Friday, 23 October 2009

Norm's Gone?

Ol' Norm is closing up shop and the New Yankee Workshop will be no more. Bummer.

The New Yankee Workshop was, for me, something that I looked forward to on and off over the years, so many years in fact, that I remember when both our beards were grayless. While not a true member of "Normamania", I did appreciate his abilities and enjoyed watching him demonstrate his techniques, many I had never seen before.

Norm and my relationship was not without its "issues", though. I stopped watching him for a few years after he built his bonnet-topped highboy, a beautiful piece I might add. I remember watching in fascination as he hand carved the bonnet's crown moulding. I gave him an old, "adda-boy" when he fitted a little sliding dovetail to one end to attach it to the cabinet. Sadly, I also remember that this was followed by a, "NO! Your not going to do that", when he picked up his damned air nailer again to attach the other. As he shot those nails in that beautifully carved moulding, my thumb hit the remote's Off button and that was the end of Norm and my relationship for a while. I came back to him, though, but things were never the same for us after that highboy show.

I'll miss Norm. I just won't miss his damn air nailer.



Wednesday, 21 October 2009

A Great Source of Information from Down Under...

Having been busy meeting deadlines lately, so I have been remiss when it comes to this blog. I haven't had time to pick up a tool lately, either, so that is another thing that I have to correct.

I haven't been completely away from the woodworking scene, though. I have picked up a number of new additions to add to the "never ending tool cabinet rebuild", and I wish I had some time to take some images and post them here, as some of it is truly nice stuff.

I have also been putting together a series of posts here, all to do with the subject of Collecting Vintage Tools. There were a few posts on this topic a few weeks ago that popped up on both Dan's Workshop Blog and the Woodworking Magazine's Blog and they got me thinking. In general, online vintage tool sites are both difficult to find, and difficult to navigate once you find them, so I felt that discussing these issues from start to finish was in order. As it is turning out, I think the series will be useful to many; those that buy vintage tools online, those that sell them, those that have an interest in navigating the internet, and those that have a site that they want to advance, no matter what the topic.

The first installment will be a general discussion about the supply and demand for vintage tools. The second will give a quick explanation regarding how the internet, and search engines like Google in particular, work, plus how we can all make it easier on ourselves to find online sellers. In installment three, I will be taking on the different dealers' sites, making suggestions how they can better serve those of us who buy from them, plus a quick run-down on how they can, at no cost at all, move themselves up the hit list on search engines, again, making it easier for us to find them. In installment four, I will open the doors to my Bookmark file for vintage tool sites, giving some opinions on what is good about them, and what is bad, along with the reasons why they ended up in one of my four categories; Daily, Weekly, Monthly and When Bored. Finally, the one I am truly looking forward to, is the last Installment, number five. My favourite online vintage tool dealer, Jim Bode of, has agreed to answer a number of my questions regarding what he does and how he does it. It will be a quick look into the business of selling vintage tools and one that I think will be seriously interesting.

I will not be posting any of this series until all five installments are completed. Expect the first post to be up and running on November 15th, then each additional installment will be posted weekly.

I would also like to mention here another true "find" on the web, this one a site from a part-time woodworker and tool collector from Australia. I found Derek Cohen's site, "In The Woodshop", by accident this morning while doing a search for shooting board plans on Google. Once there, I couldn't leave until I had read each and every post. I will be returning often as it is a repository for a wealth of information. On his home page he has links to different sections that display his interests; Building Furniture, Tool Restorations, Shop-Made Tools, Tool Reviews and Sharpening Techniques, along with a couple of other categories for Commentary and Links.

Not only does he have a pretty amazing little shop full of nothing but the best in tools, but he uses them and enjoys them. In his articles he has covered everything from building chest of drawers to building shooting boards and making his own planes. Some of his tool reviews are the best I have ever read. Check it out....