Carpenter most famous for his appearances as a "master carpenter" on the PBS shows This Old House and The New Yankee Workshop. He is also the author of several books dealing with carpentry, including Ask Norm and Norm Abram's New House.
He grew up in Milford, Massachusetts and attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
He received the inaugural EyeSmart Distinguished Service Award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology for his dedication to eye safety in 2009.
He married a woman named Elise.
He began appearing on This Old House with the show's host Kevin O'Connor in 1989.