Norm

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That was a funny bit of ATOH footage. (I think, btw, that the spelling for what he was talking about - as opposed to what she thought he was saying - would be "tawp".)
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Owen Lowe
The Fly-by-Night Copper Company
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<<On another episode he had done some job in Cambridge and in the discussion after the segment the three others (Kevin O'Connor, Rich Trethewey, and Tom Silva) tricked him into saying something to the effect that he had to, "pahk the cah in Hahvahd yahd." He caught himself just afterward as the others were rolling on the floor.>>
It's funny that Trethewey was in on that gag considering that in the early years of TOH he used to say "bahth" and "bahthroom" and trained himself (probably at the insistence of the producers) to say those words the way the rest of us do.
Lee
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Sure, I think Norm is great at what he does. I don't make fun of him, he's better at what he builds than I am. And I do record his shows every Saturday, but only for the purpose of giving me ideas for my own projects. If I was going to build something that Norm has built, I'd modify it for my use. As well, I've reached the point where I wouldn't need his plans, just the video would be sufficient for me to design for myself.
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Locutus wrote:

Well, that all depends on what you've been led to believe.
If you believe Norm Abram is a hard-working, efficient woodworker with a knack for choosing appealing projects and a lot of good old carpentry know-how, you're right.
If you believe Norm is acknowledged as one of the woodworking greats of all time, wrong. He's not in the same league as Krenov, Maloof, Frid, et al., and he would probably be the first to admit it.
If you believe Norm has done a great deal to increase the popular appeal and accessibility of woodworking, right.
If you believe Norm is a flawless role model for woodworking craftsmanship, wrong.
If you believe that luck, connections, personality, and perseverance (not necessarily raw talent) are the secrets of Norm's success as a celebrity woodworker, right.
If you think that "Master Carpenter" is some kind of hard-earned, recognized distinction, wrong. (Russ Morash, the producer of TOH and NYW, made up the title).
JMHO, of course.
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I agree with most of what you wrote but I would also add that Krenov, Maloof, Frid, et al., may not be in the same league as Norm when it comes to standard carpentry. One has to remember Norm is a carpenter and can probably do things the "artist" would have trouble doing.
again...JMHO, of course
Gary
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Who is a flawless role model for woodworking craftmanship?
Or anything else, for that matter.
-jav
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Locutus wrote:

One of the reasons I got into woodworking was watching Norm work on projects. I realized at the time that I'd never have all of the tools that appear on the shows, but I was OK with that.
I'm not sure if half the darts thrown in this group at him are just tool envy, but I suspect there's a bit of that. The underwriters have a showcase for their fancy tools, we get a woodworking show in return. No underwriters, no show. So what if he has a wide belt sander that's more expensive than many people's cars?
The other perennial targets are his use of the brad nailer, and the finishes. Apparently, he's unholy for not using clamps alone. Whatever works for him, I guess. And since I didn't buy the cherry or walnut he uses on his projects, I don't see it as a cardinal sin when he slathers some thick dark finish on them.
I guess the final conclusion is that I can't get too worked up about a TV show. I enjoy watching The New Yankee Workshop, I hope they continue shooting new episodes.
-jav
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wrote:

I think you're missing the point. It's not the fact that Norm uses all power tools, it's the fact that he's producing a show aimed mainly at beginners who won't have access to those tools. There's nothing wrong with the tools, but I think there's something questionable about suggesting that woodworking can't be done without them. I think it's going to drive some people on a budget away from the hobby, just because it gives the impression you need a huge, well-stocked workshop to do anything.

There's a right way and a wrong way to do things. When Norm is shooting brads into face frames where they'll be very visible in the end, that's the wrong way. Otherwise, I don't care what he does with them. There's a time and a place for every tool, but no tool that deserves to be used in every place and every time.
As far as the finishing, he's supposed to be showing how to do good work. If he hasn't learned how to finish, and in all the years he's been doing this, he should have learned something, then he shouldn't try showing it on TV. Have his staffers do the finishing and show the completed project at the end. It does no good to have beginning woodworkers look at his finishing techniques and say "Yuck".

