Traditional Estonian Log Building with Hand and Power Tools

Toimumise aeg: 17.05–21.05.2024

Hans-on workshop about traditional log building using both hand and power tools. Over the five-days log building workshop, you’ll learn traditional Estonian log-building by cutting and raising a traditional smoke sauna (suitsusaun), a small log building that is an iconic form in Estonian vernacular architecture. We are practicing log scribing with hand tools like it was done originally in old days, but we also teach to use power tools with nowadays technique. The workshop is 100% practical – working robe and ability to handle tools is expected.

During the course 3 x 5 m sauna will be built with dove tail joints

It was decided to add smoke sauna tradition to UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2014. You’ll definitely have a chance to get part of the traditional sauna culture during your stay.

The workshop belongs to the main program of International Log Building Conference bringing log house builders and enthusiast all over the world to South Estonia (Räpina). We warmly recommend to expand your stay to take part of pre-conference tours, meet professionals on the conference venue or see the competition for log house builders.

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The Dates
The workshop is held full days from May 17 to 21, 2024. The days start at 9AM and last until 5MP. Full lodging is provided from Thursday May 16 evening to Wednesday May 22 morning.

The Group 
The course is designed for non-Estonian speakers and will be held in English. Space is limited to 8 participants; please register early. During the past years there have been participants from all over the world, from Canada to Australia, and also many English speakers from Estonia! 

The Tutor
Margus Palolill, is carpenter and teacher of Estonian traditional log-building. Born and raised in Southeast Estonia where heritage buildings are still amply present, he started with carpentry at the age of 20, first taking interest in shingle roofs and later in various traditional building styles – log-house, timber frame and earth building.

Training site
The course will be held in the Vanaajamaja Center for Traditional Building and Craft. It is located in the small village of Mooste, in southern Estonia. The Center is a renovated old grain dryer next by the grand complex of well-preserved Mooste Manor. The Training Center consists of a broad workshop with enormous two-story heritage protected kiln oven, seminar room with exposition of traditional building materials, a small kitchenette for coffee breaks and a Finish sauna. All tools needed during the course and safety equipment for participants are made available on the training site. However, if you have your favorite hand tools you are used to, bring them along without a hesitation.

Accommodations are at the small private Mooste guesthouse (double occupancy/2 persons per room), which is a restored building in the historic manor complex. All meals will be provided with an emphasis on local food.

920 EUR,
includes everything in-country: tuition, accommodation, all meals, sauna evening. Full lodging is provided from Thursday May 16 evening to Wednesday May 22 morning. Participants are responsible for their own international transport, travel insurance, and extra-curricular costs.

We are expecting the deposit of participation fee (200 eur) to be paid within two weeks after registration to guarantee a spot for the participant. Deposit is not refundable. The rest of the tuition (720 eur) is to be paid by March 31st.

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The course will be hosted by Vanaajamaja, an Estonian non-profit organization dedicated to establishing training programs, disseminating information, and generally serving as a center of Estonian traditional building and log house renovation. Vanaajaamaja has been hosting workshops and organizing training courses for Estonian carpenters since 1998.

More information/questions:; +372 56658117

Building Smoke Sauna with Hand Tools 2019


Mooste is a unique village in southeast Estonia with an active international community of crafts people, builders, artists and musicians: housed within the historic setting of the local manor. In this short video Mooste is introduced by Germain Joyet. Germain came to know Vanaajamaja and Mooste through several visits to Estonia. After a Vanaajamaja smoke sauna building workshop in April 2014, Germain decided to buy an old house in Mooste and renovate it for himself.

Previous courses:

Koolituse toimumise koht:
Vanaajamaja koolituskeskus