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  1. #1
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    Default Tom Silva and Norm Abrams

    In the credits Tom Silva is referred to as General Contractor and Norm Abrams as Master Carpenter. This is confusing, as I often see Tom doing more carpentry than Norm in any given episode, not just rough framing but high end finish as well. Isn't Tom a master carpenter too?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Tom Silva and Norm Abrams

    It's not confusing at all, both these guys are exceptionally great in what they do and are capable of doing trades outside what their licenses describe.

    Licenses are divided by trades, like finish carpenter, framer, plumber, etc. Most tradesmen know how to do many things beyond their trades well, but their licenses may prohibit doing it for others for money.

    A general contractor is a person who performs duties like supervising, coordinating a few subcontractors, each doing his trade. But most GCs are tradesmen themselves. Every license is merely a piece of paper that says the the holder of this paper passed a state exam related to the trade. You'll find many GCs who are very good doing multiple trades, and others who are not good at any trade - they just passed the test and got a license.

    A good craftsmen, a good tradesman or a good handyman is never confined by a license or a title, like Tom and Norm. When you have a Midas touch, you can excel in just about everything you do and you are only limited by your imagination, not by a piece of paper called license.
    Last edited by dj1; 02-07-2013 at 08:50 AM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Tom Silva and Norm Abrams

    Oh, so Tom is a master carpenter too.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Tom Silva and Norm Abrams


    Tom Silva is one gifted dude, he's good in just about everything he does, especially if you see it on TV.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Tom Silva and Norm Abrams

    Quote Originally Posted by dj1 View Post
    Every license is merely a piece of paper that says the the holder of this paper passed a state exam related to the trade. You'll find many GCs who are very good doing multiple trades, and others who are not good at any trade - they just passed the test and got a license.
    Truer words have never been spoken! The last contractor I worked for was exactly this, he inherited his license, he had no trade skills what so ever. What he could do was estimate and hire the people needed to complete a job, which is how he survived for 30 years.

    Here is a quote from Norm a few years back:
    "Kevin started the show by saying "it is a term that's thrown around loosely, but today we thought we would try to get to the heart of the definition and who better to help us then our very own master craftsman, Norm Abram". Kevin then asked Norm, "What's a master craftsman and how do you define it". Norms reply, "It's not a classification or position, it's really a level of craft that you aspire to. You start out as an apprentice, then you become a journeyman and eventually the master. Now once you're a master craftsman you now have the ability to teach the next wave of apprentices and journeyman (pause) keeps the craft and tradition alive".

    So there you have it, though there is no official "master craftsman" certification for what Norm does, that's how Norm defines his status as a master crafsman. "

    Basically, it has to do with years in the trade and total knowledge base and ability to effectively do the work. In the real world, the title "master" doesn't mean much, but in TV land and to the masses who don't know any better, it sounds like the next best thing since sliced bread. That is not to diminish the knowledge and capabilities of the TOH crew, it is to say that there are a great many of us "masters" out there, we just don't have a tv camera in our face.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Tom Silva and Norm Abrams

    a master carpenter is more than just one who passes on his knowledge to an apprentice. .it means they have worked and aquired all the skills in every facet of the carpentry trade from concrete formwork, framing, interior and exteior finish, cabinet making and what not. you throw them into any situation and they not only do it but do it extremely well..

    in this day and age its becoming harder and harder to find such a tradesman, most carpenters today specialize in framing, or siding, trim. cabinets.. they know one or two things and thats it
    fire up the saw and make some dust

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Tom Silva and Norm Abrams

    In my area(Quebec) to be a master (What ever) you must pass several exams technical,estimation,Safety, administration ect. before they give you a master's licence. this is also a must to get a contractors licence. I do like like the idea that people call them selves master unless a exam is taken.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Tom Silva and Norm Abrams

    Silva Brothers started on the show as framing contractors, Norm as a master carpenter. Tom later extended to being a GC, in supervising other tradesmen, getting the right materials on site as needed, while still working.

    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Tom Silva and Norm Abrams

    There is a difference between 30 years experience and 1 year's experience repeated 30 times.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Tom Silva and Norm Abrams

    Well, like so much else the definition varies. If you're in a Trade Union, then there are time and experience requirements plus a knowledge and skills test involved before you are given "Master" status (and the certificate) in a given trade. The word has a concise meaning there, but elsewhere it's usually a title 'taken on' by those of us who have seen and done it all to an extremely high level of quality, and more importantly understand how all the other trades interact with yours so that you don't create problems for them by doing yours wrong.

    I recall seeing where a Brain Surgeon said anyone could do brain surgery with a year's training and some practice, but it was fully understanding what you were doing and why you were doing it that way which sets Brain Surgeons apart from a GP's simply stitching up a cut, and that level of knowledge took many, many years to acquire. So my definition of a "Master" Tradesman is someone who not only knows what they are doing and can do it superbly, but who knows why it's done that way which makes it the best way to do it. They also know what not to do and why you don't do that, which can be even more important. And as they say, "YMMV"

    Phil

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