Building a junk turkey from thrift store parts

Junk turkey season is here, folks. Time to spread out the cache of kitchen castoffs that I’ve collected over the spring and summer and assemble them into an odd duck of a bird.

Here are the supplies I’m using for this guy:

  • Bundt pan (or is it a Jell-O mold?)
  • Old pie tin
  • Two aluminum funnels
  • Random aluminum lids and metal discs
  • Two L-shaped brackety-type things
  • 6-inch threaded rod
  • Various bolts, nuts and washers

Junk turkey parts

As usual, I purchased most of my supplies at the St. Vincent de Paul Dig ‘n Save in Madison — where you pay by the pound, and you can walk out of the store with a cart full of lightweight aluminum treasures like these for a couple bucks.

The L-shaped brackets came from the annual Sacred Hearts Catholic Church rummage sale in Sun Prairie last month. (I got four of them for 50 cents, so you’ll probably see the other two appear in a future creation.)

The hardware — except for the 6-inch threaded rod — was pilfered from my husband’s workshop. The threaded rod is the linchpin that holds the entire turkey together, and sadly, I couldn’t beg, borrow or steal one of those from any of my usual secondhand sources, so I ended up having to buy that retail.

Head first

Alright, lets’s get to it. Here’s how I assembled this guy, who will henceforth be referred to as “George.”

To start, I ran one of my pilfered bolts through the hole in the small funnel and stacked that funnel on top of the larger handled funnel.

Next, I flipped the funnels over and slid a small disc onto the bolt inside the funnels.

I screwed a nut onto the bolt to hold the two funnels together. As you’ve probably surmised, this will be George’s head and beak.

I didn’t want to leave the back of his head open, so I attached the top of a coffee filter basket onto the top of the handled funnel with Gorilla Glue.

Making a turkey sandwich

From here, I set George’s head aside to work on his body, starting with the Bundt pan/Jello-O mold.

I pieced his body together like I was making a turkey sandwich. First, I stacked a lid on top of the Bundt pan/Jell-O mold. (Conveniently, the lid already had a hole drilled in the center of it, where a knob had previously been attached.)

Then I stacked a smaller disc (which also had a conveniently drilled hole in the center of it) onto the lid. I needed to add the smaller disc in order for George’s head/neck to lie flat when I attached it to the top of the sandwich.

See? This is how George was starting to shape up. The 6-inch threaded rod was going to go through the holes and hold all the pieces together. But before I could attach anything, I had to figure out the tail feathers/leg situation.

The tail feathers/leg situation

Here’s the big pizza-type pan I used for George’s tail feathers. It was going to go behind the Bundt/Jell-O pan as pictured.

I marked a spot near the center of the tail feathers pan where I wanted the threaded rod to go through. I also marked two spots near the bottom of the pan, where I was going to attach the legs.

Then I drilled holes where my spots were marked.

I ran two more of my pilfered bolts through the leg brackets and tail feathers pan.

Here’s what the legs/tail feathers looked like from the front. I secured the leg bolts with nuts, then slid the threaded rod through the center hole in the tail feathers and slid the Bundt pan/Jell-O mold sandwich on top.

Here’s the partially assembled sandwich with the threaded rod poking through the front of George’s body, where his neck and head would be attached.

Ta da. I was so excited/relieved when I set my new junk turkey upright and he actually stood without toppling over. Way to go, George!

I screwed a nut onto the front of the threaded rod to keep his head/neck in place.

Unfortunately the threaded rod was about an inch longer than the sandwich, which meant the end of it was poking out of Geoge’s back. Since I had no idea how to saw an inch off of a metal rod (I’m sure there’s a saw for that, but not one I know how to use), I decided to just cover it up with a pie tin. Then I screwed a nut onto the end of the rod to secure the sandwich from the back.

Adding eyes

All that was left at this point was the eyes, which I Gorilla Glue-d in place.

Once the glue dried, I dug a couple of beads out of my craft stash and used them for eyeballs.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet George.

Does he need wings? I feel like he needs wings. Grrr. I didn’t plan for wings.

If I find wings, I may add them at a later date. But for now, I’m calling George done and introducing him to some of his junk turkey brethren.

More junk turkey tales

If you’re interested in reading the creation stories of some of George’s siblings, check out the links below.

7 Replies to “Building a junk turkey from thrift store parts”

    1. Thanks! I actually found something for wings — the slotted metal scoops that you’d use to remove French fries from a small deep fryer. I have two of them, so I’m going to try to cut the handles off and just use the scoop part. I think they’re the right size, if I can figure out how to attach them.

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