard. Ever try to get half-chewed peanuts out of a keyboard?
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The Other James wrote:

Depends on which end they came from (tm Webster Steve).
Any corn in there (more tm Webster Steve)?
UA100
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On 9 Dec 2003 00:16:47 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (BJS) wrote:

We (generally) have a very high regard for Norm.
So we're especially saddened to see him _almost_ make something really good, but foul it up at the last minute - usually by some tar-pit of a finish from a tin. We know the guy could do better !
I understand why corners get cut for a TV program. But I'd still love to see a bit more where he made something quick and simple, but demonstrated some real finishing on it.
-- Die Gotterspammerung - Junkmail of the Gods
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On 9 Dec 2003 00:16:47 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (BJS) wrote:
And once more they will follow El Cid into battle, even though he is already dead.
Regards, Tom Thomas J. Watson-Cabinetmaker Gulph Mills, Pennsylvania http://users.snip.net/~tjwatson
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    Greetings and Salutations.
wrote:

    The thing that amazes me is that we have gone at least three or four months without a Norm thread. Wonder if the original poster is one of Norm's interns, trying to keep his name in the news?     In any case as I have mentioned before, I like NYW, and part of the pleasure was going from "hum...I might could do that" to "Yea, I can do that" to "Haw...I can do that BETTER"     He is an engaging and pleasant fellow who is a great spokesman for the hobby, and, has introduced many folks to it in a non-threatening way...what more could we ask for...especially since David Marks is on the air now!     Regards     Dave Mundt
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I see a lot of truths in this thread and also a lot of jealousy because someone is making money from WW. Some of these people would like to be in their shoes.
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I love watching TOH and NYW. I actually think TOH has gone down hill though. They used to show how things were done in more detail, now they just gloss over it and send the host somewhere to showcase some historic landmark or what not. With that being said, it is a lot better than most of the DIY shows geared toward retarded homeowners. I worked for several years in professional carpentry and most of the crap they show is so dumbed down it's pathetic. I would rather watch how pro's accomplish something than some dumb blond with a toll apron reading a script. About Norm, however, what frustrates a new woodworker like me is that Norm rarely shows how to do something without "this or that " power tool. I figure that most people watching his show are hobbyists or beginners and don't own the array of tools he uses. The people that do own that many tools are mostly professionals or more experienced and don't have much to gain from watching him.( except entertainment value and to critique his work). OTOH, he does have to appeal to a wide range of viewers. A very good show that I was sad to see go was " Furniture to Go". It focused on finishing/refinishing and upholstering. They regularly bagged on Norm and showcased some excellent techniques.

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On Wed, 10 Dec 2003 23:23:03 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (George G) wrote:

"that ain't workin' - that's the way you do it - money for nothin' and the chicks for free."
Regards, Tom Thomas J. Watson-Cabinetmaker Gulph Mills, Pennsylvania 19428 http://users.snip.net/~tjwatson
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What a groove they had, Dire Straits.
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 9/21/03
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Every time I saw them I had a new "best show I've ever seen". <G>
Barry
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Being a bass player, I am a sucker for a 'groove'. There are some bands where the rhythm section's hearts beat together and they meet on top of the beat and shake hands: Dire Straits, Neville Brothers, Little Feat, New Grass Revival, Big Twist and The Mellow Fellows, Wailing Wailers, are at the top of my all time list in this department.
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 9/21/03
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That's funny, same here.
Barry
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We could ask for David to broaden h is horizons beyond satellite tv - say, into cable so more of us could watch his show!
Renata
On Tue, 09 Dec 2003 17:55:36 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@esper.com (Dave Mundt) wrote:

--snip--
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I love Norm, but I think the main beef is that he seems to nail EVERYTHING together. You don't need nails, just glue and a crapload of clamps. The nails do nothing but hold the piece together while the glue dries, and they put holes in an otherwise nice surface.
Otherwise, I have to say, I would know the difference between a mortise and a tenon if it weren't for Norm.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Larry Bud) wrote in message

My son-in-law and I like to joke about 'Nailgun Norm'.
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With a nailgun, you can keep working, you don't need to wait for the glue to set. Not so with clamps, since they often clamp right where the next piece goes. That's a good reason for Norm to use a nailgun, and a good reason for weakend furniture makers too.
OTOH, there is a certain satisfaction making furniture that has no metal in it. Side note: In the 70's GE had an entire building made without any steel or iron in it, to do experiments with the big superconducting magnets they use in NMR imaging (now called MRI) machines.
--
Dennis M. O'Connor snipped-for-privacy@primenet.com



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