Building a turkey-bot assemblage from vintage kitchenware

If it’s November, it’s time to make the Thanksgiving bird. Here are the ingredients I used to make mine:

And here’s what he ended up looking like when he was all done:

I call him “TurkeyBot 2018.”

The idea for this guy started with a vintage aluminum juicer that I found in a thrift store. The second I saw it, I knew it was a turkey head. It just needed a body to go with it.

Then I found an old beat-up Bundt pan. It was a match made in thrift store heaven. The hole in the middle of it wasn’t ideal, because, in my experience at least, turkeys don’t generally have giant holes through the middle of their bodies. But I figured I could plug the hole with something …

… like an aluminum lid from the stash of random pot, pan and canister lids that I keep on hand for emergency situations such as this one. 

Fortunately I had a lid that was not only the perfect size, but also a perfect match color- and patina-wise. The lid originally had a knob attached to it, but I ended up removing it last year …

… to use as the face for this little robot turkey. I remember wondering at the time if I should throw the leftover knobless lid out, but my inner hoarding tendencies told me I would regret it if I did. As usual, my inner hoarding tendencies won out, and, at least in this case, it was worth it.

So here’s the knobless lid filling in the gap in the middle of the Bundt pan body.

And here’s the pan that I found at another a thrift store to use as the tail feathers. I thought the fluted edge kind of looked like feathers and would give the turkey a little dimension.

When I stacked the layers together, he started looking like a turkey. A legless, footless turkey, but at least I was making progress.

Here’s what I found for the legs/feet. They were some sort of gardening implements in their previous life, but, just like with the juicer, I knew immediately when I saw them that they were destined to become turkey parts.

I got the husband to help me with the next step — drilling holes into the Bundt pan where the legs would be inserted. (He’s much handier with power tools than I am.) He recommended we drill pilot holes first and then … …

… use a paddle bit to drill out a larger hole.

Ta da.

At this point, I decided aluminum turkeys should have yellow feet. So I unscrewed the green feet from the legs and gave them a little spray paint makeover.

I also put a coat of gel stain on the wooden legs to make them a bit darker.

Then I drilled screws into the legs about halfway up, to keep the legs suspended inside the Bundt pan.

I ended up stringing a rubber band between the legs inside the Bundt pan, to keep a little tension between them and keep the feet facing forward.

From there, I started assembling the rest of the body. I ran a 4-inch bolt through the base of the turkey’s neck (and secured it with a nut underneath it.) Then I put the bolt through the knobless lid …

… and put a couple of rubber grommets on the bottom of the bolt, where it goes through the hole in the Bundt pan. I think the grommets are supposed to keep the bolt in place, but I’m not 100 percent sure on that. The grommets were the husband’s idea. He’s my chief engineer and troubleshooter. I’ve learned the hard way that things that work in my head don’t always work in reality, so it’s great to have a live-in consultant to keep the design process on track.

Here’s the back side of the tail feathers, with the bolt sticking out of the rubber grommets in the middle of the Bundt pan.

And here’s what I used to keep everything in place: another random metal lid from my collection.

I screwed a rusty nut onto the end of the bolt that was poking out through the hole in the metal lid.

Then my turkey just needed a face.

The discs that I used for the eyes were actually made of wood. I base coated them with black acrylic paint and then put a layer of watered-down silver paint over top of that to make them look like metal.

The black circles in the middle of the eyes are washers that I painted.

And here he is, all ready for Thanksgiving: TurkeyBot 2018.

I have lots more random parts in my basement, so hopefully I will have time to make at least one more turkey assemblage before Thanksgiving. If not, maybe they’ll become parts to a robot reindeer or junk snowman. Any other fall/winter/Christmas -themed assemblages you’d like to see? I love making turkeys, but maybe it’s time I start branching out. Leave your suggestions in the comments section.

If you liked reading this post, you might enjoy reading about RoboTurkey 3000. He’s a cutie I made last year.

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