I don't know of anyone getting worked up over it, but people are pointing out where a good show can, and should, be better. Is there something wrong with suggesting that there is room for improvement?
Norm is a fantastic guy in person, I've met him a couple times and he's the nicest guy you'd ever want to meet, I just wish he'd be able to correct a couple things on his TV show.
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Locutus wrote:

Q: How many WRECKers does it take to change a lightbulb? A: Eight -
1 to complain about Norm's lousy WWing skills 1 to complain that you're using the wrong tools 1 to make fun of anything Craftsman 1 to say "I could do it better/faster if I really wanted to" 1 to blame Bush because the bulb burned out in the first place 1 to argue that no external intelligence is necessary to change the bulb 1 to pine for Phully to come back and change the bulb for us 1 to curse anyone who dares to suggest the bulb actually needs replacing
In the end, someone else has to change the bulb.
I've watched Norm for years and even read one of his books. He is a master craftsman. This doesn't mean that I like everything he makes, it means he knows what he's doing. People confuse skill and style. The first is inarguable, the second is always a matter of opinion. Don't let the Nabobs Of Negativity influence your interest in his (or any other craftsman's) work.
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Tim Daneliuk snipped-for-privacy@tundraware.com
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Tue, Feb 28, 2006, 4:31pm: snipped-for-privacy@Locutus.com (Locutus) doth wonder: I love watching NYWS and TOH, but it seems like any references to him on here are people making fun of him. Is Norm not as good as we are lead to believe?
All you have to remember is: Norm is good. Roy is good. Bob is evil.
Anyway, you've got to admire anyone who can make a piece of furniture in a half-hour, including commercials.
JOAT I'd like to give you a going away present. Just do your part.
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My problem with Norm's show is watching him push piece after piece through his machines. How about cutting those parts of the show and a little more on setup etc. I have been watching and respecting Norm long before he built the medicine cabinet. I think the fit and finish of his joints is superb. I don't use brads to hold it while the glue dries and my favorite wood is cherry and my favorite finish is Danish oil, sometimes with a coat or two of poly. If I could afford the tools he has I would have them also. I still watch his show and the reruns faithfully, although I do tend to doze off now and again watching him push wood through tue table sawrer or routah.

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<<My problem with Norm's show is watching him push piece after piece through his machines. How about cutting those parts of the show and a little more on setup etc.>>
I agree that I'd like to see Norm do some of the setups but he has to make a few cuts on TV. Otherwise it would look like the pieces just appeared by magic. At least Norm generally makes only one demonstation cut per component. His way is a lot better than the Router Guys who cut every dado, every rabbet, every tongue and every groove on every piece of every project. That wouldn't be so bad if you could smell the sawdust.
Lee
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setups are amazing to watch too. Loosen and hit with your fist. You better get it right the first time because it will e hard to repeat anything.
As for Nahm, I cringe everytime I hear that lawyer mandated safety lecture. Since he does all kinds of things that I would never do safety wise. He just LOVES to run things through the tablesaw and router table with his fingers VERY close to some rapidly spinning metal.
Sometimes I put my hands in my pocket or behind me whenhe does that. It is hard to watch.
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On Thu, 2 Mar 2006 13:05:07 -0500, "Lee Michaels"

I've never seen them hit it with their fist; they always use their "fine adjusting tool" (a hammer), which actually is capable of a wide range of incremental impact forces. I thought it hilarious the first time I heard it several years ago and still find it amusing. It's also extremely effective.
In actuality, they are far more precise in their setups than a lot of "experts" are--as the elder points out, "ol' Bob don't measure much." They gauge most of their setups on actual tool and/or material dimensions, or gauge blocks, and rarely use any sort of measuring device, which could lead to memory or interpretive error.

Having watched every episode several times, I feel compelled to point out that the magic of long (telephoto) lenses often makes his fingers appear much closer to the blade than they actually are. If one is unaware of the foreshortening effects of such lenses it is easy to get the impression the fingers are dangerously close, when in reality, they are every bit as far away as you or I would have them.
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LRod

Master Woodbutcher and seasoned termite
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On Thu, 2 Mar 2006 13:05:07 -0500, "Lee Michaels"

Don't you love that? Every time I'm watching Norm and he goes into his "Let's take a moment to talk about shop safety", she always adds "And watch you ignore it all."
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stuff he's holding. Purple finger nails, band-aides, and healing cuts. He's definitly not superman.
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At least he hasn't bled all over a project like Roy Underhill does on a regular basis. :)
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David Hannu snipped-for-privacy@centurytel.net

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"David Hannu" wrote

The stain job he does would probably cover up the blood quite nicely.
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Locutus wrote:

Norm has a show, I don't...
Who am I to judge?
Barry
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Norm is how I got into woodworking. I havent seen him in a couple of years but enjoyed him when I did watch him. I watch David Marks now because of the hand tools use. He does some turning which I've gotton into. The guy turning on DIY I watch some as well. None of these people have projects that I ve built with norms router table ( not fence or top) the exception. What I'am looking for is techniques. I've been using blue tape at joints for easier glue clean up of joints. I use scrapers more now.Thanks DM. Lets find the positives that these crafters offer. Yes David has a $5000 + Oneway lathe but his technique works on my $100 Rockwell/Delta.
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