When I was a kid, my younger brother, Dave, and I would routinely watch Norm Abram build houses and projects on This Old House and The New Yankee Workshop. Our dad probably wasn’t (isn’t) the handiest guy with woodworking tools, but he could certainly build some small projects. But woodworking wasn’t a big hobby around our house as kids. There was just something about Abram’s no-nonsense delivery that appealed to us. Dave and I joked all the time about “cutting a dado” even though we really had no clear idea what that was.
As I got older, I got into making things around the house. I built a workbench in our old basement in Richmond and did a lot projects around the house there. My older brother, Stephen, and I even got back in soldering when we had to fix my old washing machine. When we moved into our current house here in Tennessee, Dave came over and we built a workbench in my garage.
I also got into watching the DIY network, as they had all sorts of low-budget (but great) shows on how to use tools and build projects. Over time, though, the shows got replaced with less informational and more “reality television” style shows. Some of those are ok, but I’m far more interested in learning how to actually builds something in my shop than watching a Mega Deck get built. There are very few, if any, informational shows left on DIY, HGTV, etc.
However, there are plenty of great builders who teach you on YouTube. My nephew Keith, who recently moved to Nashville and brought all his woodworking equipment with him, got me watching Steve Ramsey’s channel Woodworking for Mere Mortals. I also found Bob Clagett’s channel I Like to Make Stuff because of some of his zany projects (like the world’s largest water pistol). There are many others who I’ve also found awesome to watch: April Wilkerson (Wilker Do’s), David Picciuto (Make Something), and Jay Bates (Jay’s Custom Creations) are some of my favorites.
So, Norm Abram is long-since retired (They New Yankee Worksop went off the air nine years ago), but there are loads of no-nosense makers and woodworkers who have great programming available to teach you how to make loads of great projects, no matter your level of experience.