Making another thrift-store junk turkey

Aluminum coffee filter basket, apple corer, funnel, measuring cup, silver tray and small metal pieces

I finished building another junk turkey, just (barely) before my self-imposed Thanksgiving deadline.

Aluminum apple corer slicer

This was my starting point this time. You know how some people look at clouds and see animals or objects in them? That’s how I look at thrift store kitchen gadgets. But instead of seeing animals or objects, I see turkey parts.

When I happened upon this vintage apple corer/slicer a while back, I saw turkey wings.  I had no idea what I would attach the wings to, but I assumed I could figure it out as I went along. And I did. The hunt for pieces and the mental challenge of puzzling out how those pieces are going to fit together is the most fun part of making these birds.

Turkey bot assemblage made of thrift-store junk

This is my completed turkey. If you couldn’t see wings in the apple corer before, hopefully you can now.

It was a long process to finish this guy.

Junk turkey parts including an apple corer resting on top of a coffee basket

For a long time, he just looked like the photo above: an apple corer stacked on top of a coffeepot basket that I found in my basement from a previous thrift store outing. Every time I’d see the two pieces together, I’d wonder what I could use for a head and feet.

Silver Metal Drawer Pull

The feet are always the hardest part for me to find because, as a general rule, turkeys have two legs, and when I’m out thrift store shopping, I rarely find two of anything.

This time around I realized a metal drawer pull I had in my basement stash would work for the feet. Even though it’s one piece, it kind of looks like two. And it’s solid metal, so it’s got some heft to it, which I hoped would mean that it would be able keep a turkey standing upright.

Drill piercing the middle of a thick metal drawer pull

I wasn’t sure if I would be able to drill through the heavy chunk of metal, so I asked my husband, who is becoming somewhat of an expert in the field of junk turkey engineering. He assured me it was possible and even volunteered to do it for me.  

Coffee grounds basket attached to a metal drawer pull by a bolt

Once holes were drilled in both the drawer pull and the coffee basket, I attached the two with a bolt.

Aluminum 1/3 cup with hole drilled through it

I didn’t have anything in my stash to use as a head, so I headed back to the thrift store. When I found this aluminum measuring cup, I thought I was onto something, because it was the right size for a turkey head and the handle could work as his neck. Plus, the measuring cup already had a hole drilled through the bottom of the handle which would make it easy to attach it to the rest of the body.

measuring cup with metal discs for eyes and a beak

Initially I was thinking I’d use the back of the measuring cup as the face and glue on some smaller metal pieces for the eyes and beak …

Aluminum funnel on top of measuring cup

… but then I found this aluminum funnel in my stash. The big end of the funnel was basically the same diameter as the measuring cup, which gave me the idea to stack them like so, making the spout end of the funnel a built-in beak.

Small aluminum funnel with a bolt pushed into the spout

To assemble the head, I slid a bolt through the beak …

The two pieces of the turkey's head: an aluminum measuring cup and a funnel

… and drilled a hole in the back of the measuring cup.

Funnel and measuring cup held together by a bolt

Then I just had to slide the bolt through the hole and secure it with a nut.

With the head squared away, I went to work on his body. I found a bolt and washer to slide through the apple corer and the measuring cup. Unfortunately when I tried to slide on the next piece — the coffee basket — I discovered that the turkey’s neck wobbled around. My husband came up with the perfect solution for that. 

Apple corer balanced on a  sawhorse as a man cuts a small notch into the top of the apple corer

He cut a notch out of the top of the apple corer using his hacksaw.

Here’s what the apple corer looked like with the notch cut out of it …

… and here it is with the measuring cup resting inside the notch.

Next, I ran the bolt through the turkey’s coffee basket body.

silver tray with a bolt through it to make a tail for a junk turkey

Then I drilled a hole in a silver tray that I found to use as his tail feathers. I stacked the tray behind the coffee basket, ran the bolt through the hole and put a nut on the end of it to hold everything in place.

Then I held my breath and crossed my fingers as I stood the almost-completed turkey on his feet, hoping that he wouldn’t wobble and topple over.

Phew. No wobbling. The heavy cabinet pull base did the trick.

Metal turkey parts joined together and

All I had left to do at that point was to glue some metal discs onto the turkey’s head to create eyes. I painted the smaller inner circles black (with acrylic craft paint) to make them stand out.

Here he is, all ready for Thanksgiving 2018.

Turkey bot assemblage made of thrift-store junk

Isn’t he cute?

Turkey bot assemblage make of thrift store junk

Once again, I am totally smitten with one of these guys. They each have their own personality. I think this one needs a name to match his. Anybody have any ideas? Let me know in the comments below if you do.

4 Replies to “Making another thrift-store junk turkey”

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