Welcome Eleanor Underhill, a Member of ‘The Family’

I am pleased to announce that Eleanor Underhill is making the drawings for the new book from Jennie Alexander and Peter Follansbee that is titled “Make a Joint Stool from a Tree.”

Eleanor is indeed the daughter of Roy Underhill – proud father — and the illustrator for her father’s latest book: “The Woodwright’s Guide.” It is Eleanor’s skilled hand that drafted all the illustrations in Roy’s latest book – my favorite, by the way. And one of the reasons I adore this book is that the illustrations harmonize with all the text.

So when we were choosing an illustrator for “Make a Joint Stool From a Tree,” Eleanor was the natural and obvious choice. We considered lots of other illustrators, but once Eleanor’s work was passed around, it was a done-deal.

She has been a joy to work with on these illustrations, which are remarkably challenging. Not only do they need to show the forms correctly, they also need to show the grain in a way that is not distracting and is accurate for riven oak stock.

So things have, at times, gotten weird. At Jennie’s suggestion, Peter sent Eleanor some stool parts in the mail, which always results in raised eyebrows from a postal carrier. And the discussions about the illustrations have devolved into an intense debate about medullary rays and how to draw them.

In any case, please welcome Eleanor to the team. And rest assured we are fast closing in on a press date for “Make a Stool from a Tree.” More details to come this week.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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16 Responses to Welcome Eleanor Underhill, a Member of ‘The Family’

  1. Mattias in Durham, NC says:

    I love how you guys relentlessly keep improving on yourselves. I noticed Eleanor’s drawings in that last book, too. The genius is that they look so simple and clean.

  2. Mike in NC says:

    Wonderful that the traditions continue in a second generation and both of these families have female woodworkers, authors, illustrators bringing this knowledge to us.

  3. Alfred Kraemer says:

    Maybe she could add an article/chapter with suggestions on manual design drawings. Before getting to a measured drawing, I do my basic design by hand on a doodle-pad/notebook, whatever is handy and can be located later. That is where I (try to) avoid any design/proportion mishaps. It’s a very important step – which I’m not good at.


  4. Muddleheaded WW says:

    I am so looking forward to this long-promised and much awaited book. To have Ms Underhill illustrate it only ads to its value for those of us who have wanted Peter and Jennie to share their wisdom with us.

  5. Floss says:

    And a press date for Roubo?


  6. ecrusch says:

    I loved Eleanor’s illustrations in Roy’s book and can’t wait to see them in Peter & Jennie’s upcoming work.
    It was great seeing Peter on Roy’s show recently, along with Megan.
    I can’t draw a decent stick-man, and Eleanor makes the illustrations come alive.

  7. Wesley Tanner says:

    When you say “the illustrations harmonize with all the text,” what do you mean? Does this indicate a typeface choice? Or do you mean the illustrations sing in harmony with what the authors are saying?

    • lostartpress says:


      I meant that her illustration style suits the tone and language of the book. Sorry it wasn’t clear.

    • joecrafted says:

      It’s a great book and having read it a few times, completely understand what CS means. You read the text, imagine St Roy doing what is described, then look at the illustration. Usually the illustration fit my mental image so well, it was uncanny.

  8. WB Tanner says:

    Oh, I agree with you totally, I was just curious. I thought maybe something in your reading was giving you a new way to think about design. Thanks.

  9. John Cashman says:

    “Peter sent Eleanor some stool parts in the mail, which always results in raised eyebrows from a postal carrier.” Man, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve run into this problem. Although, I think we may be talking about different kinds of stool parts.

    Two by two, hands of blue.

  10. John Cashman says:

    I think that, if you could wrangle the original, signed illustrations from Eleanor, they might net you a fortune for your Kickstarter program. Sad to say, I’m sure the bidding would far exceed what I could personally pay, it seems to me this could net quite a bit.

  11. Bob DeViney says:

    I was re-reading Aldren A. Watson’s “Hand Tools: Their Ways and Workings” at the beach over Thanksgiving and getting sidetracked contemplating his illustrations. I thought to myself ‘the last time this happened was with “The Woodwright’s Guide: Working Wood with Wedge & Edge”.’ Eleanor Underhill is a superb illustrator and her style is perfectly suited to the new book by Alexander and Follansbee. The direction you’re taking Lost Art Press (i.e., the subject matter for new books, the authors/illustrators, the quality bindings, etc.) is an great encouragement to me, and hopefully to others, contemplating the direction of their lives and their woodworking.

  12. woodridgehollow says:

    Wonderful news. I put Eleanor right up there with Tunis, Sloane and Watson.

  13. Brian says:

    I’m curious why you view rent as theft? I don’t like renting when I can buy, but it’s just a license of limited use, rather than to own outright. Some works like rare books and artwork it is not possible to own. If you would gladly pay a tradesman for his service, or a hotel for their shelter, I guess I don’t understand the allegation that renting a home or even a deck sander somehow constitutes theft.

  14. Rob says:

    Are the drawings traced from photographs? This one appears to be an exact copy of a photo on Peter’s website, shown here

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