Tillers International

Founded in 1981, Tillers International is a multi-faceted non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of people in rural areas around the world.  We work with farmers and artisans to create effective, innovative, and sustainable solutions to their problems. We preserve what many refer to as "traditional" hand skills because of their particular relevance to present-day needs and realities. Our specialization in these skills ensures more effective collaboration in tool and project development with farmers and artisans. 


At our headquarters in SW Michigan we offer around 80 classes/year with expert instruction in draft animal farming, blacksmithing and woodworking. Among these are two, six-day Timber Framing and Raising classes, one in May and one in September. Tillers' timber frame classes specialize in historical post and beam construction featuring hand tools such as boring mills and framing chisels. Modern power tools are demonstrated and used on the margins. The classes build skills for producing  quality work with or without electricity. 

Engineers discuss design elements and skilled framers guide you through layout, boring and chiseling mortises, forming tenons, cutting wind braces, assembling bents, and finally the thrill of raising day!  Class projects involve designs around 12x18 with a 12/12 roof. 

Tillers also offers a three day class in Stone Masonry.

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