Saying Goodbye to Norm Abram and his New Yankee Workshop
After 21 seasons on the air bringing woodworking and home improvement education to millions of homes around the country (and around the world), Norm Abram and the crew behind the venerable PBS series The New Yankee Workshop are calling it quits.
I’ve been following the flood of reader commentary this week on FineWoodworking.com, which reported the story earlier this week after learning the news from Patrick Ramirez, a spokesperson for WGBH Boston, which produces the series.
Abram will continue to appear on the station’s sister program This Old House, Ramirez said.
Always a carpenter at heart
Norm was best known for his woodworking, but never let fans forget that he started out as a carpenter, following in his father’s footstep. According to a 1993 profile in Fine Woodworking magazine, Abram worked for three years as a site supervisor of a large construction firm before going into business for himself in 1976 as a general contractor. He was discovered by This Old House producer Russ Morash a few years later, while working on a project at the producer’s home. The rest is history.
Despite his television status, Abram has always been humble about his success: “Master carpenter is a title that Russ gave me,” Abram said in the Fine Woodworking interview. “It may be a legitimate title in the theater, but there’s no such thing in the construction trade, just a journeyman. But I look at the term as meaning someone who is always trying to improve his skills-who continues to learn with each project-as opposed to one who has reached top level, because there’s so much to learn in the field.”
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UPDATE: Watch this over-the-shoulder video of Norm Abram at Old Sturbridge Village shot by Fine Woodworking associate editor Patrick McComb.