The WORST Episodes of The New Yankee Workshop

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Last Updated: May 26, 2020

Network: PBS

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.

Jigs (1)

#1 - Jigs (1)

Season 13 - Episode 1 - Aired Jan 6, 2001

Norm celebrates the 13th season of The New Yankee Workshop with jigs. Proclaiming them "as important for the workshop as any power tool," Norm devotes the new season to building a variety of these useful devices, which will allow home woodworkers everywhere to build their projects with greater efficiency and accuracy. In part one, he shows how to create a panel cutting jig for cutting wide panels on the table saw, a tapering jig useful for tapering table legs, a circle cutting jig for the band saw, and a feather board for safely holding stock in place at the saw or at the router. Part two includes a jig which accurately guides a plunge router for making adjustable shelf pin holes, an ingenuous jig for mortising louvered doors and shutters, a circle cutting jig for a router, a hinge mortising jig, and a simple device for making box joints.

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Jigs (2)

#2 - Jigs (2)

Season 13 - Episode 2 - Aired Jan 13, 2001

Norm celebrates the 13th season of The New Yankee Workshop with jigs. Proclaiming them "as important for the workshop as any power tool," Norm devotes the new season to building a variety of these useful devices, which will allow home woodworkers everywhere to build their projects with greater efficiency and accuracy. In part one, he shows how to create a panel cutting jig for cutting wide panels on the table saw, a tapering jig useful for tapering table legs, a circle cutting jig for the band saw, and a feather board for safely holding stock in place at the saw or at the router. Part two includes a jig which accurately guides a plunge router for making adjustable shelf pin holes, an ingenuous jig for mortising louvered doors and shutters, a circle cutting jig for a router, a hinge mortising jig, and a simple device for making box joints.

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Garden Armchair

#3 - Garden Armchair

Season 13 - Episode 5 - Aired Feb 3, 2001

Norm adds to his growing collection of outdoor furniture a handsome garden armchair that has generously-sized arms for resting a glass of ice tea while lounging with a book or enjoying garden views. Built of sturdy and beautiful recycled cypress, this comfortable chair promises to withstand all weather conditions for decades.

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Outdoor Cupboard

#4 - Outdoor Cupboard

Season 13 - Episode 7 - Aired Feb 7, 2001

Norm designs a clever outdoor cupboard that's versatile enough to be prized by everyone from the backyard barbecue chef and gardener to the handyman and would-be flower arranger. This attractive storage piece has everything under one roof and then some, including a divided interior with adjustable shelves on one side, a chamber for storing tall garden tools on the other, and plenty of hooks for outdoor gear. Its exterior is sheathed with weather resistant cedar paneling and features a garden trellis and hinged work shelf that can be pulled out and used as a potting bench as needed.

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Dressing Table (1)

#5 - Dressing Table (1)

Season 13 - Episode 8 - Aired Feb 24, 2001

Norm visits the fabulous Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. Built in 1880 by George Washington Vanderbilt, the 250-room French Renaissance-inspired chateau boasts a stunning collection of fine furniture including original Sheraton and Chippendale. Among the collection, Norm discovers a sophisticated mahogany dressing table with a foldaway mirror and graceful turned legs that he decides to replicate in The New Yankee Workshop. In the second of two episodes devoted to the making of an heirloom-quality dressing table found among the famed Biltmore Estate's collection, viewers find Norm in a national forest in North Carolina. There he learns how the U.S. Forest Service regulates the flow of timber to end users. Afterwards he goes behind-the-scenes at a plywood mill in nearby Asheville to see how high-quality plywood is made.

