The BEST Episodes of The New Yankee Workshop
Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!
Last Updated: Feb 13, 2020
In this PBS series, craftsman Norm Abram demonstrates how to build quality furniture in one's own workshop using traditional carpentry techniques. Abram also gives pointers on restoring and caring for antique furniture, along with short history lessons regarding famous craftsmen of America's past.
#1 - Kitchen Island
Season 17 - Episode 11 - Aired Mar 17, 2005
Largely unknown in grandmother’s time, kitchen islands have become indispensable in today’s modern home. Used to house sinks, cook tops, storage for pots and pans, recyclables, and barstools, they often become the most valuable work surface in a busy kitchen. Norm builds this one out of poplar and birch plywood for a painted finish and lines it with hard wearing factory-applied finishes intended to give this island a long career of heavy use. Along with the high-tech plywood, Norm uses state of the art drawer slides and period pulls to complete this useful project.
#2 - Entrance Door
Season 19 - Episode 2 - Aired Jan 13, 2007
Norm creates a custom made entry door from Mahogany with bulls eye glass inserts. The dimensions are 36" wide x 84" in height.
#3 - Table Saw 101 (2)
Season 19 - Episode 9 - Aired Mar 3, 2007
In the second part of the table saw tutorial, Norm begins with dadoing techniques, rabbeting, and building a fence. He evaluates miter gauges and uses them to make precision miters. He uses a factory built jig to make accurate tenons. (Part 2 of 2)
#4 - Kitchen Project - The Kitchen Office (6)
Season 20 - Episode 6 - Aired Feb 9, 2008
Norm builds a desk with a file storage area, a wall hanging cabinet with shelves, a concealed area for lighting, a computer and phone area, a series of pigeon holes, and a cork board. He uses a pair of wing walls to separate the office from the main area of the kitchen. (Part 6 of 9)
#5 - Nest of Tables
Season 19 - Episode 12 - Aired Mar 24, 2007
Norm builds a set of nested tables for his own living room using Mahogany and Walnut in a Chippendale style. The dimensions of the largest table are 18" long x 14 1/2" wide x 21 1/4" tall.
#6 - Tiger Maple Washstand
Season 21 - Episode 4 - Aired Jan 24, 2009
This lovely washstand is true to the circa 1830 original found in the antique collection of Stanley and Jacqueline Levine of Savannah, Georgia. Featuring elegant scroll work, turned legs, and a generous shelf drawer, this vintage design can be used today as a night stand. Norm produces this piece out of fine tiger maple, making it one of the most sophisticated pieces in his collection of low-country furniture.
#7 - Serving Trays
Season 21 - Episode 7 - Aired Feb 14, 2009
Norm takes viewers in to his favorite antique haunt on the quaint New England island of Nantucket where he discovers two distinctive wooden trays. Deeming them “the perfect weekend woodworking projects,” Norm crafts the more primitive fruit tray out of recycled pine, and, for the first time on The New Yankee Workshop, introduces the craft of metalsmithing when he fashions the cherry tray’s hardware out of brass.
#8 - Mesquite Bookcase
Season 21 - Episode 21 - Aired May 23, 2009
Norm’s expedition to Arizona in search of Arts and Crafts-style furniture projects to build in the New Yankee Workshop leads him to Arroyo Design, a small custom furniture company in Tucson, where he spies a beautiful, glass-front bookcase inspired by the famous Greene Brothers. Featuring divided pane windows and the Greene Brothers’ trademark square-peg detailing, its true artisan qualities make it one of the most sophisticated pieces in this season’s collection. To ensure its heirloom value, Norm crafts this project out of mesquite and in the process educates viewers on how to work with this native Sonoran desert hardwood.
#9 - Whirligig
Season 21 - Episode 23 - Aired Jun 6, 2009
On a sojourn to Nantucket, Norm is invited to view a local antique dealer’s private collection of children’s toys and whimsical whirligigs. Inspired by their endearing humor, Norm decides to build his own mechanized version of The New Yankee Workshop’s logo, featuring Norm, himself, working at the table saw.
#10 - Roll Top Desk (2)
Season 21 - Episode 26 - Aired Jun 27, 2009
Norm visits the Old Schwamb Mill in Arlington, Massachusetts. Built in 1860, the mill was purchased in 1864 by German immigrant woodworkers, Charles and Frederick Schwamb. The brothers did a brisk business crafting the oval picture frames which, at the time, were in demand to display photographs of Civil War soldiers. In the Schwamb Brother’s old office, Norm spies a handsome, quarter sawn oak roll top desk, which inspires him to build his version of this American classic.
#11 - Teak Bar
Season 11 - Episode 5 - Aired Jan 30, 1999
Woodworkers who entertain are going to love making Norm's attractive, custom designed teak bar. Featuring great-looking, nautical-inspired brass hardware and stunning louver doors, it promises to hold everything a party needs. The interior of the wall-mo
#12 - Wine Storage Unit
Season 8 - Episode 8 - Aired Feb 24, 1996
In keeping with the wine-country theme, this project is much more than just a wine rack. It is the perfect system for people who take wine collecting seriously. Made of redwood and designed as a four-sided display, this storage unit holds 10 cases of wine while providing additional storage for glasses, corkscrews and oversized bottles, plus a platform for serving. No wine aficionado will want to return from a tasting tour of Napa Valley to anything less.
#13 - The Patio Table
Season 12 - Episode 9 - Aired Feb 26, 2000
Norm adds to his growing collection of outdoor furniture projects when he builds this round, teak patio table that is big enough to for six to enjoy a summer lunch. Measuring 51-inches across, the table seems like a big project but it can easily be built in any home workshop.
