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The New Yankee Workshop Celebrates its 15th Season

The New Yankee Workshop Celebrates its 15th Season

Master Carpenter Norm Abram Continues to Build a Traditional Collection of Woodworking Projects—While Tackling His First-Ever Upholstered Leather Cigar Chair!

Series Release
The New Yankee Workshop returns for its 15th anniversary season on Saturday, January 11, 2003 at 1pm ET on PBS (check local listings), as America’s favorite craftsman, Norm Abram, continues to re-create timeless classics while taking on new challenges. From his ?rst-ever upholstered project to an update of the classic New Yankee router station, this season delivers a distinctive collection of projects for home and workshop. Join Norm in The New Yankee Workshop for his trademark, step-by-step approach that will inspire woodworkers—from casual to expert—to roll up their sleeves, put on their safety goggles, and get building.

This season launches with a revision of one of the most popular New Yankee projects ever—the router station. First introduced by Norm ten years ago, the original design has gone through several updates, making the deluxe version more practical and cost-effective—an acknowledgement of its importance to the workshop. As Norm overhauls this piece, he keeps true to its original dimensions while adding a better organized storage system, a more stable and easier to use fence, an improved top, and updated electrical hookups. Norm’s carefully crafted revisions make the deluxe router station an accessible piece for everyone’s home workshop. Beginning with this essential addition is sure to help Norm get started on the rest of this season’s projects!

This anniversary season, Norm tackles a New Yankee ?rst—an upholstered chair. With the guidance of North Carolina’s Lee Industries, Norm learns ?rst-hand the ?ne art of leather upholstery to create a reproduction of a French cigar chair, a luxurious piece that evokes a solid sense of comfort and strength. After a visit to North Carolina, which produces 60 percent of the furniture made in North America, Norm heads back to the workshop to build his own version of the chair. By devoting himself to this brand-new project, from making the hard maple frame and adding its cushioning to covering the piece in rich, soft leather and hand-nailing hundreds of brass tacks, Norm shows that it’s always possible to accomplish something new with time and patience.

“A reporter recently asked what I had yet to take on, and I admitted that I had never done an upholstered project. That led to a few offers to show me the steps, and I realized that this could be a new skill for me to master,” says Norm. “I had a great time learning the craftsmanship behind this beautiful chair, one of the more intricate designs of this season. It ?ts in with the rest of the exciting pieces—all offering rewarding challenges for woodworkers of every level, as well as giving a fresh look at classic designs.”

Is there a more appropriate time in our history to ?y the nation’s ?ag? Norm wanted to build his own version of a classic, full-scale ?agpole to best re?ect The New Yankee Workshop’s American spirit. The result of Norm’s work, including the contributions of Vermont coppersmith Larry Stearns and master welder Bob Diorio, is another highlight of this anniversary season. Made of Douglas ?r and topped with a copper ball covered in gold leaf, it is majestically supported by a steel ground anchor, which allows for the pole to be easily lowered and raised for maintenance. Be the ?rst in your neighborhood to make your own wooden ?agpole.

To close out the season, Norm takes a trip to Wisconsin to see an intricate tool chest that houses a meticulous collection of antique tools—originally designed in the 1890s by a piano builder in Quincy, MA. Once on display in the Smithsonian, the chest is currently in a private collection and available only to viewers of The New Yankee Workshop. Inspired by the detailed craftsmanship and one of the ?nest examples of tool storage, Norm returns to the workshop to build his own version of a hanging tool chest for the hand tools he regularly uses.

Additional season 15 projects include a reinvented sheep shearing table that is now a coffee table, a graceful Queen Anne table, a practical beveled glass cupboard for displaying your treasures, and a maple “media” press—usable storage ideal for organizing today’s home electronics. Norm will also build an elegant, king-sized regency headboard, a space-conscious painted corner hutch, and a French side table inspired by one that Norm discovered in a private collection on Nantucket and that features another New Yankee ?rst—hand-cut dove tails. Join in as Norm offers his expert advice and woodworking know-how during the 15th season of The New Yankee Workshop Saturdays on PBS at 1pm ET (check local listings).

Viewers inspired to build any of this season’s projects can contact The New Yankee Workshop Collection at 1.800.892.0110 to order measured drawings and home video cassettes. To visit The New Yankee Workshop Web site, log on to

The New Yankee Workshop is a co-production of Morash Associates, Inc. and WGBH Boston, with funding provided by Delta Machinery, Porter Cable, Minwax, Thompson’s® Water Seal®, Columbia Forest Products, and public television viewers. The creator, executive producer, and director of the series is Russell Morash, long credited with introducing the “how-to” programming concept to television through such celebrated WGBH-produced series as This Old House, The Victory Garden, and Julia Child’s four cooking series.

The New Yankee Workshop is closed-captioned for deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers by The Caption Center at WGBH.

Press contacts
Dustin Smith, Publicist, WGBH Boston, 617.300.5337,

Shayla O’Neil, Promotion Coordinator, WGBH Boston, 617.300.5349,

Cathleen Porter, National Marketing Manager, WGBH Boston, 617.300.5331,

December 2002