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Dressing Table (2)

#6 - Dressing Table (2)

Season 13 - Episode 9 - Aired Mar 3, 2001

Norm visits the fabulous Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. Built in 1880 by George Washington Vanderbilt, the 250-room French Renaissance-inspired chateau boasts a stunning collection of fine furniture including original Sheraton and Chippendale. Among the collection, Norm discovers a sophisticated mahogany dressing table with a foldaway mirror and graceful turned legs that he decides to replicate in The New Yankee Workshop. In the second of two episodes devoted to the making of an heirloom-quality dressing table found among the famed Biltmore Estate's collection, viewers find Norm in a national forest in North Carolina. There he learns how the U.S. Forest Service regulates the flow of timber to end users. Afterwards he goes behind-the-scenes at a plywood mill in nearby Asheville to see how high-quality plywood is made.

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Monastery Table

#7 - Monastery Table

Season 13 - Episode 12 - Aired Mar 24, 2001

Norm puts down his fork long enough to appreciate the craftsmanship of the handcrafted monastery table upon which he dines in one of Tuscany, Italy's, finest inns. Rescued from an ancient monastery, the table features all of the characteristics that one would expect to find in a piece of furniture that has endured years of hard use by the brothers. To replicate its charm, Norm spends some time hunting for the right timber and discovers a cache of Southern yellow pine still dripping with resin. Back at The New Yankee Workshop he fashions his version of this piece using a lathe and tablesaw.

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Miter Bench and Storage (2)

#8 - Miter Bench and Storage (2)

Season 14 - Episode 2 - Aired Jan 19, 2002

A well-equipped workshop will need a bench for a miter saw. In this two part project, Norm builds a useful model with extensions on both sides of the saw, an adjustable stop block, an auxiliary guide for use with an adjacent radial saw table, and much more. The bench base is fully equipped with pull-out drawers sized to house Norm’s most-used power tools and accessories. One of those, the “dedicated" mortiser, has its own pull-out shelf with a bench-top fixture that secures the tool and provides extension to support and stabilize longer stock. This will be a popular project to anyone who wants to build useful organized storage in the workshop.

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Steamer Trunk

#9 - Steamer Trunk

Season 14 - Episode 3 - Aired Jan 26, 2002

Long after the last steamship sailed its last voyage, Norm sets out to build a New Yankee Workshop version of the rounded-top steamer trunk. Once used to store clothes for ship passengers, these trunks are still very popular among antique collectors. Today they are much admired by those who use them at the foot of beds for blanket and linen storage. Norm built his from antique chestnut and hammered iron strips that mimic the original trunk hardware.

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Adirondack Loveseat

#10 - Adirondack Loveseat

Season 14 - Episode 4 - Aired Feb 2, 2002

One of the all-time most popular projects ever built in The New Yankee Workshop was the Adirondack chair Norm built years ago. Now, with this Adirondack loveseat, Norm has the chance to revisit his original design and make improvements not possible when the original was built. For example, a new generation of weather proof adhesives are now available to secure the various parts to one another. Elsewhere Norm makes refinements in joining the various elements with all weather screws and conceals them with plugs. What results from these improvements, the Adirondack loveseat, is an extremely comfortable double seated version of our all-time favorite project.

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Canopy Bed

#11 - Canopy Bed

Season 14 - Episode 5 - Aired Feb 9, 2002

The main business of Leonard’s Antiques, a group of highly respected antique stores located in the Northeast, is the making and selling of reproduction beds. Using both old original elements salvaged from the past and newly created parts necessary to meet modern bed dimensions, the craftsmen at Leonard’s know all about beds. Norm pays Leonard’s a visit and meets the owner, Jeff Jenkins, for a behind the scenes look at how the beds are made. Then he returns to the workshop and creates a beautiful tiger maple version sized to fit a queen. The four turned posts and a handsome headboard lend distinction to a good night’s sleep.

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Work Table and Clamp Cart

#12 - Work Table and Clamp Cart

Season 14 - Episode 7 - Aired Feb 23, 2002

Surely one of the most useful projects Norm’s ever built for the shop is this work table. It’s a light weight, yet sturdy, assembly table that is easily raised up on casters to move around the shop as necessary. The mechanism for the caster assembly was borrowed from a nearby scenic shop where mobility is essential. Also with the table, Norm creates a storage cart for his collection of woodworker’s clamps. When he needs several clamps, he can easily wheel over his collection to make his choice.

