Blacksmithing and Metal Work
Herb Nehring Blacksmith Shop

Joe Rafacz (right)Tillers Instructor Joe Rafacz


Joe Rafacz is fascinated by planes, trains, automobiles and anything with gears, engines, levers, and mechanical motion. By occupation a heavy truck tech, Joe likes to design, fabricate, and build with metal and wood, using conceptual drawings to communicate design ideas. He also fosters an interest in renewable energy sources, such as building small wind turbines.


Joe volunteers with the Allegan (MI) County Historical Society, working in their blacksmith shop at the historical village during the county fair and other public events. He is also a member of the Michigan Artist Blacksmith Association (MABA) and volunteers with the Bloomingdale (MI) Village Museum, having helped with train displays at their early events. Joe has taught at Tillers since about 2005.


An avid family man, Joe and his wife have five children of varying ages. Joe's kids have also volunteered at Tillers, his son being a frequent presence in the Herb Nehring Blacksmith Shop. Joe has gained experience as a teacher both in Tillers' Nehring Blacksmith Shop during classes and demonstrations and in homeschooling his children.


"I enjoy meeting other people with like-minded ideas and goals. It's good to bounce problems and issues around to possibly create an answer. My goals are to learn as much as I can, compile the learned wisdom of others (most importantly our elders before they leave us), and use it myself to teach others."


Joe's classes

Blacksmithing for Youth - 313

Rope Making - 194




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