"This Old House is partnering with New Yankee Workshop to make all 21 seasons of
Norm Abram's classic fine-woodworking program available again! Soon you'll be
able to stream every episode of NYW, with the option to purchase the plans for
each project Norm makes on the show."
In the same episode he used his RAS (do you 'spose it was one that was
recalled?) with a wobble dado and his drill press which was actually a
Shopsmith. Because of him I got a dado like his and used the heck out of
it til I gave it to my son. He uses it today.
I'm not saying you are Mike, but a lot of people poo-poo Norm's
techniques. If you watch an episode from each season 1st to last you'll
see his skills improve. He was like the rest of us that got our skills
from Hard Knocks. He may have been just a notch better than the rest of
us wood butchers when he started the show, but like most of us he got
better (and so did his tools) with every project.
I was always appreciative of his show. I wouldn't miss it. When my
oldest son was a submariner, I'd send pirated VCR tapes to him so they
could watch his show too. When I missed sending a couple tapes on time I
got a phone call from the Captain explaining he was trying to prevent a
mutiny "so send those tapes" as everyone on the boat looked forward to them.
Like you, I learned A LOT by watching Norm. I'm a woodworker today
because I was inspired by him, so that I became interested in watching
similar programs plus YouTube videos. As a result, today I have a
hobby that allows me to make things that are both useful and
attractive. It's very rewarding.
On Monday, June 18, 2018 at 8:02:07 PM UTC-5, Spalted Walt wrote:
Questions about Season 1, Episode 1, the oak medicine cabinet:
1) Does he really need to nail on the face frame? Won't the glue hold it in place?
2) Does he need the dowels to hold his thru-tenon on the door? Won't the glue alone hold that joint place also?
I would be inclined just to use glue, but maybe I'm wrong about that.
Norm has said it any number of times - he used the brads to hold
things together (sans clamps) long enough for the glue to set. That
is, bradss are a temporary solution to the final solution, the glue.
On Tuesday, June 19, 2018 at 9:13:55 AM UTC-5, Spalted Walt wrote:
You've got me turned around on the dowels for the door. I prefer the look without the dowels, but I can see where others would prefer the dowel look and the additional strength.
About using brads/nails as temporary clamps, I would not like the look of the fill hole at the top of the face frame.
If had a nickel for every time he said "to hold in place while the glue
I always figured a lot of his tool and production choices were driven by
the fact that he had tool sponsors who wanted (as in expected/demanded)
their tools be front and foremost to continue the financial backing...
On Tuesday, June 19, 2018 at 12:45:03 PM UTC-5, dpb wrote:
I never understood the hysterical screeching that surfaced here and other w
oodworking venues when he used the brad gun. It's just a small trim nail..
. to me it was a good idea. I never watched Norm until the last few years
he was on, so I don't know if he represented it as some "super tool" or "ul
timate woodworking solution" to draw the ire of the home woodworker. It wa
s awful on Sawmill Creek.
I didn't understand it because by the time I found the opportunity to watch
it on a Saturday afternoon he just pulled out the brad gun and pegged some
thing as needed. Although we didn't have pneumatic tools back then on the j
ob (only framing guns) we had been using "a" screw or "a" nail to hold thin
gs in place while glues set for many years.
The only thing I ever had a real problem with that Norm did was trying to w
atch his finishing. As a professional finisher/refinisher, it was really p
ainful sometimes to see the wrong materials used, materials applied incorre
ctly, and incorrect prep procedures.
I thought a lot of his projects were pretty interesting, but as I said I di
dn't seem them until the run of the show was about 75% or more complete.
On Tuesday, June 19, 2018 at 5:57:42 PM UTC-5, email@example.com wrote:
watch his finishing. As a professional finisher/refinisher, it was really
painful sometimes to see the wrong materials used, materials applied incor
rectly, and incorrect prep procedures.
Pretty sure Norm started out life as a carpenter, home builder. Not as a f
ine furniture woodworker. So for him a paint brush or roller and paint or
varnish was finishing. Maybe he also had experience with rubbing boiled li
nseed oil on something too.
On 6/19/2018 5:57 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
As another says, he started as carpenter and the projects weren't
intended as anything but what they were as beginning to intermediate
handyman projects for the amateur.
Many (and, I'd wager of those who did, a very low percentage were truly
of markedly higher skill sets) wanted to judge as if he were building
high-quality reproductions or the like.
On Tuesday, June 19, 2018 at 7:18:26 PM UTC-5, dpb wrote:
I have to agree with both of you. I just watched a couple of his videos. S
eason 1, episodes 1&2. You hit it on the head. It is a thirty year old vid
eo and the techniques and designs reflect that. The shop was cleaned out an
d not at all crowded. I got a real kick out of him using a radial arm saw,
a drill press that I swear was a Shop Smith, and a Makita router with the b
adge taken off.
He made a shaker style medicine cabinet and it was a walk down memory lane.
He NAILED the rails and stiles on the face of the cabinet (the way I was
taught!)and had no brad nailer. He nailed till flush and then counter sunk
the nail with a set.
He screwed the back of the cabinet on with 1" sheetrock screws. Instead of
using nice (or decorative) hinges, he used a full door length brass piano h
inge. He even pinned the corner of the door joinery with a couple of dowel
s, and ground them off with a belt sander. When finished, he rounded over
the door edges with a hand held router, no table.
I have to say this, it sure made woodworking look "doable", and accessible.
The finishing... well, he could have spent a day or so in the library to
help that out.
Yeah, I see that all the time. I started out as a trade carpenter that did
everything from setting concrete forms to site building cabinets. When I g
o to an amateur's home, I find that the guys that have the MOST skills are
the most humble and are almost shy about their efforts. I have seen a lot
of good work from home shops over the years. But I have to bite my tongue
around the braggarts that go on and on and on because they are so proud abo
ut their minimal skills and very few rudimentary projects.
Worse are the guys that think because the have spent a fortune on tools, it
has somehow brought their skill level up to match the amount of money they
have in those tools. With $20K in tools and a dedicated shop, they think t
hey are experts. Coincidentally, almost without exception the guys that ha
ve the most money in tools and the most expensive tools seem to do very few
projects. They sure like to talk about woodwork, cabinet building, and th
e things they are "thinking" about doing.
I remember when Norm came to Woodcraft as a promotion a couple of different
times. The guys that hung around him for a bit and then took him to dinne
r said he was a really nice guy, soft spoken and polite. They did tell me
on both trips the last thing he wanted to talk about was anything to do wit
Yeah but if you are actually selling your work and or trying to make a
living you would be using a nail gun too. I do. ;~)
While not using a nail gun or similar short cut tool is nothing any of
us want to do, it saves time and time is.......money..
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