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Pedestal Table

#13 - Pedestal Table

Season 14 - Episode 8 - Aired Mar 2, 2002

Norm visits an antique shop and spots a small round pedestal table that the dealer tells him may have originated in Indonesia. Maybe that’s why it was built from teak, a popular wood in that region. Norm likes the choice of the wood, for it means that the table can be used either inside or out. The tricky part of making a pedestal table is connecting the legs to the pedestal. After the pedestal is turned, and while it is still in the lathe, Norm uses a clever technique with a jig and a router to accurately cut the mortises.

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Four Drawer Chest

#14 - Four Drawer Chest

Season 14 - Episode 9 - Aired Mar 9, 2002

If you’ve been looking for a small elegant chest of drawers then this Chippendale-inspired beauty is for you. Locating one is not easy, so Norm was delighted to find an original in an antique store. Norm’s version is built of high quality mahogany veneer plywood and fitted with period reproduction hardware. This four drawer classic is perfect for a small space or next to a bed.

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Nightstand

#15 - Nightstand

Season 14 - Episode 11 - Aired Mar 23, 2002

An antique cherry nightstand, circa 1840, found in a friend’s house on Nantucket Island, is inspiration for Norm to build his version in The New Yankee Workshop. This square- topped, single drawer nightstand has 4 handsomely turned legs. Norm uses cherry for the body of the piece, and fashions the drawer front from tiger maple as a distinctive contrast. The simple elegance of this nightstand assures its place as a family heirloom.

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Stepback Cupboard

#16 - Stepback Cupboard

Season 14 - Episode 13 - Aired Apr 6, 2002

When Norm finds this early cupboard in a Nantucket antique shop, he can’t be sure of what he has found. There are questions about the paint, the overall height (it seems low), and the decoration may have been added at a later time. Nevertheless, it’s a simple rustic classic, just perfect for The New Yankee Workshop collection. Norm makes his from recycled pine and predicts this piece will be popular with woodworkers.

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Sheep Shearing Coffee Table

#17 - Sheep Shearing Coffee Table

Season 15 - Episode 2 - Aired Jan 18, 2003

How about a coffee table that once served as a portable platform to shear the wool from sheep? We're not sure how well it worked at that task, but Norm reinvents it as a handsome platform for books, plants, puzzles, canapés, and all the other things that clutter today's coffee tables. This is definitely a conversation piece. Made of recycled pine, this unusual table is easy to make and comes with a good story.

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Queen Anne Table

#18 - Queen Anne Table

Season 15 - Episode 3 - Aired Jan 25, 2003

It would be hard to imagine a more graceful dining table than Norm's new Queen Anne pedestal table. The beautiful round solid cherry top sits on a sturdy turned pedestal and is supported by three elegant legs. This is a perfect size for an animated dinner table conversation. Woodworkers will enjoy the challenge of building this heirloom of tomorrow.

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Cigar Chair (1)

#19 - Cigar Chair (1)

Season 15 - Episode 4 - Aired Feb 1, 2003

Norm happened to mention to a reporter that he had never made an upholstered piece of furniture. This led to an invitation to partner with Lee Industries of Newton, North Carolina, one of America's most highly regarded furniture makers. In the first of a special two-part program, Norm visits the Lee Industries factory to understand how upholstered chairs and sofas are made. He gets a tour with Norman Coley whose family has been making furniture in North Carolina for 40 years. Coley suggests Norm try making a "cigar" chair, which can be made without sewing and stitching. Back at the shop Norm starts by building the hard maple frame, the skeleton underneath this handsome chair. In part two, Norm cuts the leather using patterns and tackles the padding and other steps before showing his new-found skill at applying the rich looking leather to the frame. It's all about stretching, tacking, stretching, and re-tacking until the desired look is achieved. You'll be impressed with this project and may want

