1983 - Volume #7, Issue #4, Page #18[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Nebraska Farmer Builds Barbed Wire Buffalo
Holscher explains that bad knees forced him to sell his cattle. With his winters free from chores he had more time to concentrate on extra projects once he'd finished off season machinery repairs.
"I decided to build the buffalo out of barbed wire because the animal and the wire are both part of our country's heritage. Strong and durable, they both had to withstand the summer heat and the winter snow and winds," Holscher says. "I thought about the buffalo for about two years before I actually started building it. I also did research on buffalo, even taking hoof measurements of one of my neighbor's larger steers."
After planning, the next step was collecting the wire. Since he no longer owned cattle, Holscher took down some of his fences, wrapping the wire on 80 rod spools and cutting out the splices. "Some of that wire was more than 100 years old. In one section the wire was so bad it averaged a splice per rod," Holscher says.
After cutting the wire in 15 to 30-ft. lengths, he wrapped the wire around the frame. The frame is made from old steam engine parts and has a backbone made from an old boiler flue. Loops on each end of the wire lengths hook them to the other wires.
The front half of the buffalo features "Shirley Temple" curls; "I made the curly hair by putting a 1 1/2-in. piece of hollow tube on the end of my variable speed electric drill. I then spun the wire around the pipe to make the curls," Holscher explains.
As a finishing touch, Holscher added horns, whiskers and a tail. He estimates he spent 300 hours during two winters completing the buffalo. It's 10 ft. long, 5 1/2 ft. high and 12 ft. around at the girth.
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