#14 - Side Chair
Season 17 - Episode 7 - Aired Feb 19, 2005
Norm has said many times that chairs are the most challenging projects a woodworker can attempt. Not only do they have to be strong enough to support the heavy twisting action of a human body, they also have to be attractive enough to take their place at the table. Norm visits historic Deerfield in central Massachusetts where he discovers, amid the vast collection of antique furniture, a comfortable, handsome, American-built side chair of the early 1800’s. Norm makes a faithful reproduction back in the workshop and upholsters it in a modern fabric that should stand up well to the rigors of time.
#15 - Table Saw 101 (1)
Season 19 - Episode 8 - Aired Feb 24, 2007
Norm begins this two part tutorial by discussing various table saws and how to use them. He focuses on ripping concentrating on how to work with large panels and narrow stock. He builds and out feed table designed to enhance the woodworker's efficiency and safety. (Part 1 of 2)
#16 - Kitchen Project - The Hot Wall (3)
Season 20 - Episode 3 - Aired Jan 19, 2008
The first section Norm builds consists of the cabinets that surround the double oven, range, and range hood. He shows how the existing kitchen will be upgraded and adds a storage organizer. Using a prototype inset door and drawer, he demonstrates how these items will be incorporated into the kitchen. Norm completes the episode by finishing a dovetailed drawer box with a plain front that will be used throughout the kitchen. (Part 3 of 9)
#17 - Kitchen Project - The Island (7)
Season 20 - Episode 7 - Aired Feb 16, 2008
Norm builds an island using reclaimed heart pine and old pine for the turned legs. It has a butcher block top, a drawer-mounted microwave, an area for tray storage, and a pull-out drawer for trash or recyclables. (Part 7 of 9)
#18 - Planter's Desk
Season 9 - Episode 1 - Aired May 8, 2006
Norm begins his search for low-country furniture projects in Savannah’s famed Monterey Square at the home of antique map and print dealers, Virginia and John Duncan. On their veranda, Norm discovers a quintessential piece of the Old South, a planter’s desk. Once used by cotton and tobacco farmers for bookkeeping, the desk can function quite well today as a compact, home office. Featuring nicely tapered legs, a hinged desktop, and plenty of shelves, it also has enough room to accommodate a small computer. Back East in the New Yankee Workshop, Norm builds this piece out of recycled pine and finishes it with a new pastel stain to give it a “pickled” look.
#19 - Garage Workshop (2)
Season 12 - Episode 2 - Aired Jan 8, 2000
If only I had a workshop like Norm’s, I could build anything. Norm puts an end to this common viewer lament when he shows how to turn an average garage bay into a great home workshop. Using common building materials and hardware, he builds all the elements needed to make a workshop functional cabinetry, storage units, and a portable chop station. The genius of Norm’s original design, however is that each element can be put away to make room for the family car when not in use or easily transported to any space a woodworker decides to set up shop. At the conclusion of this ambitious two-part project, Norm gives his list of must-have bench top power tools to ensure that every home craftsman will be able to utilize the workshop to its fullest.
#20 - Adirondack Chair
Season 2 - Episode 2 - Aired Jan 13, 1990
Norm designs his own version of the rustic Adirondack chair out of cypress, an excellent wood that needs no preservatives or treatment.
#21 - Bowfront Chest
Season 19 - Episode 11 - Aired Mar 17, 2007
Norm builds a Bowfront chest out of Mahogany that poses challenges. The most difficult part of the process are forming the French feet and the dovetailed Bowfront drawers. The chest dimensions are 40" long x 22" wide x 36" tall.
#22 - Workshop Hutch
Season 13 - Episode 6 - Aired Feb 10, 2001
When Norm felt it time to remodel The New Yankee Workshop, he seized the opportunity to build an ingenuous workshop hutch that promises to be a must-have for every home woodworker. It features a backbench with a system of adjustable shelves that offers endless options for organizing the tools and materials every woodworker needs to have at his fingertips. The hutch also has a renewable bench top complete with electrical outlets, and roomy pullout drawers to store and keep a serious collection of power tools dust-free.
#23 - Medicine Cabinet
Season 1 - Episode 1 - Aired Jan 7, 1989
Norm leads a tour of The New Yankee Workshop to preview the furniture he will build in the first season. He demonstrates how to build a medicine cabinet that is based on one seen in the Hancock Shaker Village in Massachusetts. Norm uses red oak and oak plywood with box-joint joinery to construct his version. The cabinet dimensions are 26" high x 22" wide x 7" deep.
#24 - Workbench
Season 1 - Episode 2 - Aired Jan 14, 1989
A good workshop starts with a well-equipped workbench. Norm uses one from his shop as a model for the affordable bench he builds during this episode. Norm builds a workshop workbench which features an oak edged hardwood top, a vice, a recessed tool storage space on the top, and a shelf below. The bench dimensions are 34" high x 64" wide x 25" deep.
#25 - Barrister Bookcase
Season 13 - Episode 13 - Aired Mar 31, 2001
Among Norm's personal collection of furniture, is an old oak barrister's bookcase that safely showcases his collection of handcrafted glasses, pottery, and books. Comprised of three separate units that nest on top of each other, each features a glass-front door with hinged sliders that allows it to "disappear" out of site. Believing it to be a versatile piece that everyone would want for their own collections, Norm shows viewers how to build one back in The New Yankee Workshop. While he keeps true to most of the details of the original, he does refine its overall design by combining the three modular units into one singular unit.