Well, we all know he’s a highly influential carpenter… He ranked #1 in our poll of 3 forums (see ToolCrib.com’s Guide to Your 31 Most Influential Woodworkers). But is he really a master carpenter?

This is the question that a newbie Woodnetter posted. There are 99 responses, and right off the bat one WoodNet member posted a little icon of a smiley-guy eating a bag of popcorn. That’s my feeling exactly about a post like this – grab some snacks, this is going to be entertaining! :)

I counted up the results for you – some yeses were implied more than written as yes, so you’ll have to take my word for count accuracy here ;)

WoodNet’s Opinion: is Norm Abram a Master Carpenter?

Yes: 21
No: 10

Some folks, in the “Yes” camp, linked to this bonnet-topped Queen Anne-legged tiger maple highboy Norm reproduced

Woodnetter Quotes that Made Me Go “hmm… Good Point”:

The show is designed and presented for novice woodworkers, and serves that market quite well. His projects are meant for wide appeal, if he were to build a reproduction piece like the type I favor doing, it would be a pretty long and often tedious show. It would also be well out of the ability level of the target audience.

From what I’ve observed; Norm is a high level general carpenter and mid level furniture maker. He may be a better furniture maker than the show allows.

In teaching, a Master Teacher is someone qualified to teach other teachers. Following that definition, I would say that Norm Abram is definitely a Master Woodworker.

Whether or not he is a “master” is an exercise in semantics.

There are many people out there who have as much or more technical/artistic ability as Norm, but only he and a very few others have been successful at doing it in front of a camera. That takes more than the ability to do good woodworking/carpentry, which is what sets him(and those few others) apart.

So there you have it folks, conclusive evidence that Norm Abram is a master woodworker ;) If you have opinions, I’d love to hear them.

And of course, visit the post for some fun and interesting debate: Would you consider Norm Abram from NYW a master woodworker?

Additional Resources:
Birth of NYW: Yankee’s Shop True to Name
ToolCrib.com’s Guide to Your 31 Most Influential Woodworkers