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He Turns Junk Into Mailbox Art
Business is booming for sculptor Marvin "Curly" Leiker who uses an arc welding torch to create mailbox holders and yard decorations out of junked truck and tractor parts.
Curly has sculpted cowboys, Indians, farmers, fisherman, golfers, and even a quarterback with his welder. Look close and you can spot refrigerator compressors used for heads and hats, driveshafts and oilfield pipes for arms and legs, and discarded soft drink compressor cans for bodies. Details are added by welding nuts and bolts to form eyes and buttons. Welds form special touches such as eyebrows, sideburns and mustaches.
With just the right materials, Leiker's cowboys can carry either a gun or a guitar. By varying the amount of bending in each cowboy's hat, legs and arms, each sculpture can be individualized.
Says Leiker: "Every time I sell a mailbox, I get one or two sales nearby. But they don't want one just like the next guy. I'm still making them different enough so that you won't drive down the road and see two alike."
While cowboys have been the favorites of customers over the years, an Indian mailbox marks the entrance to Leiker's "Sweetwater Ranch" near Victoria, Kan. He has also created a greyhound for one woman, a hog mailbox for a hog farmer and a quarterback for a former Kansas State University football coach.
Normally, Leiker leaves the finished sculptures unpainted and doesn't remove old paint spots or rust already on the metal. Mailboxes aren't the only uses for Leiker's sculptures. He says they make good yard lantern holders, lawn decorations and firewood holders. The going rate for one of his creations is right at $350.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Marvin "Curly" Leiker, Rt. 2, Box 22, Victoria, Kan. 67671 (ph 913 628-8161).

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1980 - Volume #4, Issue #5