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Most woodworkers followed Norm Abram at New Yankee Workshop and you know how fast the word of his retirement spread across the woodworking community. It was a sad day indeed.

The fact that WGBH, Boston’s public television station, no longer has a woodworking show on air is something we have to accept …¦ or do we? It seems New England’s most prolific PBS affiliate has a new show in the works. An announcement was made at the New England Home Show this past weekend (Feb. 25-28, 2010). While the show’s title has yet to be determined, the host has been named.

The woodworker who will take the mallet in hand is Thomas J. MacDonald. You may know him as T-Chisel, or the driving force behind the 207 Woodworking Community.

MacDonald studied carpentry at the Blue Hills Technical High School in Canton, Mass. After joining the Carpenters Union and earning a journeyman’s certificate, he ventured to Boston’s North End and studied at the North Bennet Street School (NBSS).

MacDonald displayed his furniture-making talent while at NBSS when he reproduced a Salem, Mass., secretary during his second year. It was about then that Bob Vila profiled MacDonald on his television show, while Vila was visiting the school. In 2002, MacDonald graduated from NBSS and has been active in woodworking ever since.

So what’s the show going to be? We interviewed MacDonald this morning and according to him , and he emphasized that things may change , the show is all about the woodworking community. He stated more than a few times during our conversation that he’s interested in getting woodworkers inspired.

As for the show, one idea he envisions would be a visit to a museum to meet with a curator and focus the conversation on a specific piece of furniture , or maybe one aspect of that piece, say a ball-and-claw foot.

Back in the studio , and this next part is way cool , MacDonald hopes to have a highly skilled woodworker demonstrate that aspect (carve a foot) in front of a live audience , a live audience! He then added that it would be great to pull an audience member on stage to also work on the technique while guided by the expert.

Museums and other great places to visit, fantastic furniture, skilled craftsmen and hands-on demonstrations. We’re all for it.

I’m sure more information will surface during the coming days and weeks. As it does, we’ll post it here. Stay tuned. In the meantime, below is the New England Home Show video announcement.

– Glen D. Huey

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Showing 4 comments
  • Rick Clark

    Lady and Gentlemen,

    I learned a lot from Norm over the years and I am sure that I would learn from Mr. T, but can’t WGBH find someone whose speech isn’t quite so Bostonian? T surely has a lot of spunk and I will give him the benefit of his resume. It would just be easier for me to have a fun woodworker who sounds less northeastern. Just my 2 cents and worth every penny of it!


  • Tom Ardito

    A good name for the Tom Mcdonald show might be
    "The Woodworker’s Club"

    It new show sounds good so far and I hope it has a "real" feel to it. Good luck to all involved!


  • Randall

    Alas there will never be another "New Yankee." Even if there is another new show for those who are jonesing for a show there is one crucial element that will be missing. When Norm started his show, it was more like high end finish carpentry. He learned new techniques and WE LEARNED WITH HIM. In this world of instant gratification, we will learn from the experts. They will impart knowledge and we will glean what we need. Although I look forward to "T-Chisel’s" show…I do so with some trepidation. It will take some getting used to.

  • Tommy

    i just want to say thanks to pop-wood for coming out in support of all our efforts..we hope to be able to be a part of this great group for years to come..
    thanks again



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