Norm's Tools

Click on the picture for a surprise.

The Master Woodbutcher
 has no affiliation with
 Morash Productions or WGBH
Everything You've Wanted to Know About
The New Yankee Workshop

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It Had to Happen

Russ Morash, creator and producer of The New Yankee Workshop announced on 16 October 2009 that no new production of the show would occur. All parties are celebrating the success of the series in its twenty year run of original programming, as well they should. It is this site’s opinion that a significant percentage of woodworking tools, outlets, fora, and new woodworkers can be laid squarely at the door of Norm Abram, Russell Morash, and The New Yankee Workshop.

And Now, On to the Rest of the Narrative

Once upon a time near the end of the last century I was involved in a thread on one of the internet woodworking forums regarding some tools that may or may not have appeared on The New Yankee Workshop, the Norm Abram woodworking show that appears on PBS. Good grief, if you're here, I shouldn't have to explain that. As the discussion progressed it became apparent that I had forgotten some, erroneously identified some, was plain wrong about some, but nobody else was doing much better. If you've had similar experiences or have questions about the tool complement, you could contact the folks at the NYW website, but they get a lot of traffic, the responses can take a long time to get posted, and they don't always provide the detail you might want.

This site is my contribution to resolving that problem. I have taped every episode that has been broadcast to date. I have watched each episode (several times in most cases) with a checksheet in hand and noted the featured tools, new tools, and regular fixtures that appeared during each project. And, if you want the excruciating details of, click on how this site started, or the “Genesis” button above.

There were 260 episodes produced (the 21st Season consisted of reprises of Seasons 9 & 10). Here's my list of them compiled into a comprehensive Episode Guide. I've viewed all of them and I have this page organized in a way that you can look for a particular tool, see when it first appeared (and for how long in many cases), and verify in your own arguments in the woodshop that, yes indeed, Norm actually did use a DeWalt tool back in 1994, and a few times since (a common belief is that Norm hasn't used any DeWalt or Milwaukee tools during the entire run of the show).

There were some cases where I was not able to initially identify a tool and/or was unable to get an answer from the NYW people. But eventually, after continued searching, assistance from visitors to the site, some detective work of my own, and just plain luck, I was able to identify every major tool and most of the smaller ones. If there is any supplemental information that you can contribute to this project, please contact me via the link below.

I think there are only a couple of staplers and an odd C-clamp that I don't have, and nailing them down is beyond the scope of this resource as I conceived it. I consider the project complete insofar as Season 20 was the final new content season.

So, here is what I have. I hesitate to call this work definitive, but I'm unaware of any other place on the Web where you can get all of the information that is here. To take a look at a list of Norm's tools, along with an approximate range of appearances and other pertinent information as well as pictures and descriptions of each, click on the link. On future visits, just click on the hot button at the top of the page.

If you're looking for a quick answer to questions that won't be found in the tool lists, check my NYW FAQ page. If you still have questions, e-mail me and A) I'll try and get the answer, and 2) I'll add it to the FAQ.

Here's a recently published page with a comprehensive array of articles, MP3 interviews, and videos about Norm and The New Yankee Workshop: As described at Phillip Wise's site (next paragraph), “…hours of delight.”

Last but not least, here is another Norm fan site that's worth a look. He has a lot of archival shopcam material, among other interesting stuff, including a lot of This Old House references.

Last updated: 5 December 2007