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:

Bundt pan, aluminum juicer, lids and garden trowels used to assemble a junk turkey

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

Turkey assemblage made from metal and aluminum kitchenware

I call him “TurkeyBot 2018.”

1950s aluminum juicer used in robot turkey assemblage

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.

Old Bundt pan that will become part of a junk robot turkey assemblage

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, turkeys don’t generally have giant holes through the middle of their bodies. But I figured I could plug the hole with a small metal lid.


Fortunately, I had a large stash of random metal lids at home — which I keep on hand for emergency situations such as this one.  I was thrilled to find one that was not only the perfect size, but also a perfect match color- and patina-wise.

The lid had a knob on top of it back when I brought it home, but I ended up removing it last year …

Junk turkey assemblage made from old Jell-O mold, miniature tart mold, old knobs and other metal parts

… 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.

Assembling a junk turkey from an aluminum canister lid and Bundt pan

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.

Crafting a junk turkey robot out of aluminum pans, lids and a vintage juicer

See? He’s starting to look like a turkey, right?


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.

Two small pilot holes drilled into a Bundt pan being used in a junk turkey assemblage

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 the idea of green turkey feet was utterly ridiculous. Everyone knows aluminum turkeys should have yellow feet. So I unscrewed the feet from the legs and gave them a little 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 when I make turkey robots. I always show him my plans before I get started on projects, and then he shoots them down and comes up with alternate ideas that will work in reality instead of just in my head.

A bolt holds metal pieces of kitchen junk together in a turkey assemblage.

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.

The back of a metal turkey assemblage made from kitchenware

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.

Junk turkey assemblage with metal eyes being placed on aluminum juicer 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.

Vintage aluminum juicer that resembles a turkey face with two metal discs on it that look like eyes

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

Junk turkey assemblage made from a Bundt pan, canister lid, aluminum juicer, garden trowels and other kitchenware pieces

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.

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