Scrap Iron Sculpture

Rural Kansas man makes yard art from scrap iron.


| November 1998


For most people, "Turkey Day" comes once a year. For a rural Kansas man, though, it's just another day at the office. John Scott, Bunker Hill, Kan., crafts yard art from scrap iron. His top seller? A turkey, made from tractor seats and the working end of a pitchfork.

"I've probably made 300 of them," he said.

The turkey joins a variety of other critters - egrets, frogs, turtles, grasshoppers, crickets, snails, roosters, pheasants, even Jayhawks - that John sells nationwide. It is a lucrative business for a man who's worked in the scrap metal recycling business (both as a dealer and a craftsman) for the past 10 years.

"Half of my income comes from the sculptures," he said. "And with the price of scrap dropping to $35 a ton (from $75 a ton) in the last four months, that really makes me appreciate what I can make from them."

Now a significant part of his livelihood, the yard art began as little more than a hobby.

"I met this fellow in a tavern," he said. "He was really kind of a hobo, but he said he was a sculptor. Well, I thought he meant clay, but no, he works with scrap metal. I had always dabbled with scrap iron, and the more we talked, the more interested I got. So I brought him home with me and handed him the welder. Well, as I watched, I couldn't wait for him to lay that welder down."