Events

We offer workshops on a variety of topics. We are currently accepting proposals for workshops taught by local experts. If you have experience in a traditional or sustainable technology and would like to earn a little money while sharing your skills, please contact us.

Upcoming Workshops

Some of the below workshops have dates, but join as a member to get a discount and/or subscribe our our listserv to be notified when signup is possible.

All classes are $50 or as noted. Attend any of the $50 classes all summer for $500 (and take $50 off of the additional course costs). Materials fees are extra.

*This is a building project and timelines may change. Classes with an asterisk may move, but you’ll get a full refund if it changes and you cannot make it.

*Mar. 11
2023
Felling TreesWe’ll be a quarter mile off site cutting spruce trees for the timber frame. We’ll cover dropping trees, limbing, and bucking. We’ll also go over moving logs without machines.
9:00a-2:00p$50
*Mar. 18
2023
Refurbishing Antique Timber Frame Tools This class will be an hands-on workshop refurbishing tools from rusted to ready to use.  Rust removal, re-grinding, sharpening, rehelving, what to look for in purchasing antique tools and what supplies are necessary to upkeep and refurbish tools at home will be covered.  This workshop will focus on the needs and interests of timber framing, so bring your tools to work on!  This course will not cover fine reconditioning for valuable antiques, this is about making user tools useful again. Timber-frame students should have the following at a minimum: crosscut saw and chisels (1″, 1 1/2″, 2″). See Timber Frame Handbook (when available) for more.
9:00a-2:00p$50
*Mar. 25
2023
Build a ToolboxWe hope to head over to Grand Inspired to build our own toolboxes. Experienced carpenters can make a traditional jointed box, while those learning the ropes will make a functional toolbox with fasteners. Timber-frame students should bring their tools to custom-fit storage.
9:00a-2:00p$50
+$50 mat. fee
*Apr. 1
2023
Build Mallets & SawhorsesWe will build mallets and sawhorses for students to use for the timber-frame build. Each student will complete their own mallet and pair of sawhorses. Not only is this practical, to provide enough tools for the class, it introduces mortise-and-tenon joints.
9:00a-4:00p$50
+$50 mat. fee
*Apr. 15
2023
Milling TimbersWe’ll be 9 miles off site milling logs into timbers. We’ll talk about laying out cuts, keeping things square, and organizing hundreds of pieces. We’ll work with an experienced wood mizer operator.
9:00a-4:00p$50
*Apr. 22
2023
Foundation BuildingWe will go over planning and sizing masonry foundations. We’ll look at soil types as we excavate and build stone masonry piers and running foundations.
9:00a-4:00p$50
*Apr. 29
2023
Cutting Joints IThis first week will cover reading plans, layout, and basic joints.
9:00a-4:00p$50
*May 6
2023
Cutting JointsWe will continue with more complex joints.
9:00a-4:00p$50
*May 20
2023
Assembling FloorSills, joists, and temporary decking will be installed.
9:00a-4:00p$50
*May 27
2023
Building RaisingThe most exciting day, as the frame is assembled and raised. Students can bring friends and family.
9:00a-4:00p$50
*Jun. 5
2023
Purlins and ShinglesWe’ll cover proper installation of skip sheeting and wooden shingles, with both nails and staples.
9:00a-4:00p$50
*Jun. 17
2023
Flooring
9:00a-4:00p$50
*Jun. 29
2023
Milling Siding and Floorboards
9:00a-4:00p$50
*Jul. 1
2023
Light Straw-Clay Walls
9:00a-4:00p$50
*Jul. 8
2023
Windows
9:00a-4:00p$50
*Jul. 22
2023
Floor & Interior
9:00a-4:00p$50
*Jul. 29
2023
Siding
9:00a-4:00p$50
*Aug. 5
2023
Electrical
9:00a-4:00p$50
*Aug. 19
2023
Plumbing
9:00a-4:00p$50
*Aug. 26
2023
Heating
9:00a-4:00p$50
*Sep. 2
2023
Solar PanelsIf funds are available, we will be installing a 4-5kW solar panel system with battery storage. You’ll learn about design, siting, products, panel installation, wiring, and more.
9:00a-4:00p$50
*Sep. 9
2023
Lime Plaster WallsWe’ll apply traditional three-layer plaster over the interior walls. You’ll learn about the hair, scratch, and finish coats. We’ll talk slaking lime, mixture ratios, and more.
9:00a-4:00p$50
*Sep. 15-17
2023
Masonry Mass HeaterUNCONFIRMED
We hope to have mason Jim Schalles (Tall Grass Hearth and Home) here for a multi-day workshop to build a masonry mass heater in our workshop. A masonry mass heater operates similarly to the popular “rocket mass heater stoves.”
9:00a-4:00p$300

