Norm Abram was discovered by the producer of This Old House Russell Morash in 1979 when he hired Abram to build a barn on his suburban Boston property. Impressed with Abram's workmanship and thriftiness, Morash asked him to appear on This Old House and talk about home restoration. The rest is history.
Since Norm Abram works for PBS and WGBH (both non-commercial organizations), he never directly endorses any brands of the products he uses. When he makes personal appearances at regional home shows, he is compensated by either the sponsors of the show or by WGBH underwriters, and he is careful to promote the program instead of the products.
While attending the University of Massachusetts, Norm Abram was a member of the Pi Lambda Phi fraternity.
Norm Abram has several hobbies: cooking and entertaining, visiting art galleries and museums, boating, fishing, and kayaking.
The title "Master Carpenter" does not officially exist in North America. It was created by producer Russell Morash to describe Norm Abram's skills as a carpenter.
Norm Abram has written eight (8) books about carpentry: Ask Norm, The New Yankee Workshop, Classics From The New Yankee Workshop, Mostly Shaker From The New Yankee Workshop, Outdoor Projects From The New Yankee Workshop, Norm Abram's New House, Measure Twice, Cut Once, and The New Yankee Workshop Kids' Stuff.
Norm Abram: (Offering advice to fellow woodworkers) It's like anything you build. You have to be patient.
Norm Abram: (Sharing his thoughts about his first TV appearance) [TV] was a total mystery, but '78 was slow. I went home saying "wow I am going to be on TV maybe." He didn't say he was going to put me on air. I was going to sort of run the job and be a contractor.
Norm Abram: (Talking about shop safety) Doing the show has raised my own safety awareness.... I figure that every day that goes by, the odds start to work against me, and if I hurt myself, it won't look good on the show and I may be out of work. I've only been nicked once--on the tablesaw. And it was typical of most workshop injuries; I was tired, in a hurry and I did something stupid.
Norm Abram: (Commenting on his preparation for each episode of the New Yankee Workshop) When I build a prototype, I am trying to think of a technique I have not demonstrated to the viewers before. It also gives me a chance to try things that I don't want to try on air live. I want to try it in the shop to see if it would help the woodworker.
Norm Abram: (speaking about popularity of The New Yankee Workshop) If my success and notoriety will help save an historic building, then I'm going to do that.
Norm Abram: (speaking about The New Yankee Workshop) This show is not project-driven, it's technique-driven. We want woodworkers to be challenged, to build better skills.
Norm Abram: I spend more time woodworking than I should. That's what I'm trying to overcome. Maybe I should spend more time smelling the roses.
Norm Abram: I hated sitting in a class of 600 in a thermodynamics class, but I loved being in the lab working with metals. I hung in there for a couple of years and said this isn't for me. You can learn a lot from school and books, but you really learn from experience.
Norm Abram: (Commenting on the carpenter's tool belt he wears) It's become a trademark for me...a carryover from This Old House.
Norm Abram: (Commenting on the term "master carpenter") 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.
Norm Abram: I'm very conscious that my audience has less experience than I do, so I approach each task from their skill level.
Norm Abram: Measure twice, cut once.