The old time woodshop journals #46: A book worth more than just shavings

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Blog entry by jjw5858 posted 01-22-2014 10:00 PM 1695 reads 2 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 45: Old treasures, green mountains and great fortunes. Part 46 of The old time woodshop journals series Part 47: Resurrecting craft in a throw away society »

What book is that? Oh, it is the rereleased printing of Wille Sundqvist’s “Swedish Carving Techniques”

For a few years now this fine book has become a sort of cult classic and being that this book was out of print the powers that be that did have it for sale were sure to put a hefty price tag on it. I have seen copies in various condition ranging anywhere from $150-$500…..yeah…..It pays to wait.

Finally about 8 months or so back this book by popular demand was rereleased and just recently last month I finally got around to getting a copy for myself. Some of you may have this book, many probably do not. If you do, I hope your knowledge and joy of the subjects in this text may have made your life a little bit better. I can say for myself this book is worth more than just shavings.

I find this book to be a friendly companion to anyone that needs to take a break from the maddening routines of the modern world and all of it’s high tech clutter. This book is also a great break for those woodworkers that make production pieces and are getting burnt out from the daily grind of doing that.

This book to me is a simple text with amazing complexity, pride and care that reminds us of many lost skills that are valuable to everyone in one way or another. Each chapter contains wonderful lessons. Wille explains the care and craftsmanship of creating a ladle, spoon, bowl, or wooden buttons, all the way to correctly sharpening a pencil with your sloyd knife.

The chapters are all about care and having pride for your various crafts. I found the subject of using sandpaper very helpful and interesting. It has a spirit of the wilderness while embracing natural shapes and elements to see what we can use timber for in our own daily lives.

I would say it celebrates the tree and traditional tools as well as plugging into some electrical aspects of your shop ranging from the use of a bandsaw or lathe.

Personally I think if you never have carved before or simply do not care too carve at all that this book still contains some wonderful views on the subject of carrying on traditions for us and the future of our youth to explore.

Sadly I am reminded by reading this book that many of our current youth are lost. They lack proper mentoring and would benefit greatly from learning a craft. Bells, whistles, icons and phone apps should not be the only breakfast, lunch and dinner for our society to gulp down and drone forward on mindlessly and empty. Kids need something more personal that will install pride and discipline within themselves that they can carry with them throughout life. Although I would also agree that many of us adults could benefit from these solid principles as well.

I am glad to say that this book can now be purchased through country workshops as well as other outlets for a very decent price of $25.00. You may find this link helpful if you have the interest:

Just recently made my first butter paddle, another lesson in one of the books chapters. It was a real blast to give it a try and see new shapes and be challenged by them. If you care too, please stop by my latest project and check it out along with 2 new spoons. All done in Cherry!

I hope this may inspire some or even one of you to sharpen your hatchet, get a yourself a handy, sharp knife and spend an hour or few outside along a tree or in your shop. Life is full of wonderful, free and natural gifts that we take so much for granted.

Enjoy every shaving, and be well!


-- "Always continue to learn, laugh and share!" JJW

4 comments so far

View llwynog's profile


288 posts in 3741 days

#1 posted 01-22-2014 10:15 PM

Hi Joe,
I have ordered this book last week and I should get it soon. Looking forward to reading it.

-- Fabrice - "On est bien bĂȘte mais on sent bien quand on se fait mal" - my grandfather

View AnthonyReed's profile


10177 posts in 3603 days

#2 posted 01-23-2014 02:02 PM

Thank ya Joe.

-- ~Tony

View Dave's profile


11435 posts in 4003 days

#3 posted 01-24-2014 01:13 PM

Joe i will have to check it out

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View mafe's profile


13204 posts in 4252 days

#4 posted 01-30-2014 02:36 PM

Thank you for the review, I will look into this.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

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