Previous Workshops

03 Dec 16 — Bread Baking
22 Apr 17 — Beehive Inspection
13 May 17 — Basic Carpentry
29 Jul 17 — DIY Solar Water Heating
12 Aug 17 — DIY Solar Water Heating
28 Oct 17 — Cordial Making
29 Oct 17 — Walipini Greenhouse I: Foundation and Earthbags
04 Nov 17 — Walipini Greenhouse II: Earthbags
11 Nov 17 — Snowshoe Building
12 Nov 17 — Walipini Greenhouse III: Earthbags and Superstructure
02 Dec 17 — Venison Butchery
18 Feb 18 — Knife Sharpening
24 Feb 18 — Flintknapping
03 Mar 18 — Maple Sugaring
25 Mar 18 — Nukadoko – Traditional Japanese Pickles
22 Apr 18 — Apple Planting, Grafting, and Pruning
28 Apr 18 — Garden Tool Use and Care
12 May 18 — Basic Carpentry, Aldo Leopold Bench
18–20 May 18 — Working Zen Retreat
26 May 18 — Grape Vine Establishment and Care
28 Jul 18 — Shibori, Japanese Fabric Dying
22 Sep 18 — Mite-Tolerant Bee-Breeding Program Field Day
27 Jan 19 — Beeswax Food Wraps
1–2 Jun 19 — Skill Share Classes: Rocket Stove Construction, Basic and Improving Scything, Knife and Tool Sharpening, Backyard Permaculture and Sacred Space, Spoon Carving, Shiitake and Wincap Mushroom Growing
05 Oct 19 — Installing Solar Panels
19 Oct 19 — Prairie-Seed Gathering
25 Jul 20 — Harvesting and Processing Wheat by Hand
18 Oct 20 — Prairie-Seed Gathering
Jun–Aug 21 — Timber Framing and Thatching Work Days
Jul–Aug 21 — Flax to Linen
17 Jul 21 — Harvesting Wheat By Hand
Oct 21 — Learn to Spin: Fleece to Yarn
09 Apr 22 — Refurbishing Antique Tools (at Schumacher Farm)
16 Apr 22 — Learn to Spin Wool
17 Apr 22 — Planting, Grafting, and Pruning Apple Trees
06 Jul 22 — Harvest and Process Wheat and Rye by Hand
20 Aug 22 — Flax to Linen

Information for Instructors

You send us an email at lowtechinstitute@gmail.com with your name, contact info, a 2–4 sentence description of the course, your qualifications, some possible dates, and suggested price. Also please note what type of facilities you’d need on hand (e.g., work benches, chairs, outdoor space, and audio/visual set ups). Once we’ve got the details hammered out, the institute staff will promote the workshop on local social networks, take reservations and fees, and get everything set up for the course. You come out, teach the course, and head home with $25-50 per class hour (dependent on attendance) plus reimbursement for direct costs (e.g., handouts, samples, take-home items for students). For example, if you teach a sold-out three-hour class on tying flies and provide $25 worth of tying supplies, you’d head home with $175 ((3 hr × $50/hr) + $25). We will work together to decide on the cost of the class and minimum number of attendees. For our part, we provide insurance, space and infrastructure for the class, reservation coordination, fee collection, and staff hours to advertise, coordinate, prepare, and facilitate.

Transition Series

The institute is committed to supporting the skills we need as individuals and communities to be self-sufficient without major fossil-fuel inputs. In that light, we’re looking for instructors to teach courses on skills in the rubric found here. For example, these can range from caring for and raising animals to planning gardens and propagating plants, building skills and home water systems, and permaculture and energy audits. Really any skill that is useful on a homestead — and there are many — would be welcome. Please read the transition description and contact us to pitch your class and see below for how it works to teach a class with us.