Update on ‘Woodworking in Estonia’



On Friday morning i finished my first comprehensive edit of Ants Viires’s “Woodworking in Estonia,” the next book we’ll be publishing.

In many ways, “Woodworking in Estonia” is unlike any other book we’ve published during the last decade. It’s an ethnographic study of the wood culture of a Northern European country from the 10th to the 20th centuries. There is no direct “how-to” information in the book. It has thousands of footnotes in Russian and Estonian. And few Americans can point to Estonia on a map. Here, let me help remedy that.

But at the same time, it’s a lot like every book we’ve published. It is an account of what has been lost. If you are willing to dig into this book, the rewards are substantial. It is a comprehensive overview of the flourishing, plateau and decay of a wood-based culture. It is told without romanticism. No politics. And it has hundreds of beautiful hand illustrations and photographs of things that I want to build. (I never knew I wanted to build a sled before!)

Today I started my second comprehensive edit of the text. This job should take a week – as opposed to the three months I spent on the first edit. Then it will have a quick (I hope) copy edit and will be off to the printer in June.

I know that some of you out there will be bemused by the book. Some of you will buy it only to support us (thanks!). But some of you will dive in, you’ll weather the odd-sounding place-names and technical jargon, and you will see incredible beer mugs. Fascinating workbenches. Rakes. Spinning wheels. Latvian chairs. Hollow vessels made from tree trunks. Boards fastened with bird feathers. And on and on.

It’s an important book for green woodworking and woodworking in general. And we are proud to be bringing it to you with the full support of the Viires family (more on that in a future post).

Stay tuned for more information on this book in June.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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7 Responses to Update on ‘Woodworking in Estonia’

  1. Richard says:

    I started looking for this book immediately after hearing Roy Underhill mention it somewhere. I am super excited for it and am so grateful you are publishing it. I wonder if it will pair well with Arvo Pärt.

  2. gtrboy77 says:

    I checked out the book via interlibrary loan a few years back after I heard Roy mention it being one of his favorite woodworking books. The copy I borrowed was worn to the point that the cover was falling off and the pages were falling out. The sections that I remember reading were fascinating (harvesting wood during certain phases of the moon). I literally cannot wait for the Lost Art Press version to be released; I have been friggin’ stoked since hearing about it last year. I reckon it will be a sleeper hit.

  3. I’m looking forward to this title as well. Thank you for publishing it.

  4. wldrylie says:

    Please do build the sled! I built a three man toboggan from oak and walnut with ash runners that I steam bent and shaped on a plywood form in high school woodworking class in 1967. It was a copy from a winter scene woodcutting I saw on an Amish logging office wall in Big Run Pa. It was two piece and steerable. On our farm in Indiana Pa. we had a long cleared hill that got crusty in February, all I can say is my two friends and I experienced many a kick ass ride down that hill! I was fortunate to grow up on a 180 acre farm with lots of timber that enabled me to build many great projects over the years. I had woodworking class from 7th grade through 12th grade and all year too, not just a semester. Made laminated cross country ski’s too from Ash and Birch. Unsolicited advice….never make them from Elm. Elm ski’s get so slick they can’t be controlled easily. It is a curse in Norway to ski on Elm. No Holy ground burial for you having a fatal accident on Elm ski’s! I have been told however, Elm ski’s are great in the open for escaping the clutches of Norwegian Trolls.

  5. I have been very excited about this book. I lived in Latvia for a year in a half and visited Estonia. The Baltics are very beautiful places and are rich in culture.

  6. Brian Wenzl says:

    green woodworking in the sense of undried, or in the sense of sustainable?

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