You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Red Sox Live

5

7

▼  8th Inning 2 outs

America’s carpenter

Abram, Norm

This Old House Master carpenter Norm Abram.

Daphne B. Noyes for WGBH

This Old House Master carpenter Norm Abram.

Norm Abram may be THE most famous household name out of UMass. So what if he never quite graduated.

The resident carpenter on the popular, long-running PBS television series “This Old House,” Abram began attending UMass as a mechanical engineering major in 1967.

Continue reading below

“As you can imagine, it was a pretty interesting time in history, with the Vietnam War going on,” he says.

And while Abram says he loved the campus and has fond memories of his fraternity brothers — “I joined Pi Lambda Phi,” he says — he didn’t care for the technical side of mechanical engineering.

“Besides, at the time the demand for mechanical engineers wasn’t great, unlike today,” he says.

So Abram switched majors to business, with the idea in the back of his mind of starting his own construction firm, since he had watched his self-employed carpenter father run a successful shop during his childhood.

Abram left school in 1972, just a few credits shy of that degree. After working for a start-up Cambridge construction company, he founded his own company in Boston, got hired to do a small carpentry job at the home of Russell Morash, creator of “This Old House,” and Morash liked Abram’s style. The rest is house-building history.

“My experience on campus was valuable,” he says. “And you could say much of my success started there.”

Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.