Make all the fun you want to about all his “routahs,” but you have to admit that Norm Abram has done more to foster a worldwide interest in woodworking than anyone else. While I don’t always agree with his choice of construction techniques and joinery, he has made woodworking approachable and less intimidating for millions of people. I had the chance to meet him (actually, just a handshake) at a Delta/Porter-Cable gathering at the AWFS show in Las Vegas in July. He seems like a great guy and I’d like to have the chance to sit and have a cup of coffee with him sometime.
In Design News, there’s a great article about how Norm got started and how he managed to make it into his 20th season this year on New Yankee Workshop. Did you know that Norm attended college with the intent of getting an engineering degree? Here’s an intersesting quote from the article:
“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,” he says. Going with a gut feeling, he switched to production management in business school, sensing he wanted to be a building contractor. He came close but never earned a degree because midstream in college he “felt it was time to go to work.”
And the rest is history, as they say.