Breaking news! Norm Abram, the #1 most influential woodworker, has announced his retirement from the New Yankee Workshop. I will dig in more thoroughly later this week! For now I leave you with coverage from Woodworking Magazine: Norm Abram Closes Up Shop.

“After 21 seasons, “The New Yankee Workshop” is closing its doors, and its much-beloved host, Norm Abram, is going to focus on his personal projects and PBS’s “This Old House,” according to Russ Morash, executive producer and director of “The New Yankee Workshop.””

update: More Research Shows His Leaving was No Surprise to Observant Fans…
While digging into the woodworking forums to gather reactions to the news of Norm’s retirement I came across several posts that indicated remarkably early assumptions that he was retiring this year. In short – his retirement was not a surprise to many observant woodworking forum goers.

Here’s some early observations:

02/02/09 in Woodnet:
“Maybe they’re going to stop taping all together after this “season” & are breaking down the shop, selling everything off?”
What’s up with Norm?

09/08/09 in LumberJocks
“The Yankee Cam archives show that in past years, Norm would have filmed half or more of the upcoming season by now. But there is nothing listed so far this year. It’s possible he’s filming new shows or something for 2010 and just not using the Yankee Cam anymore, but I don’t know why that would have changed. So I’m assuming that they haven’t filmed anything for 2010. I know the economy is tough; is it possible that no one is willing to underwrite NYW anymore? Or is Norm just sliding into retirement?”
Any News on “New Yankee Workshop”?

10/09/09 in Woodnet:
“I just finished checking out the NYW site. Here it is—well into October and they don’t have word one about any new season starting in January—heck, by this time, they usually have some of the new projects posted on their web site. Has anyone heard anything?”
Where’s Norm???

Update 2: Norm Abram Retirement Reactions from Around the Web
Blogs and forums errupted with discussion, most of it nice, about Norm’s departure from the New Yankee Workshop. Here’s some of it…

Norm Abram Closes Up Shop (Woodworking Magazine)
“The other question is what’s going to happen to the shop itself, which is stocked with all manner of machines and hand tools. Morash said he’s personally looking forward to some free time so he can build a few things in the shop. As for the long-term plans for the shop, Morash suggested that the shop could be put on display at the Smithsonian.”

Goodbye to the New Yankee Workshop (53 Comments! Farewell from Marc Spagnuolo)
“Regardless of how you feel about his work methods and tool choices, you can’t deny the influence he has had on the woodworking community. I used to even watch Norm before I knew the difference between a pin and a tail. And its guys like Norm that paved the way for a goober like me to create our show.”

New Yankee Workshop Series Ends (221 Comments Here!! FineWoodworking Blog)
“The Fine Woodworking audience has a long relationship with the television host. Many credit him as the inspiration for getting started in the craft. In Norm Stories, a former editor at Fine Woodworking, recounts how Abram got him into woodworking after an appearance at Good Morning America.”

Norm Abram Closes ‘Yankee Workshop’
“Yes it’s true… Norm, “any shirt as long as it’s plaid” Abrams is hanging up the hammer on the “New Yankee Workshop”. The man who made me believe “I could with wood” and “No stain, no gain”.”

Forum Farewells to New Yankee Workshop:
Messge from WGBH regarding Norm
“I am excited to see who will take the place of Norm. I think some young blood with a good sense of humor to liven things up would be great. Let’s see if we can get someone like Marc Spagnulo to do the next show.”

New Yankee Workshop Series Ends
“i have to say even tho my skills have gone much further past using brads to hold everything together if it wasn’t for TNYW and Norm i may have never picked up the hobby.”

Norm retires from NYW?
“he’s the reason I’m a woodworker. I also never built any of the projects, but I watched most of the episodes. I wish him well.”

Goodbye New Yankee Workshop
“I met Norm a couple times. He is a genuine nice guy that he seemed to be on TV. I remember when he first started on Bob VILA TOH. He has no beard and a terrible mustache. The show had gotten stale the last couple years but I still watched and enjoyed. He will be missed.”

NYW ending production
“I’ve met Norm and Tom Silva several times. One of my customers in Massachusetts has them as customers and I’ve bumped into them in their showroom while they were buying tools and fasteners. Norm is as genuine and down to earth as he seems on TV. Tom not quite as much.”

Interesting, Non-retirement Coverage of Norm Abram
Interview with Norm Abram, Master Carpenter of This Old House
“Anytime I get an invitation to go to someone’s workshop whether it be a commercial woodworking shop or a private woodworking shop, I’m ready to go. Because I want to see how other people are setting up and how they do their work.”

VIDEO – Interview with Norm Abram

Norm gets arrested?

Norm Abram’s Big Break and Continuing Wood Working Education