Traditional Estonian Log Building with Hand Tools

Toimumise aeg: 15.08–20.08.2020

Even though this spring has been unexpected worldwide and summer plans are uncertain for many of you, we have decided that our course in August will take place as planned for those who are able to travel here and we do what we can to make your stay safe and hearty. All places are booked now!
Please find official travel status updates here

It’s the seventh year we invite people interested in carpentry to learn how the log structures were built in old days only with hand tools. Over the six-day 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. Workshop participants will also learn about the historical and cultural context of log-building in Estonia, and about historic buildings and restoration techniques. The workshop curriculum includes visits to Mooste manor workshops, local log-building company and a tour of the open-air museum.

During the course 4 x 5 m sauna will be built with dove tail joints using only hand tools. Participants are not expected to have any log building experience.


The Dates
The workshop is held on August 15-20, 2020. Full lodging is provided from Friday August 14 evening to Friday August 21 morning.

The Group 
The course is designed for non-Estonian speakers and will be held in English. Space is limited to 14 participants; please register early. During the past five years there have been participants from USA, Canada, Australia, France, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Germany, United Kingdom, Hungary, Spain, Italy, and also English speakers from Estonia! 

The Tutors
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, timberframe 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 surrounded by 16th-century 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.

Accommodations are at the small private Mooste guesthouse, which is a restored building in the historic manor complex. All meals will be provided with an emphasis on local food.

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

720 EUR,
includes everything in-country: tuition, accommodation, all meals, organized field-trips. Full lodging is provided from Friday August 14 evening to Friday August 21 morning. Participants are responsible for their own international transport, travel insurance, and extra-curricular costs.

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 for the professional and general public alike. Vanaajaamaja has been hosting workshops and organizing training courses for Estonian carpenters since 1998.

More information/questions:

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. Germain Joyet 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