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Cigar Chair (2)

#20 - Cigar Chair (2)

Season 15 - Episode 5 - Aired Feb 8, 2004

Norm happened to mention to a reporter that he had never made an upholstered piece of furniture. This led to an invitation to partner with Lee Industries of Newton, North Carolina, one of America's most highly regarded furniture makers. In the first of a special two-part program, Norm visits the Lee Industries factory to understand how upholstered chairs and sofas are made. He gets a tour with Norman Coley whose family has been making furniture in North Carolina for 40 years. Coley suggests Norm try making a "cigar" chair, which can be made without sewing and stitching. Back at the shop Norm starts by building the hard maple frame, the skeleton underneath this handsome chair. In part two, Norm cuts the leather using patterns and tackles the padding and other steps before showing his new-found skill at applying the rich looking leather to the frame. It's all about stretching, tacking, stretching, and re-tacking until the desired look is achieved. You'll be impressed with this project and may want

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Beveled Glass Cupboard

#21 - Beveled Glass Cupboard

Season 15 - Episode 6 - Aired Feb 15, 2003

This jewel of a display cupboard will provide attractive storage for any bathroom. The top of the cabinet, with its beveled glass panels and adjustable shelves, is a perfect place to display attractive objects in a protected space. The display top sits on a closed cabinet for more useful storage accessed by means of a flat paneled door. Painted a glistening white and conveniently sized for limited space, this project is a winner.

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Media Press (1)

#22 - Media Press (1)

Season 15 - Episode 7 - Aired Feb 22, 2003

Organizing today's electronics is a challenge with ever-larger televisions, DVD's, amplifiers, speakers, CD collections and all sorts of other paraphernalia. Finding useable storage for everything can be difficult. Norm is inspired by a beautiful antique cupboard his friend Jeff Jenkins of Leonard's Antiques shows him. In this special two-part program he builds a large media cupboard made of maple and outfits it with swing-away doors, adjustable shelves, and four roomy drawers below that should answer just about every need for a home media center. The project includes finishing steps using aniline dyes and polyurethane to protect and enhance the beauty of the piece.

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Media Press (2)

#23 - Media Press (2)

Season 15 - Episode 8 - Aired Mar 1, 2003

Organizing today's electronics is a challenge with ever-larger televisions, DVD's, amplifiers, speakers, CD collections and all sorts of other paraphernalia. Finding useable storage for everything can be difficult. Norm is inspired by a beautiful antique cupboard his friend Jeff Jenkins of Leonard's Antiques shows him. In this special two-part program he builds a large media cupboard made of maple and outfits it with swing-away doors, adjustable shelves, and four roomy drawers below that should answer just about every need for a home media center. The project includes finishing steps using aniline dyes and polyurethane to protect and enhance the beauty of the piece.

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Flagpole

#24 - Flagpole

Season 15 - Episode 9 - Aired Mar 8, 2003

Years ago on This Old House we featured the installation of a wooden flagpole on our Napa, California project. Now Norm has taken up the challenge on making one in The NewYankee Workshop. Made of strong Douglas fir, glued with epoxy, painted with marine paint and mounted on a welded steel ground anchor designed by master welder Bob Diorio, this flagpole is easy to maintain because the whole pole can be lowered to the ground whenever necessary. Be the first in your neighborhood to make your own flagpole.

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Regency Headboard

#25 - Regency Headboard

Season 15 - Episode 10 - Aired Mar 15, 2003

Years ago on In lieu of a great bedstead, sometimes all you need is a headboard. On this program Norm builds a beauty out of mahogany that will lend substance and elegance to a simple metal frame with a mattress and box spring. Again with help from Leonard's Antiques and Jeff Jenkins, Norm finds some interesting variations on this popular alternative to a full bed frame. Norm builds this headboard, sized for a king-sized bed, from top grade mahogany veneer plywood and uses solid mahogany to form the posts and moldings.

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