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His Wooden Toys Have Detailed Moving Parts
When Don Buldhaupt retired and moved off his Minnesota farm, he figured out a way to bring a bit of the farm with him by making wooden tractors, trucks, and other toys.
“My brother and I used to weld a lot of stuff on the farm,” he says. Working in the garage of his new home in town, he started with simple tools such as a jigsaw and rotary tool to create his first John Deere G tractor, like the two tractors he’d used for farming.
The wood, mostly ash, was cut from the farm and sawed at a local mill. Other than occasional wire or nails, all parts are made of wood in Buldhaupt’s toys. That includes cylinders that move, hitches that slide, and tires with tread that looks like real rubber tires or steel wheels with lugs. Using a rotary tool, he replicates tiny details such as sparkplugs and other engine parts.
The tractors are about 12 in. long, 7 1/2 in. wide and 6 1/2 in tall. They aren’t made to a specific scale, but he measures real equipment to get the right proportions.
In addition to models of a dozen tractors from John Deere, Case, Allis-Chalmers, Oliver and more, he created machinery such as corn pickers, combines, and a threshing machine. He made three trucks and construction equipment like the dozers and road grader he operated when he was younger. After taking photos and measuring, he even replicated an abandoned rock crusher.
One of his biggest challenges was making wooden tracks so they turn on a bulldozer. He has a hard time choosing his favorite piece from the 50+ toys he’s made over the years.
Besides the farm and construction toys, Buldhaupt has used his woodworking skills to make barns (which he sold) and dollhouses for granddaughters and neighbor kids.
Minus the toys his brother “borrowed”, Buldhaupt, 89, keeps the rest of the toys scattered around his Minnesota apartment.
“You’ve just got to love what you’re doing. I enjoy seeing the toys around me, though I often can’t remember how I made them,” he says.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Don Buldhaupt, Pipestone, Minn. (mizb@iw.net).

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2022 - Volume #46, Issue #5